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

Panthers Football 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.

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17 Responses to “Ron Rivera thinks Greg Olsen could put up Gronk/Graham-type numbers”
  1. tenotnamedmiller says: Aug 21, 2012 3:10 PM

    Isn’t every year the year Olsen is going to break out? Yet to happen.

  2. panthersftw says: Aug 21, 2012 3:12 PM

    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.

  3. iamcline says: Aug 21, 2012 3:20 PM

    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.

  4. vexey says: Aug 21, 2012 3:22 PM

    I’m a lifelong Panthers fan and I like Olsen a lot, but I mean come on now..

  5. bennyb82 says: Aug 21, 2012 3:22 PM

    But will he put up those numbers? Absolutely not

  6. bucrightoff says: Aug 21, 2012 3:33 PM

    I mean it’s possible I suppose. Might take 3 full seasons of Olsen stats to equal 1 for Gronk or Graham, but that counts right?

  7. baned0n says: Aug 21, 2012 3:44 PM

    I’m a lifelong Bears fan and I like Olsen a lot, but I mean come on now..

  8. blackandbluedivision says: Aug 21, 2012 3:48 PM

    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.

  9. hutch119 says: Aug 21, 2012 3:54 PM

    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.

  10. cappa662 says: Aug 21, 2012 3:55 PM

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

  11. profootballwalk says: Aug 21, 2012 4:16 PM

    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.

  12. tebowsmom says: Aug 21, 2012 4:25 PM

    Ron Rivera is a moron.

  13. Satan's Valet says: Aug 21, 2012 4:27 PM

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

  14. matt14gg says: Aug 21, 2012 4:29 PM

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

  15. urlacher54 says: Aug 22, 2012 10:15 AM

    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.

  16. jgedgar70 says: Aug 22, 2012 3:55 PM

    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.

  17. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Aug 23, 2012 12:54 PM

    Olsen was a great pick up for the Panthers but his success may depend on if the Panthers can add WRs with Smith who can draw coverage.

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