For the first time in his career, linebacker Jacquian Williams went through an entire training camp without missing a practice because of injury. The result was the emergence of an every-down linebacker who has had one of the strongest summers of anyone on the defensive unit.
"What I did this year is what I expected to do coming into my second year," said Williams, a fourth-year player. "Obviously there were some injuries and stuff that came along, so that stopped the process."
Williams is the most athletic of the Giants' linebackers and should help when they face opponents with speedy quarterbacks and hard-to-cover tight ends. Despite competition from rookie Devon Kennard and veteran Jameel McClain, Williams thinks he has shown enough to be on the field instead of being considered a situational player.
"That was a goal," he said. "I put a lot of work in this offseason. It was something I was looking forward to, something that I expected. I worked hard and they gave me the opportunity and I took it."
The biggest change this year, he said, is his health. A PCL injury in 2012 lingered into 2013. He was in all 16 games last year but started only eight and played mostly in nickel packages.
This season, after leading the team in preseason tackles, he could be a full-time starter.
"My confidence level," Williams said, "is at an all-time high."
Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) has been cleared to fully practice and is looking forward to shaking off hesitation lingering from his injury.
"I think all that will go away once I start practicing," he said. "I'm sure the more I practice, the more confident I will get."
The Giants will need Amukamara in the opener against Detroit. "The Lions' offense likes to sling it," he said. "They have their receivers, and especially with their tight ends that they have, so it is definitely going to be a great challenge for us."
Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles was awarded to the Patriots off waivers Sunday. Quarles was one of the players the Giants waived on Saturday to trim their roster to 53 players. They had hoped to sign him to their practice squad . . . The Giants signed seven to their practice squad, six of them players they cut from the roster the day before. Running back Michael Cox, cornerbacks Bennett Jackson and Chandler Fenner, linebacker Dan Fox, defensive end Jordan Stanton and receiver Julian Talley cleared waivers and returned to the team. Offensive tackle Nick Becton was waived by the Chargers last week and added to the practice squad. The Giants have three openings left on the squad.