Strickly Panthers: Beneficial bye?

CHARLOTTE – When the NFL schedule came out, linebacker James Anderson didn't like how early in the season the Panthers' bye week fell.

When it did arrive, however, it couldn't have come soon enough.

"Coming into the season, initially I was kind of upset because it was that early, but looking at the present state of our team, I think it was perfect timing," Anderson said. "Being 0-5 and in a slump, we needed a change of pace and a chance to go back and look at ourselves and get better."

That's exactly what Anderson, who leads the Panthers and ranks 10th in the NFL with 53 tackles, and his teammates tried to do last week. Now, Carolina is refreshed and refocused heading into Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers at Bank of America Stadium.

The Panthers have won four of their last five games played following their bye week, including a victory last season after an 0-3 start. This year, the Panthers hope to play well enough off the bye week to avoid just the second 0-6 start in franchise history (the 1998 team started 0-7).

Last week around the NFL, all four teams coming off byes were victorious. But the previous week – the first in which any teams were coming off byes – just one of four teams won.

Overall, the perceived benefit of the bye week to the win-loss column appears to be exaggerated. Despite their recent run of success, the Panthers are 7-8 all-time following the bye week, and since the NFL added the bye in 1990, teams have a winning percentage of .525 (326-295-1) following byes.


CLAUSEN HEADS BACK TO SIDELINE: The Panthers decided over the bye week to go back to Matt Moore at quarterback after rookie Jimmy Clausen had replaced him in the starting lineup for the previous three games.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed with the decision," Clausen said. "But at the end of the day it's the coaches' decision, and I'm for whatever they think is best for the team."

Perhaps Clausen took the decision in stride because he's been there before. He went through much the same scenario as a freshman at Notre Dame in 2005.

"I started the second game of the season, played four or five games, then went to the bench for a few weeks," Clausen recalled. "I was a little banged up. Coach said, 'Go to the sidelines and just watch for a few weeks.' I came back three or four games after that.

"I had a good rest of my freshman season and then just went from there."

Moore said he benefited from watching from the sideline, and now Clausen will aim for the same.

"After I went to the sidelines (at Notre Dame), things did slow down for me," Clausen said. "Hopefully, they will slow down for me here, too."

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