The Carolina Panthers have slightly more running plays than passes this season, a statistical tendency that has earmarked each of the franchise's three previous playoff teams.
The Panthers have 247 rushes (51.7 percent of all plays) and 231 passes through eight games.
Carolina ran more than it passed in only three of its previous 13 seasons and reached the NFC Championship Game each time, advancing once to the Super Bowl.
The Panthers ran 52.8percent of the time during its 2003 Super Bowl season, 52percent in 2005 and 50.8percent in 1996.
Panthers players get one more day of rest today before returning to the practice field Wednesday for the first time in a week.
Thanks to their bye last weekend, the Panthers had Thursday through Sunday off. They were back at Bank of America Stadium on Monday to lift weights, run and watch film, but have their regular weekly day off today.
Without even playing a game, the Panthers improved from 15th to 13th in the NFL in rushing offense. They're averaging 113.9 yards per game.
With Sunday's game at Oakland, the Panthers will continue their recent trend of leaving a day earlier than usual for West Coast trips.
They'll fly out of Charlotte on Friday and practice later in the day in the Oakland area. For most road games, they don't leave until Saturday.
Coach John Fox said he believes the extra time helps the team be more rested for a game when traveling across three time zones.
Fox said the improved play of second-year defensive end Charles Johnson actually began late last season.
Johnson has 31/2 sacks, second on the team behind Julius Peppers (four). Johnson had two sacks in Carolina's Oct.26 win against Arizona.
“He's a guy who has excellent leverage and good playing strength,” said Fox. “He has the potential to play inside or outside, and is a good athlete. All he's missing is experience.”
Fox remained noncommittal about whether right tackle Jeff Otah and center Ryan Kalil will return to the lineup this weekend after missing time with ankle sprains. Both said last week they hoped to be ready to play against the Raiders.
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