CHARLOTTE – The Panthers are 4-0, and they don't care what anyone has to say about it.
Some say Carolina is the worst undefeated team in the NFL. Some say the wins are a result of a weak schedule.
As you might expect, head coach Ron Rivera has a different opinion.
"That's OK," Rivera said. "We were the worst team in the playoffs last year and we won a playoff game and scared Seattle a little bit. I feel pretty good about that.
"We're 4-0. Our schedule says who we play. You can't please everybody, but I am certainly not going to apologize for being 4-0."
It's a good thing to be in a situation where people are debating the quality of your wins. As anyone who has been around the league knows, winning can never be taken for granted.
The Panthers will be the first to admit their play has been far from perfect, but winning four consecutive games is no small feat.
"It's hard to win in this league," tight end Greg Olsen said. "I don't care who you're playing. We're 4-0. We're not going to apologize. You are what your record says you are."
Olsen understands the fact that Carolina's first four opponents have a combined record of 4-12. He's also quick to point out that had they all beaten Carolina, their combined record would improve to 8-8.
"If we're not careful we can go 4-12. So we haven't won anything," Olsen said. "We have 12 more games, and we are going to try to win them one at a time."
Interestingly enough, before Rivera was asked about the legitimacy of the best start of his head coaching tenure, he was asked if this is the best team he's coached in Carolina.
He said it was. Then he took a different tact.
"This, I think, can be our best team. I don't know if it is yet," Rivera said. "That's probably a better answer. But it can be."
View the top photos by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez from Carolina's game against Tampa Bay.