Dickson finished with 30 receptions (on 47 targets) for 437 yards and a touchdown in 16 games played this season. Dickson went for more yardage than in his previous three seasons with the Panthers combined, making for his second-best overall campaign since entering the league in 2010. The 30-year-old's uptick largely came as a result of starter Greg Olsen missing nine games due to injury. Furthermore, most of Dickson's damage was done in one game -- his five-catch, 175-yard shredding of the Lions in Week 5. Although context is needed to explain his success, Dickson's improvement couldn't have come at a better time, as he'll be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Dickson will settle back into a reserve role at tight end Sunday against the Vikings with Greg Olsen (foot) cleared to return to the lineup, Jared Allen of the Panthers' official site reports. Olsen's eight-game absence due to a fractured right foot has allowed Dickson to gain more traction in the passing game during his fourth season in Carolina, with the 30-year-old most notably breaking out for a five-catch, 175-yard outing against the Lions on Oct. 8. Dickson's production has tailed off precipitously since then, but after ceding the starting role to Olsen when the latter was activated ahead of Week 12, Dickson settled back in as the top tight end in last week's loss to the Saints after Olsen incurred a setback. Olsen has since returned to full practices Wednesday and Thursday, and with head coach Ron Rivera already stating that Olsen won't be on a "pitch count" with his snaps versus Minnesota, according to Bryan Strickland of the Panthers' official site, Dickson will naturally see his own usage diminish.
Dickson caught both his targets for 18 yards in Sunday's 31-21 loss to the Saints. Dickson got the start at tight end with Greg Olsen (foot) back on the sideline, but the veteran couldn't get much going. Although he hauled in the only two looks that went his way, Dickson hasn't topped 40 yards since his Week 5 outburst and will be even less likely to do so once Olsen is consistently available again.
Dickson is expected to start in place of the inactive Greg Olsen (foot) on Sunday at New Orleans. In nine starts during Olsen's time on injured reserve, Dickson caught at least three passes six times, surpassed 30 yards on four occasions and scored one touchdown. While not overly impressive, Dickson could be a decent fill-in versus a Saints defense that has given up three tight-end TDs over the last four games.
Dickson is expected to serve as the Panthers' starting tight end Sunday against the Saints with Greg Olsen (foot), who is listed as questionable for the contest, appearing unlikely to play, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. While Olsen avoided structural damage to his surgically repaired right foot upon returning from an eight-game absence last week, he exited the Panthers' win over the Jets early while experiencing soreness and will likely be held out while the team plans on turf in New Orleans on Sunday. That should pave the way for Dickson to resurface as a key part in the Panthers' passing attack, which had been the case while Olsen was sidelined. During Olsen's eight-game absence, Dickson corralled 23 of 35 targets for 356 yards and a touchdown.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||21||12||123||1||9||10.25||18|