NFL: Fox’s orders: Watch TV

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 3, 2009

Associated Press
CHARLOTTE ó Before the Carolina Panthers finished a leisurely workout Friday, coach John Fox handed out weekend instructions to his players: rest, stay out of trouble and watch football on TV.
A key perk of being the No. 2 seed in the NFC is a first-round bye and a second-round home game. Meanwhile, their opponent on Jan. 10 will be determined by the slate of first-round games.
If Minnesota beats Philadelphia on Sunday, the Vikings will visit Bank of America Stadium. If the Eagles win, the Panthers will play the winner of Saturday’s Atlanta-Arizona game.
“There are some important games to watch,” Fox said. “We’ve encouraged the players to watch those and stay focused on football.”
Resting is important, too. The Panthers played four of their final six regular-season games on the road. They finished their last-second win over New Orleans last weekend without starting defensive tackles Maake Kemoeatu (ankle) and Damione Lewis (shoulder) and two starters on the offensive line: right guard Geoff Hangartner (ankle) and right tackle Jeff Otah (toe).
The Panthers weren’t required to produce an injury report this week, but several of the injured players and older veterans didn’t participate in the extremely light workouts that lasted less than an hour each day.
“We’ve gotten probably a lot of good rest for them this week,” Fox said. “We haven’t pushed them too hard. I anticipate they’ll be a lot healthier then than they are now.”