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Panthers’ Greg Olsen: No ‘quick fixes’ in the NFL

The Carolina Panthers (6-4) are in a bit of a bind.

In Sunday’s 20-19 road loss to the Detroit Lions, Carolina made entirely too many mistakes. Balls were dropped, the Panthers left four points out in the ether when placekicker Graham Gano missed a field goal and an extra point, cornerback James Bradberry gave up two explosive plays for touchdowns and quarterback Cam Newton misfired on an open two-point conversion attempt for the go-ahead score.

It was the Panthers’ second straight loss, and a poor response to a 52-21 drubbing by Pittsburgh 10 days earlier.

Carolina needs a fix. But there isn’t a quick one.

“There are no quick fixes in the NFL. It’s too hard,” tight end Greg Olsen said Monday. “These other teams are good, too. There’s no magic wand. You don’t just all of the sudden say, ‘Oh, we’ll be (playing at home) so we’ll be all right.’ All of the sudden you say ‘Oh, we’re going to do more of X, Y or Z and we’re going to be fine.’

“That’s just not how it works. Every team every week makes adjustments, no different than you. So we have to figure out what causes us to have lapses at the wrong times. We need to figure out what causes us to not execute, or not perform, make mistakes.”

Still, a “quick fix” would be pretty handy right about now. Carolina’s in a bit of a time crunch, because Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks just got a lot more important.

“We obviously have a big challenge this week with Seattle coming in,” Olsen said. “A team that is a little different defensively, personnel-wise, than we’ve played over the years, kind of a lot of new faces. But a lot of the same style, same culture. Used to winning. Used to playing well. So it’s a good challenge.”

And there are postseason implications, too.

New Orleans (9-1) is running away with the NFC South and Carolina will face the Saints twice in a brutal three-game stretch to end the regular season.

A loss to the Seahawks (5-5) could very well come back to haunt the Panthers in late December. With a victory, Seattle could control its playoff fate.

But the Panthers can’t start thinking about any of that, according to Olsen.

“We just have to dial in now,” he said. “We’ve got a heck of a stretch. We can’t worry about what New Orleans is doing. We have to stop worrying about playoff pictures.

“We just have to win a game. In this league, it’s so easy to get caught up in, ‘Well, if this team loses, and this team wins, we get there, we can have home field. … But if we don’t win, we’re not going to be in the playoffs!

“So we just have to narrow it down. Win one game. Then worry about everything else.”

Still, more than ever, the Panthers look like a team that, if they do make the playoffs, will have to play a stretch of the postseason on the road. And Carolina is 1-4 on the road, with its only win away from home coming against a Philadelphia team that has proved to be without teeth this season.

They’ll have a few chances coming up. After Sunday’s home game against Seattle, the Panthers face another two-game road stretch — but it’s against the Browns (3-6) and the Buccaneers (3-7).

There’s a chance to start stacking victories before it’s too late.

Carolina has to be on an upswing by the time New Orleans comes to town in Week 15.

And while it’s not a “quick fix,” finding more consistency in all three phases is certainly a good start toward flipping the momentum of Carolina’s season, and then maintaining a hold on it.

“That’s the nature of the NFL,” said Olsen. “The teams that ride that wave — when they’re high, they’re over the moon, when they’re low they’re (gestures downward) — those teams struggle.

“You can’t be an up-and-down emotional roller coaster in this league to last for a long time and have success. It just doesn’t work. The teams that ride the bad and handle the good the best, are the teams that have prolonged success.”

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