The Atlanta Falcons second-year safety Damontae Kazee has been amazing for the depleted defense.
Atlanta Falcons’ second-year safety Damontae Kazee has been one of few bright lights on the team’s depleted defense. Filling in the void for team captain Ricardo Allen could be difficult to ask out of any relativity young player but the task only seems to light a fire under Kazee.
Over the last five games for the Falcons, Kazee has recorded an interception in all of them and has been Pro Football Focus‘ highest-graded defensive back for Atlanta during his emergence. Slowly but surely Kazee has placed himself in high-regards with the coaching for his turnover production but also his ability to close down on ball-carriers in open lanes is what have fans wondering: What is it role for the future?
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Before the start of the season during training camp, Kazee made it clear to the media, coaches, and his teammates that his growth from the 2017 season was to be taken notice of quickly.
Even during this year’s pre-season for Atlanta, Kazee managed to record 16 tackles, 1 interception, and 4 pass defended all within sparingly playing time. Despite what most fans believe before Ricardo Allen’s injury versus New Orleans in week three – Kazee was already receiving snaps on defense as the third nickel/safety role. He managed to have a few mishaps with missed tackles that game but it didn’t leave a void at the free safety position.
What has been more impressive has been Kazee managing taking a bit more run responsibility with a revolving door at strong-safety with starter Keanu Neal out for the season. The Falcons resources have been limited because of cap space but made some tough decisions trading for Jordan Richards and signing Keith Tardy only to have Sharrod Neasman resign and take over the job. Out of all of the Falcon’s second year players, Kazee leads the entire group in snap counts (505 Def.) and still manages to be the seventh-ranked safety in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.
There hasn’t been too many bright spot for the Falcons defense this season but Damontae Kazee has proven to not only the coaching staff that he’s capable of signaling the back-end of the defense but keeping the knack to make big plays in coverage. These are the “good” problems most NFL teams are fighting so hard to have in the off-season by taking chances on a player that fits within their system and are able to progress with time. There isn’t blueprint to exactly what role Kazee will take in the future but times have shown that he is too talented to waste.