Johnson expects to play vs. Falcons
Defensive end Charles Johnson is optimistic after spending the weekend receiving treatment for a right groin strain he suffered late in the Panthers' 31-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Thursday.
The seventh-year veteran told the Charlotte Observer he's a little sore, but "100 percent" confident he'll suit up against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and Sportsbook Odds and Lines would agree with that optimism.
It's certainly going to take more than a little soreness to keep Johnson – a Georgia native and former University of Georgia Bulldog – on the sidelines against the division-rival Falcons.
"It's big — not just for me, but for the whole group," Johnson told Panthers.com. "We know how big this division game is. We are going to come out and try to play our A-plus game. I'm going to be trying to play the best game I've ever played. That's my mentality."
"They (Falcons) bring it out of me a little bit, but I try to come out and play every game like that."
Johnson leads the Panthers with six sacks this season.
Edwards eyeing return vs. Falcons
Panthers defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, who's been sidelined for five games with a hamstring injury, told reporters he expects to suit up against the Falcons on Sunday.
"It's definitely the best it's felt in a few weeks. I'm looking forward to getting on the field. It's been a long time coming," Edwards told the Charlotte Observer. "Barring no setbacks this week, I'd give myself about a 100 percent chance of being out there."
Edwards' return will add depth and veteran experience to the middle of a young but talented defensive line anchored by rookies Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short.
Stewart timetable still unclear
The sixth-year pro, who is recovering from surgery on both ankles, has been on the physically unable to perform list since the beginning of the season. The Panthers have two weeks to promote him to the active roster or he'll stay on the PUP list for the remainder of the 2013 campaign.
"We've got time on that. So we'll just continue to work him. He had a good day of work," Rivera told the Charlotte Observer. "It's good to see him moving around, getting involved in the individual periods like he was. I am optimistic."
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