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Panthers lose All Pro TE Greg Olsen to a serious injury, will miss Patriots game

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The Panthers top receiver will be out for an extended period of time.

New England Patriots v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a broken foot, according to multiple reports, which means that he will miss the upcoming week 4 game against the New England Patriots.

The Panthers have been winning on the back of their defense, which has allowed a mere 6 points and 393 yards through two games combined. The Patriots defense has allowed more points and yards in each individual game this season.

Olsen has led the Panthers in yards from scrimmage in each of the past three seasons and has been the leading receiver in four-straight years. He was named Second Team All Pro in 2015 and 2016 and is not easily replaced. The next Panthers game marks the first time Olsen will have missed a game in a Panthers uniform.

Ed Dickson will replace Olsen at tight end, but he’s averaged just 12 receptions for 123 yards over his previous three years on the Panthers; he’s not the most dynamic tight end. Carolina will lean on the 6’5, 230 pound receiving duo of Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess to replace Olsen, while expanding the role of 6’1 slot receiver Russell Shepard. Rookies Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel should have more opportunities as receivers, too.

But the unfortunate elimination of Olsen from the game removes the most dangerous of the Panthers skill players and should simplify New England’s defensive strategy. Look for Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe to cover the big receivers, with Malcolm Butler in the slot. With Olsen gone, the Patriots should be able to dedicate more defensive resources to stopping the running backs and Newton from leaving the backfield.

Panthers QB Cam Newton also suffered an apparent sprain to his recently surgically repaired ankle and that deserves monitoring, too. Newton called the injury “scary.”