CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -DeAngelo Williams couldn't have asked for a better week.
The horror film fanatic's favorite day, Halloween, comes during the Carolina Panthers' bye week. And Williams is coming off one of the best games of his career, rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown in a win over Arizona.
Not bad for a guy many thought would lose his job to rookie Jonathan Stewart.
``I'm not in charge of the rotation. I'm happy as long as we're productive,'' Williams said. ``We've been fairly productive thus far, so there are no complaints out of me as far as rotation or anything like that.''
Williams was Carolina's first-round pick in 2006 after compiling an NCAA record 7,572 all-purpose yards at Memphis. But Williams spent his first two years as DeShaun Foster's backup and managed 1,218 yards rushing in 29 games. After Foster was released in the offseason, the Panthers selected Stewart in the first round, again putting Williams' role in doubt.
Jake Delhomme said. ``But you don't dominate in this league. It's different and I think he got an appreciation the last couple of years. We expect big things out of him. Maybe some of us are hard on him, but we mean it in a good way.''
Williams' youth and quirky personality were on display early with the Panthers. He would break down gory films to reporters, and staged an elaborate skit on Halloween night as a rookie. Hiding in his garage dressed in a zombie costume and holding a chain saw, Williams waited until trick-or-treating kids knocked on his front door. He then opened the garage door and fired up the chain saw, sending the kids scurrying.
Two years later, Williams plans a more low-key day Friday.
``I'm just going to pass out candy. No chain saws,'' Williams said. ``I'll probably go to a couple haunted houses. Other than that, I'm going to relax for the most part.''
Williams may need the rest as his role has increased. Williams is on pace to become only third player in team history to rush for more than 1,000 yards. He has 522 on 120 carries and three touchdowns at the season's midway point.
Stewart has managed 362 yards and five touchdowns as part of coach John Fox's two-headed plan in the backfield that is slowly producing results.
. I don't think anybody on our football team has played perfectly and I don't think we've coached perfectly. I think they are both fine football players, and we are pleased with both of them.''
Williams seems content with sharing the load, part of his maturation.
``He's being more of a leader,'' fullback Brad Hoover said. ``Finishing runs, doing the little things in the film room, on the field, that's made him a better player so far. The good thing is, Jonathan has seen him do these things so he's following in his footsteps. So he's making him better at the same time.''
The Williams-Stewart combination was supposed to match contrasting styles, with Stewart the bruising back and Williams more shifty. But Williams showed his strength in Sunday's comeback win over Arizona, breaking tackles on a 15-yard touchdown run. Later he gained 15 more yard by carrying tacklers on third-and-13, icing Carolina's 27-23 win.
Delhomme isn't surprised, after watching Williams work harder in the weight room.
``This would be his first chance, in my opinion, to show who we drafted,'' Delhomme said. ``Because we weren't that effective offensively in '06 and last year we just didn't have a rhythm.''
``With my strong arm, they have to play the pass,'' Williams joked.
Williams may have matured, but that fun personality still exists. That should make kids who approach his house on Halloween a little wary, despite his insistence there will be no shenanigans.
``DeAngelo is always the same guy,'' Delhomme said. ``He's always laughing, like he has no care, loud. He is who is he. That's him.''

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