Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason said he expects to remain in the middle when the Panthers face Dallas on Oct. 21 after the bye week.
Beason missed Sundays 16-12 loss to Seattle with shoulder and knee injuries. Rookie Luke Kuechly, the first-round pick who started in Beasons place, had one of his best games with 11 tackles and an interception.
Beason said in no uncertain terms he wanted to stay in the middle, adding the coaching staff indicated he would.
Thats whats been communicated to me, so Im sticking with that, Beason said Monday. Ive been playing the Mike thus far, and I dont anticipate anything different.
Kuechly, who set NCAA tackling records as a middle linebacker at Boston College, said he didnt have a preference.
Nah, Kuechly said. Well see what happens in the bye week. It doesnt really matter too much to me.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said they planned to evaluate whether to keep Kuechly in the middle or return him to the weakside, where he started the first four games.
Beason posted the top four single-season tackle totals in team history his first four seasons before sustaining a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 1 in 2011. He has been plagued by nagging injuries this season, including a shoulder issue that has led to missed tackles when he tried to arm-tackle ball-carriers.
Beason said the two weeks off should help him heal and get him ready for the final 11 games.
Thats the plan. Thats why we get these bye weeks. Tough season, long haul, he said. If youre really going to make a push for it, guys have to be healthy down the stretch.
BYE FOR NOW: Rivera said he had a message for his team following its 1-4 start.
Anythings possible, Rivera said. Theres so many things that go on with this. Were 1-4. Weve played five games. Weve got 11 left to go. Anything can happen.
The Panthers will practice Wednesday and then have a four-day break before resuming preparations for the Cowboys next week. Rivera conceded hes concerned the slow start could affect fan support.
You do worry about losing them. You really do, Rivera said. But we want them there. We want them all in the stands. And if theyre there, great. We really do appreciate it.
ROSTER MOVES: Defensive tackle Andre Neblett was activated Monday after missing the first five games the first four while suspended for violating the leagues policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The Panthers received a weeklong roster exemption for Neblett, who started four games last season and finished with 21 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
To make room for Neblett, the Panthers waived cornerback Ron Parker, who played special teams against the Seahawks after being signed off the practice squad.
INJURY UPDATE: Center Ryan Kalil sprained his foot against Seattle, but should be back for the Dallas game, Rivera said. Rivera expects the three starters who missed the Seahawks game Beason, cornerback Chris Gamble (shoulder) and right guard Geoff Hangartner (knee) to be back following the bye week.
Wideout David Gettis, on the physically unable to perform list with a hamstring injury, is eligible to begin practicing next week. Gettis, who missed last season after tearing his ACL in the preseason, said he feels good and has been running routes full speed.
I feels great. Its been a long time, Gettis said. Now I think the biggest thing for me is getting my wind back and getting that endurance. Obviously, the best way to do that will be to practice.
Under the physically unable to perform rules, Gettis has a three-week window to begin practicing, starting next week. Once he practices, the Panthers will have 21 days to decide whether to activate him, cut him or put him on injured reserve.