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Friday, September 13, 2013
Don't bargain against DeAngelo Williams

By David Newton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams pulled a black "Batman" T-shirt over his head on Thursday, his cut upper torso stretching the yellow logo in a way that would make Bruce Wayne proud.

But Williams isn't really a fan of the "Caped Crusader" or the series of movies about the comic book character.

"The shirt was on sale for $6," he said with a smile. "I couldn't pass it up. That's the way I shop. If it's on sale, I want it. It ain't how much you can spend, it's how much you can keep."

Williams takes the same approach to football. That's why he was so torn up after Sunday's 12-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He knows had he kept the ball tucked tighter instead of fumbling at the Seahawks' 8-yard line in the fourth quarter the outcome might have been different.

DeAngelo Williams
DeAngelo Williams is eager to put his Week 1 fumble that may have cost the Panthers the game behind him.
He vowed afterward that the next time he would deliver. The resolve in his voice is convincing.

"It's not how many times you fall," Williams said. "It's how many time you're willing to get up. I'm willing to get up every time."

Williams has turned his focus to Sunday's game at Buffalo and how Carolina will handle the Bills' aggressive defense that is almost certain to have a different look than it showed in a 23-21 loss to New England.

Against the Patriots, the Bills went with six or seven defensive backs out of respect for quarterback Tom Brady's pin-point passing. They likely will come with more manpower up front to negate the running of Williams and quarterback Cam Newton.

"Oh, they fly around and blitz like crazy," said Williams, who ran for 86 yards on 17 carries against a tough Seattle defense. "They try to be physical up front and the guys in the secondary fly around and try to confuse your quarterback and try to get him to throw the ball into their hands and not your receivers' hands."

The Bills could go from a 3-4 to a 4-3 to even a five-man front -- all on the same play in an attempt to confuse the offense.

"You've got to block spots, not guys," Williams said.

Perhaps the best way to attack is up the middle to negate some of those stunts.

"Go right at them," Williams said. "You just have to do what you do better than they do."

That's Williams' focus. He's put the fumble behind him and the sullen mood that came with it. He and fullback Mike Tolbert were taking shots at each other unmercifully on Thursday trying to interrupt the other's interview.

At one point, Tolbert slapped Williams in the back of the head with a cardboard box while his backfield mate was on camera.

"It's all right," Williams said. "He's excited about the new gum they came out with -- hamburger flavor."

Tolbert's fondness for food remained a target as the interview continued.

"Why are y'all messing with me?" Willliams said. "I'm trying to focus over here. Why don't you tuck that stomach in?"

All jokes aside, Williams understands he has a heavy load on his shoulders with the other half of "Double Trouble," Jonathan Stewart, on the physically unable to perform list and out at least five games with an ankle injury.

"DeAngelo is a professional in every since of the word," coach Ron Rivera said. "I know he's got a loose personality and likes to laugh. I also think he takes things very seriously in his own way. He works very hard in what he does."

That is most obvious in practice. On Wednesdays, Williams sprints 60 yards to the end zone every time he breaks through the hole. He tones it back a bit every day, knowing just what he needs to be ready on Sunday.

"His whole approach to things is the right way, and that's what's exciting about him," Rivera said.

Williams is excited for the chance to atone for last week's mistake.

"I was always told practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practices make perfect," he said. "We're trying to string together as many as those as possible so we can go out on Sunday and prove we're one of the better offenses in the league."

He definitely hasn't wasted time shopping for clothes.