CHARLOTTE -- When next week rolls around and the Panthers don't have an opponent to prepare for, they'll prepare for themselves.
Coach John Fox said Friday that part of the bye week will be devoted to "self-scouting," or studying their own tendencies through the first half of the season. The topic came up when Fox was asked how he thought his team had progressed in terms of short-yardage rushing, and he admitted not having any evidence.
"I've not broken it down," he said. "That's one thing we do in our bye week. As coaches, we go through and self scout and see statistically where we are in a lot of different ways."
Fox said the process is largely computer-driven, as they go through individual game circumstances to see if there are patterns, for instance on the first plays of drives, or in third-and-long backed up near their own end of the field.
"We scout and we have all kinds of tendencies and breakdowns that we use every week; it may not look like it, but we do," he said. "Typically, we are scouting the opponent. We do some self scouts on a four-game basis during the season. But like most teams, every team in the league does this. It's not top secret. Basically, you go through and you do the same tendencies you do on your opponent to yourself and see what tendencies you have, because your opponent is definitely looking at that."
Fox has definitely picked up on certain patterns from the process before, as they're able to quantify the human element.
"It's still about people," Fox said. "People call the plays; people call the defenses, so there are tendencies.
"There have been coaches that the first play after a turnover do something one way or the other 100 percent (of the time), the first play of the game, backed up, would be examples. There are just a lot of different areas where personalities come into play."
• INJURY UPDATE: As expected, the Panthers are likely to be without right tackle Jeff Otah and center Ryan Kalil this week. Neither practiced Friday, and they're listed as doubtful on the report submitted to the league.
Both are struggling with ankle injuries, but Fox said the looming bye week had nothing to do with holding them back this week.
"If they were ready to play and they were cleared and they were 100 percent, they would be playing," he said. "Again, it wouldn't do us any good to save them. There are only 16 opportunities, and this is a key one; it counts the same. That didn't figure in."
Otah's missed three straight games and Kalil two, meaning another chance to start for Jeremy Bridges and Geoff Hangartner. It'll be the first time this season the Panthers have put the same starting line on the field three straight games.
Wide receiver D.J. Hackett practiced Friday and is listed as questionable. It'll be interesting to see if they bring him up and bump Dwayne Jarrett, who's shown flashes of late. The Panthers don't need to keep five receivers up (since they rarely use three-wide sets), so they'll decide between them moving forward.
Linebacker Thomas Davis (shoulder) was listed as probable, along with receiver Muhsin Muhammad and safety Chris Harris, who each missed a day of practice this week for non-injury reasons.
• LOOKS FAMILIAR: Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner was asked last week if his current set of skill players reminded him of past teammates.
While you could make a case that Cardinals receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are the equals of the old Torry Holt-Isaac Bruce tandem Warner had in St. Louis, it's the depth of those Rams offenses that was different. In St. Louis, he also had Ricky Proehl and Az-Zahir Hakim to throw to, and a certain running back named Marshall Faulk who was hard to duplicate.
"The two guys compare very favorably," Warner said of the top receivers. "The only difference was that in St. Louis, I had four guys as far as the receivers are concerned and we had one guy that wasn't too bad in the backfield. It was just a special group, I don't know if you can ever match that. We definitely have some players that line up very favorably to some of those guys, but I don't know if we have five guys that can do in the passing game what we did there.
"I'm not sure anybody in the league has ever had that. I'm not going to go out there and say that we're as talented as that team was physically, but we do definitely have some very talented players."