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Ron Rivera: Panthers looking for veteran RB

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With their injury-riddled backfield in disarray, the Carolina Panthers are searching for help.

Coach Ron Rivera told reporters Monday that the team will look at a couple of free-agent runners who can quickly pick up the playbook and serve as an "insurance policy."

With DeAngelo Williams doubtful for this week's Bears game because of the sprained ankle he sustained in Sunday's 38-10 loss to the Ravens, Carolina is down to Tauren Poole and rookie Darrin Reaves in the backfield. Until the injured Jonathan Stewart and Fozzy Whittaker are healthy, Rivera called Reaves the starter by default.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Whittaker has gotten treatment on his injured quad and should be ready for Chicago. If the Panthers still choose to mine the free-agent market, they'll have their pick among a cast of backs led by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, LaMichael James, Michael Bush, Mikel Leshoure or LaRod Stephens-Howling.

The Panthers' offense scared us before the season because of their lack of depth at the wideout spot. After four weeks, though, it's the team's inability to pound the ball on the ground that looks like the bigger weakness. Only three teams have churned out fewer yards per game than Carolina's 71, putting undue pressure on Cam Newton to make plays through the air.

UPDATE: The Panthers released Poole on Monday.

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