Ron Rivera thinks Greg Olsen could put up Gronk/Graham-type numbers

AP

The emergence of tight ends like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham as major producers in the passing game has led to a lot of talk about who will be the next game-changer at the position.

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen doesn’t come up much in that conversation, but that may just be because no one is having it with Ron Rivera. The Panthers coach thinks that the departure of Jeremy Shockey will open up more targets for Olsen and that those extra targets could lead to numbers like the ones Gronkowski and Graham put up last season.

“It’s possible,” Rivera said, via the Associated Press. “We spread the ball around so much in this offense, but I really think it’s possible for a guy to have big games and put quite a few of them together and have some big numbers.”

Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski likes throwing to tight ends, as evidenced by the fact that Olsen and Shockey combined for 82 catches, 955 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Those numbers are actually more in the Aaron Hernandez/Jason Witten neighborhood, which isn’t quite Gronkowski/Graham territory but would make Olsen one of the most productive tight ends in the league if he were able to duplicate the numbers in 2012.

If Olsen makes good on Rivera’s bold predictions and the rest of the Panthers offense remains as productive as it was last year, the Panthers will have one of the most potent offenses in the league.

17 responses to “Ron Rivera thinks Greg Olsen could put up Gronk/Graham-type numbers

  1. i loved this guy coming out of college and wished we had drafted him. for whatever reason martz just wouldnt incorporate him into the bears offense. then when we traded for him i thought i was dreaming.

    he seems to be a little soft when it comes to making a catch in traffic, but other than that he has all the making of an elite tight end.

  2. He could if he was the focal point of the offense. However trying to spread the ball around to 1,89, 34, 28, 35, 11 and 88 is going to prove troublesome if they all want to have huge years.

  3. It’s possible. In Chicago he made those types of plays. It’s just he never had anyone solid to get him the ball. But, when he did, he was capable of making the big play down the middle of the field.

  4. It would take Olsen roughly 217 targets to put up Gronk/Graham type numbers. Yeah he is that inefficient. Huge volume for very mediocre stats.

  5. I think he could too!!!!!!!! He just needs to be more consistent. Has no excuse now with Cam throwing him the ball!!!!!!

  6. Football Outsiders scores every play of the year. They ranked Olsen #37 last year at tight end. His catch rate was 51% – Gronkowski was 73%. In their scoring system, Gronkowski was 459 – Olsen was -38. That’s negative, folks. In their average-based rating, Olsen was worse than average. Gronk was 46% better than average for a TE.

  7. @iamcline: you can make the same argument for the Patriots, they had no shortage of deep field targets last year.

  8. There’s no chance on this earth in this lifetime that that JAG is going to put up those kind of numbers.

  9. Bears fans know Olsen as “Girly Thor”. He looks like he could be tough, but when he is trying to catch with a huge LB about to smash him, he drops the ball more often than not.

  10. Olsen doesn’t need to put up Gronk/Graham numbers. The Whitten/Hernandez numbers are just fine when combined with Smith and the running game.

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