CHARLOTTE – Tight end Greg Olsen has always had a way of being able to put anything and everything regarding this team in perspective.
And perspective can be hard to come by in the NFL. One week can feel like you're on top of the world. The next week criticism could be coming in from all angles.
"You have one team (Los Angeles Rams) that's undefeated, and everybody else is sort of where we are. If we won yesterday, we'd have the second-best record in the NFL. Now we lose, and all of a sudden the world is coming to the end," Olsen said. "That's this world. You can't get so wrapped up in it. You have to take each week for what it is – one week is not 16 weeks.
"We would have loved to have won (at Washington); we would have loved to have won the last five games. But we didn't. You just have to keep rolling. We'll be good."
Only two teams in the NFC have a better record than the Panthers, the Rams at 6-0 and the Saints at 4-1. Four teams, including Carolina, are 3-2. Three teams, including the reigning champion Eagles (the next opponent for Carolina), are 3-3. Just five NFL teams have just one win and no club is winless.
"It just shows that in the NFL it's just so week-to-week, and that's why each week you've got to give it your best shot," Olsen said. "Because nobody cares what you did last week, nobody cares what your record is, good or bad. If you have a bad record, nobody is going to come out and take it easy on you; if you have a good record, nobody is going to lay down. It's just the way this league is."
Weathering the challenges
During his Monday press conference, head coach Ron Rivera mentioned the inclement weather as an obstacle the Panthers have had to deal with the last couple weeks. Last week was particularly challenging as the team practiced in the rain on Wednesday and then moved to the stadium field on Thursday after the practice fields had taken on too much water.
Olsen was asked if he thought those circumstances contributed at all to Carolina's sluggish start against Washington.
"No, I don't. I don't. To say we wouldn't have had the first half happen if we had practiced inside – I think that's easy to say that," Olsen said. "The reality is that we played bad, and at this level it doesn't matter if you fly cross-country, if you fly to Europe. No one cares. No one cares we don't have an (indoor) practice facility. No one cares if you have a short week. No one cares if you're on the road back-to-back. Nobody cares."
Of course Olsen would welcome an indoor facility, but it's not something the players have ever really worried about.
"We've operated as is for so long that we don't really know any different," Olsen said. "It's not earth-shattering to say that on inclement days it would be nice to be able to have a full practice at full speed. That's not breaking news that that would be nice, but we don't. That's just the way it is. It doesn't really get talked about much. Guys aren't sitting around saying, 'Man, I can't believe it.' It's been this way for 25 years, for the eight years I've been here. It is what it is."
We all make mistakes
As one of the team captains, Olsen takes pride in maintaining a positive locker room culture in good times and bad.
When DJ Moore fumbled twice in the first half at Washington, the reaction from teammates wasn't anger or frustration. It was more along the lines of, 'We've all been there.'
"There's not a guy in this locker room who hasn't had a bad day, a bad game, a bad stretch of games, a bad season. A play that maybe costs a team a game? I mean, I've had a million, right off the top of my head, in 12 years that I wish would have went another way and we would have won," said Olsen, who pointed out Sunday that the only guys who don't make mistakes are the ones who don't play.
"The second you start saying, 'Oh, if only he…' then you've got some problems on your hands because you're going to find yourself in that position one day and you sure don't want to be on the other end of it. And if you play long enough, you're going to have those days. That's just the way it goes."
View game action photos from the Panthers 23-17 loss against the Redskins.