Notes: CB Norman will start


CHARLOTTE – Cornerback Josh Norman is a starter once again.

Norman started the first 12 games of his career as a rookie in 2012 before losing his spot in the starting lineup after some inconsistent performances.

But head coach Ron Rivera said Norman will start in place of Melvin White when the Panthers host the Chicago Bears in Week 5.

"I thought Josh played pretty well (against the Ravens). He did a nice job. A couple times he was undisciplined with his eyes. But I thought his positioning was very good," Rivera said. "We've got to send some messages and some clear-cut ones. But Melvin will play. We're not throwing anybody aside. We just want to give (Josh) a few more opportunities earlier in the game."

Norman heard the news when the media approached him for comment Monday.

"I always had the mindset to compete as if I was the starter anyway," Norman said. "What do you do – do you go home and celebrate it? Not really. I've had the starter's mindset since Day One."

Norman slipped down the depth chart and played in just seven games last season. The coaching staff believes he has continued to develop, although there is still plenty of room to grow.

Where does Norman feel he's progressed most since his rookie season?

"Fitting into the defense," Norman answered. "I feel like that was the biggest thing that was my Achilles' heel the whole time. Just going through the scheme, the calls and what we have to do.

"I was playing out there to my abilities and (needed) to do things in the way they want us to do it. That was the biggest thing. I have to do things the way they want it to be done."

INJURY UPDATES: The Panthers will most likely be without running back DeAngelo Williams for their next game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

Williams, who had missed the previous two games with a hamstring injury, suffered an ankle injury during the second quarter against the Ravens.

"His foot is sore, but it doesn't look like there is anything structural," Rivera said. "He'll start this week out as doubtful."

While Carolina may be without Williams, the team could get another running back back. Rivera expressed optimism about Fozzy Whittaker, who suffered a thigh injury in Week 2 and has not been active since.

"Fozzy is getting very close," Rivera said. "He's supposed to be on the field on Wednesday."

At the moment, undrafted rookie Darrin Reaves is Carolina's starting running back.

With fullback Mike Tolbert on injured reserve/designated for return and the status of Williams and Jonathan Stewart uncertain for this week, the Panthers will consider signing a veteran running back.

"We're going to have to look at some guys," Rivera said. "With Jonathan potentially not available this week, we've got to have an insurance policy just in case. We're going to take a look.

"A veteran guy usually will pick up (the offense) a lot faster, and those are the type of guys we are looking for."

In addition to injuries at running back, Rivera said defensive end Charles Johnson played through a hip flexor versus Baltimore.

"It wasn't bad enough to keep him out," Rivera said.

ADDING ALEXANDER: Defensive end Frank Alexander returns from his four-game suspension this week. The Panthers hope the third-year veteran will help the pass rush and run defense.

"He had a good minicamp, OTAs and training camp," Rivera said. "We'll see how he is."

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