Williams to make first start in base defense

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Finally, after 15 games, rookie Jimmy Williams has become the Atlanta Falcons' starting right cornerback.

The second draft pick from Virginia Tech expected to win the job before Atlanta won 20-to-6 at Carolina in Week One.

But incumbent Jason Webster played well enough to hold the job. Webster has missed six games with a torn groin. Williams technically started the last two weeks, but coordinator Ed Donatell opened each game in a nickel scheme.

The Falcons lost Webster during practice before a miserable home loss to Cleveland in Week 10. A couple of days later, Williams went down with a high ankle sprain as he practiced on special teams.

Williams' promotion means that Allen Rossum can work as a third or fourth cornerback and save his legs to return punts and kicks. Atlanta coach Jim Mora knows that Rossum, at 5-foot-8, 187 pounds, would have an extremely hard time trying to cover a big wideout like Keyshawn Johnson.

DeAngelo Hall, who starts on the left side, almost certainly will spend most of the game opposing Carolina's top receiver, Steve Smith, in a matchup of two Pro Bowl players.