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— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 22, 2017

For the first time since his surgery Monday to repair a broken bone in his foot, Greg Olsen stopped by the Panthers practice field Friday. The Panthers put the tight end on IR this week, with the chance of him returning in 6-8 weeks. In the meantime, it was a good first visit with the team with Olsen in great spirits.

"It was hilarious. You know his wit, he couldn't help himself. As soon as they threw the ball to Ed (Dickson) the first thing he says is, 'Oh that play wasn't in there for me.' Which it was. But it was good to see him. He came out, as soon as he said something they just started bagging on him, so he's doing well," Rivera said.

Rivera also added that with the injury to Olsen's foot, and the fact that he's on a scooter, he likely won't be on the sidelines for the games just to avoid the possibility of further injury.


It's been two weeks since Ryan Kalil last practiced, and this Sunday he'll miss his second game in a row. Kalil, who had offseason surgery on his shoulder is also dealing with what Coach Ron Rivera described as a crick in the neck. Kalil was not at practice at all this week, but Rivera says that's because there's more he can do inside with trainers to get healthy than he can contribute from the sidelines at practice.

"Going outside for two and a half hours, there's really nothing productive he can do out there. So they keep him in here, he's working with the strength and conditioning guys in here, he's working with the trainers as soon as he finished that, takes a little break then goes to whatever he needs to do with his rehab," Rivera said.


Tyler Larsen will start at center for the Panthers for the second week in a row. He's in his second season with the Panthers, and already proved he's a viable backup for Kalil. While having their starting center miss another week isn't ideal, his absence at practice allows Larsen to continue getting more comfortable.

"Getting all the reps that he got that's always a good thing. More so than anything else he develops a comfort level with the quarterback, the guards, hearing the line call and stuff like that. That's important," Rivera said

Greg Van Roten will be active Sunday as the backup, should the Panthers need him.


Cam Newton is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Saints, but its more of a technicality than a true designation. Newton was limited at practice on Thursday, part of what has been described as the new normal for the Panthers quarterback as he continues to develop after offseason shoulder surgery. He is expected to start on Sunday, and the Panthers will only have two quarterbacks on the active roster.


Ron Rivera is known for his defense, Sean Payton is known for his offense and on Sunday we'll see the two go head to head. The Panthers are currently at the top of the league in defense, while the Saints rank third in total offensive yards per game. Rivera says matching up with a coach like Payton presents challenges.

"I enjoy watching what Sean (Payton) does when he attacks other defenses. That's how you pick things up. This league is a beg, borrow and steal league. So you get a chance to see something and you see something that's impressive you say, 'Yeah, let's see if we can figure that out,"' Rivera said.