Dan Quinn said that this would be the case at the Monday press conference, but now we have it officially in front of us.
Beyond Kazee and Richards, the Falcons have listed Keith Tandy as the primary backup at FS and newly signed Sharrod Neasman as the second-string SS. Quinn indicated that Kemal Ishmael would also get some run at the strong safety position.
Falcons official depth chart for Sunday shows Kazee starting at FS with Tandy backing him up; and Richards starting at SS with Neasman backing him up.— Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) September 25, 2018
The good goes with the bad when it comes to Atlanta’s starting safety tandem heading into Week 4. Pro Football Focus has has graded Kazee out as one of the team’s best defensive players so far this season with a 75.0 grade, while Richards owns the team’s second-worst overall score with a 45.8 rating (Vic Beasley is the worst with a 42.1 grade).
Richards will most likely be on a short leash in this game if he continues to struggle the way he has thus far. Neasman, who was signed earlier this week, won’t have a schematic learning curve to go through as he was the team’s primary backup SS last season. Dan Quinn will likely be comfortable handing over the reins of the position to him if Richards plays poorly, and Tandy has plenty of experience at the position as well, regardless of where he’s listed.
Neasman and Tandy should both factor into the Special Teams unit in addition to their backup roles as well this week.
Ricardo Allen, much like Keanu Neal, has been lost for the year, so this is the safety tandem we may see in the long term as this season progresses.