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Sports

Beckham Suspended 1 Game; As For Resting Panthers' Players, Experience With Bears On Rivera's Mind

ron rivera
Michael Tomsic
/
WFAE

The NFL today suspended Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for one game. Beckham’s behavior in Sunday’s game against the Panthers has been under much scrutiny, particularly for launching at the head of Panthers defensive back Josh Norman.

In a press conference Monday, Panthers coach Ron Rivera wouldn’t enter the debate over appropriate punishment. He simply said it’s up to the NFL.

Meanwhile, Rivera indicated his philosophy in the debate over whether to rest key players to avoid injury heading into the playoffs.

The Panthers are two wins away from becoming only the third NFL team in the Super Bowl era to go undefeated in the regular season. One of the big questions is whether the team will rest its starters if the Panthers head into its January 3 game with a 15-0 record. The team wouldn’t gain any standing with a win.

Coach Rivera was in a similar scenario a decade ago when he was the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears. With their playoff seeding wrapped up, the Bears rested some key players the last game of the season.

“At the time it seemed like a great idea. We all agreed. We thought it would be good," Rivera says.

The Bears lost the game. More importantly, the team lost its playoff game two weeks later. The decision to rest players the previous game may not have been the right one. The team was out of synch.

“Actually, it was Carolina we lost to," Rivera says. Listening to what the (Bears') players had to say, talking about rust and wishing they had played a little more. Because we had the bye week too. Listening to that just kind of reminded me and I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind.” 

But first, the Panthers need to take care of the Falcons this week. A win means home field advantage in the playoffs. That means it’s business as usual as far as the lineup in concerned.