Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen saw a team-high six targets, but wound up with just two catches for 28 yards Sunday in Tampa Bay.
Olsen is usually the focal point of Carolina's passing offense, but quarterback Cam Newton struggled to get the ball to his tight end all afternoon. Nonetheless, it was encouraging to see Olsen lead the team in targets a week after posting a monstrous 134 receiving yards on eight catches against the New Orleans Saints .
The Carolina Panthers will have two weeks to figure out how to get the ball back into Olsen's hands, as they have a bye before traveling to a rambunctious environment in Seattle for Week 6.
Coming into Sunday's game, Olsen had a combined seven receptions for 81 yards, totals he easily surpassed in Week 3. Olsen lined up tight and flexed out on Sunday, catching both of his touchdowns on 11-yard crosses and nabbing some downfield passes as well. Not surprisingly, Carolina's formerly mediocre passing attack rebounded as a result.
Through three weeks Olsen leads the Panthers with 28 targets and, given the absence of bonafide threats on the outside, should remain the focal point of Carolina's passing offense.
Sunday's performance was closer to the type of production we have become accustomed to from Olsen and was a nice return to form after a disappointing Week 1. He was still targeted just once in the red zone, but that can be attributed to the Panthers scoring on a pair of long passes and a quarterback keeper Sunday. Olsen should continue to be heavily involved in the offense, as he is one of Cam Newton's most trusted targets, and he will look to find the end zone for the first time this season in Week 3 against the Saints.
Olsen was held to one catch for 11 yards Sunday, which was his lowest yardage total since the end of the 2011 season.
"Sometimes you run good routes and things open up," Olsen said Monday. "[Jerricho Cotchery] scored a touchdown on that. It's all how the thing goes together. It's no different than when I would catch 10 balls last year. We don't set out to try and get one guy the ball. That's not our offense. That's not what we do."
Olsen did have a touchdown negated in Sunday's contest due to a penalty and offensive coordinator Mike Shula said they will look to involve Olsen more.
"We've got to make sure we move him around and get the ball to him," Shula said. "There were some other times that other guys had opportunities because they were favoring his side as well. We'll definitely work on – he's a play-maker for us – and we'll find ways to get him the ball."
Olsen, 29, is fresh off a career year after setting franchise records for receptions (84) and receiving yards (1,008) by a tight end in a season. He cracked the 1,000-yard threshold for the first time in eight seasons in the NFL. He has 5,188 yards and 52 touchdowns in his career, and is the only tight end to catch at least five touchdown passes every year since 2008.
|Bye: Week 5|
|6||10/18/15||@ SEA||4:05 pm|
|10||11/15/15||@ TEN||1:00 pm|
|12||11/26/15||@ DAL||4:30 pm|
|13||12/6/15||@ NO||1:00 pm|
|15||12/20/15||@ NYG||1:00 pm|
|16||12/27/15||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
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