Williams, 5-11 and 192 pounds, has played in 128 regular season games with 99 starts and played in four postseason games. He has more than 500 career tackles, 19 interceptions and 5.0 sacks. Last season, he played in all 16 games with one start for the Falcons. He has started all 16 games three times in his career.
"He is a veteran who knows how to play," Coach Tom Coughlin said. "He has been a good physical blitzer and we are in need of someone who can learn quickly and go from there."
To make room on the roster, the Giants waived linebacker Kenny Ingram.
*Devin Thomas returned three kickoffs against Chicago for 33, 73 and 32 yards. In 2010, only three of the Giants' 57 kickoff returns were as long as 32 yards.
"I liked what I saw," Coughlin said. "He had fire in his eyes and explosion out of there. He was physical with it because of the long one obviously but when I look at something with our team and see 46 yards a return, I say, 'Are you sure you are talking about our team?' That is a good thing."
"We've been practicing hard in training camp and we made a couple of adjustments to benefit us in what we thought might have been lacking," Thomas said. "We changed a few things up and it showed the other night."
Thomas thinks he might have scored had he been able to shift the ball to his right hand, but he still wears a protective covering on the pinky he dislocated early in training camp.
"I didn't want to have to make that an option due to the cast," Thomas said. "The future will tell (if he scores once the cast is removed)."
Thomas likes the new NFL rule change that moved kickoffs from the 30 to the 35-yard line. Although the kicks are sailing deeper into the end zone, Thomas thinks the likelihood for a longer return is greater.
"It's fun," Thomas said. "I like the fact that the ball is deep, because in the scheme of things, the way the kickoff team thinks about it, it's, 'Okay, it's going deep, we're not going to have to get down there.' My mentality and our whole kickoff return mentality is if it's playable, we're going to catch it on the run and hit it. Catching it going full speed is probably a little scary for the kicking team."
The larger question is whether Thomas will win the job as the Giants' primary kickoff returner. The Giants were 31st in the NFL last season with an average of 19.0 yards a return.
"Until I make the 53 (final roster) and put me back there against (Washington) – then I'll say it's my job," Thomas said.
*Coughlin praised Michael Clayton, another veteran wide receiver who excelled on special teams in the Bears game.
"Did you see the kickoff coverage when the off returner came up and he just decked him and then the block on the long return and he just splattered him?" Coughlin said. "If the young players could watch how that guy goes about his business, he is very intense and serious. Kind of fun to watch someone play like that because he really plays hard."
*Backup quarterback David Carr completed nine of 11 passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns against Chicago.
"He did a good job," Coughlin said. "Since he has been here, I thought he has been much more authoritative since his first time around. I think he is in the same boat as Clayton, a veteran player who senses that these jobs are very serious."
*Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy has been with six teams since entering the NFL as a first-round draft choice in 2003, but he believes he's finally found a home.
"I was a Giants fan (growing up in Yonkers, N.Y., about 20 miles from MetLife Stadium)," Kennedy said. "My phone hasn't stopped ringing and text messages. All types of stuff. That's a blessing, though. It's a gift and a curse that comes with it."
Kennedy, who played for the Minnesota Vikings last season, admitted he had second thoughts about playing so close to home.
"I had a rough childhood," he said. "It was just a different experience. I was definitely excited about joining the team. I had to weigh my options on off-field stuff and different areas. I don't know all of the right people in stuff out in New York. When I come back home, I'm a tourist now. It feels good to be home and around people that love you, but I want to make sure I continue to focus off the field, that stuff is important to me."
*Wide receiver Darius Reynaud returned to practice after missing a week with a hamstring injury. Players who sat out practice include wide receiver Mario Manningham (personal issue), tackle William Beatty (migraine), quarterback Sage Rosenfels (illness/back), kicker Lawrence Tynes (quad) and safety Brian Jackson (hip).