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Carolina Panthers

Notes: Johnson in rush to repeat performance


CHARLOTTE – Days after putting together arguably the best performance of his six-year career, defensive end Charles Johnson stood at his locker and made it clear his mindset hasn't changed since his record-setting 3.5-sack effort against the Falcons.

Johnson expects to produce at a high level, and he's not satisfied after one week of dominance. 

"I feel the same as I did. I might have a little more stats, but I feel like I need to grind and work as hard as I can," Johnson said. "I need to be that playmaker for us to be a good defense.

"It was a good game, but I'm on to Seattle. I'm not worried about Atlanta anymore."

Johnson has turned his attention to quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks offense.

When asked if another stellar pass-rushing performance would help stifle Seattle's rookie quarterback, Johnson smiled.

"Yeah, that could help us out," Johnson said. "We're going to have to hit him, make him make some bad decisions, some mistakes."

But Johnson insisted the main focus for the Carolina defense will be slowing down Lynch, who leads the NFL in rushing with 423 yards.

"We have to stop Marshawn Lynch to win this game," Johnson said. "He's a tough runner. He breaks a lot of tackles and makes people look silly out there."

MULTIPLE TARGETS: Through four games, the Panthers have had three different players lead the team in receptions.

Steve Smith recorded seven catches against Tampa Bay, Brandon LaFell caught six passes against New Orleans, and tight end Greg Olsen tallied seven receptions against New York before posting a team-high six against Atlanta.

Smith's consistent productivity as a big-play, No. 1 wide receiver creates opportunities for LaFell and Olsen, and both have taken advantage early in the season.

"Steve is going to command doubles, and the guy that steps up has to be Brandon," head coach Ron Rivera said. "If they pay a little more attention to Brandon, the guy that also has to step up is the tight end, and that's what we've got."

Added offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski: "It's the type of situation where one week it might be Greg, one week Brandon has a good game, Steve has had good games, and as a coach, that's what you like to see. It's not always the same guy that you have to rely on all the time."

INJURY UPDATE: The following Panthers did not participate in Wednesday's practice: Linebacker Jon Beason (knee), cornerback Chris Gamble (shoulder,) guard Geoff Hangartner (knee), defensive end Frank Alexander (back) and safety Colin Jones (shoulder).

"Not overly concerned about Frank Alexander and Colin Jones," Rivera said. "The other ones I am concerned with."

Defensive end Antwan Applewhite (knee) returned to practice after missing all of last week and being inactive in Atlanta. Guard Mike Pollak (shoulder), who has been inactive the lsat three games, was limited.

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