Big-play potential?

Two games into the season and the Carolina Panthers are where nobody expected them to be -- winless. With All-Pro wide receiver Steve Smith out the last two games with a hamstring injury, the Panthers have managed just one touchdown on offense this season.

But the man who scored that touchdown is giving the team reason things may turn around soon, perhaps as soon as this week when they visit the equally troubled Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2).

Rookie running back DeAngelo Williams turned heads on Sunday with a 13-carry, 74-yard performance that included runs of 23 and 19 yards.

It's unclear at this point if Williams, the team's first-round draft pick out of Memphis, will get the start over DeShaun Foster, but you can bet he will have a big role in the offense in the coming weeks.

"Well, you know, DeShaun's the starter," said Williams, the Panthers' first-round draft pick out of Memphis in last April's NFL Draft. "I'm one of those guys who gives him a blow when he needs it. It's one of those things where if he gets tired, I come in and when I get tired, he comes in. I'd say it's a co-running back thing, but he's the starter."

Coach John Fox wouldn't comment on any personnel changes, but was pleased with how the running game had improved from 65 yards in 16 tries against Atlanta to 107 yards in 27 attempts on Sunday.

"He (DeAngelo) stepped in there and did a good job," Fox said. "We feel good about our running back situation. DeAngelo is a part of that mix."

Williams may give the Panthers the big-play potential they need, especially with Smith out of the lineup. He also caught five passes for 24 yards and was split wide on several alignments.

Foster caught two balls, but also dropped two.

"DeAngelo did a nice job," offensive tackle Jordan Gross said. "And I thought DeShaun did a nice job also. Hopefully, we can keep them both healthy and have a good combo in the backfield."

Said quarterback Jake Delhomme: "He looked good. He and DeShaun were both close to breaking long ones. It's good to have both of them."

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