Olsen: Panthers ready for encore
Posted July 25
Updated July 26
Charlotte, N.C. — The story of the Panthers’ pigskin revival didn’t just appear in print overnight in the eyes of Panthers tight end Greg Olsen.
It was instead a culmination of close calls, bounces that fell in Carolina’s favor which finally flipped script.
“All those things started to turn around and those breaks at the end of the game seemed to go our way,” Olsen said. “The two minute drives as an offense, we were successful.”
The question on everyone’s mind now is can the sequel live up to last seasons’ surprise hit?
“Our expectations around here have been the same since we got here, so just because everybody else now views us differently doesn’t really change a lot of what matters, and that’s how guys prepare and how guys go about the season inside this building,” he explained.
Some of the key parts in that building require a casting call. For the first time since practically the turn of the century, neither wide receiver Steve Smith nor offensive lineman Jordan Gross, two long-time leading men, will be present on set.
“I think we have a lot of guys that are ready to embrace that,” Olsen said. “Leadership is not always what’s viewed. Who’s giving the speeches and who’s giving quotes in the media. There’s a lot more to it.”
The finger obviously pointed at Cam Newton, an additional role Olsen feels fits the lead actor fine, since saddled with supped-up sidekicks.
“His individual performance has been at a pretty high level since he got here,” Olsen said. “Just, I think the team around him has continued to improve, and like I said earlier, we’ve found ways to win games that maybe in 2011-12 we would have lost.”
The Panthers will travel to Spartanburg early Saturday morning for the official start of training camp at Wofford College.