There’s a joke between Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and some of his offensive teammates.
If the NFL moved the goal line up by 5 yards, Olsen would have a lot more touchdowns.
A Pro Bowl tight end, Olsen has eight touchdowns in regular season and playoffs combined. Move the goal line up and he’d have 16.
“Sometimes that’s the way things go,” Olsen said. “I would imagine on almost all those eight someone scored after me. I also can assist. I’ll take it. Someone’s got to.
“Sometimes those catches down there are in tight windows, you’re getting hit, you don’t always have the opportunity catch it in space. As long as the drives finish in a touchdown, we’ll take it.
“Thank you for pointing that out.”
Sometimes that’s the way things go. I would imagine on almost all those eight someone scored after me. I also can assist. I’ll take it. Someone’s got to. ... Thank you for pointing that out.
Panthers tight end Greg Olsen
The phenomenon, if you can call it that, started in Week 1. Olsen caught an 11-yard pass and was stopped at the 5 against Jacksonville. Two weeks later a 15-yard catch went down to the 2.
In Seattle in Week 6, Olsen was stopped twice inside the 2 after long gains. His 22-yard catch went to the 2, and he was later stopped at the 1 after a 33-yard catch-and-run.
“He’s a playmaker,” fellow tight end Ed Dickson said. “It’s not his fault that he comes up short. We’ll take it. Running backs aren’t complaining. They’ve gotten a lot of touchdowns off that. Cam’s not complaining, he’s got a lot of touchdowns off that.
“Whatever it takes for us to win is what Greg is going to do. We give him a hard time but he gives himself a hard time.”
Of those eight catches that finished inside the 5, the Panthers have scored touchdowns on five and Graham Gano field goals on the other three.
Olsen had his eighth such catch in last week’s 49-15 victory over Arizona. On third-and-goal from the 17, Newton fired a pass low over the middle to Olsen. The catch sent Olsen to the ground, but wasn’t touched. He tried to get up but couldn’t before he was touched down.
The Panthers settled for a 21-yard field goal.
“It was a good throw and I was trying to go down and secure it,” Olsen said. “By the time I was able to get up or roll, those guys close pretty fast. But again, those are big plays … those plays are all critical. Whether they end in a touchdown or not, they have a big impact.”
But that won’t stop the jokes.
“It’s one of those fun facts if you go back and look into it,” Dickson said. “Like, dang, he was stopped that many times? Greg’s a Pro Bowler, he’s been doing it well for us for a number of years. He’s Cam’s No. 1 target arguably. He’s going to continue to make plays – whether they’re touchdowns or first downs.”
Greg Olsen’s Near misses
Week 1 at Jacksonville: 11-yard catch down at the 5. Result: 43-yard field goal
Week 3 vs. New Orleans: 15-yard catch down at the 2. Result: 20-yard field goal
Week 6 at Seattle: 22-yard catch down at the 2. Result: Jonathan Stewart touchdown; 33-yard catch down at the 1. Result: Jonathan Stewart touchdown
Week 7 vs. Philadelphia: 28-yard catch down at the 5. Result: Mike Tolbert touchdown
Week 10 at Tennessee: 5-yard catch down at the 1. Result: Ed Dickson touchdown
Week 17 vs. Tampa Bay: 6-yard catch down at the 1. Result: Cam Newton touchdown
NFC Championship vs. Arizona: 14-yard catch down at the 3. Result: 21-yard field goal