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Raheem Morris on improving defensive communication: ‘We just realized Damontae Kazee only speaks Polish’

“This actually explains so very, very much,” said the new defensive backs coach.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans
“Que pasó!”
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This article is a parody of the current Falcons team, and none of the quotes contained within are real and factual.

Dan Quinn boldly took over the defensive play-calling in the offseason, adamant that he could fix the Falcons defense. Serving as both head coach and defensive coordinator was evidently too much as the healthier-than-2018 defense regressed significantly.

The defensive line can’t get sacks. The linebackers couldn’t stop a small leak with an oversized bundle of Flex Seal. And the secondary? Things have been bad, with players consistently out of position. One of the biggest culprits in this season’s defensive regression is definitely Damontae Kazee. He was the target of analyst Brian Baldinger’s unusually irritated film review just a few weeks back.

We expected some shakeups during the bye week. But instead of Dan Quinn being sent off to a farm with more space to run around with other former head coaches, Quinn moved Raheem Morris back from offense to coach the secondary.

Morris’s first step? Improving communication.

It was important to make sure everyone is on the same page. First thing that happened was I talked to Desmond [Trufant]. I need him to lead this secondary with Ricardo Allen. Then Isaiah [Oliver], who is really coming into his own. Then I talked to [Damontae] Kazee, and he just kept saying, like, ‘nie mówię po angielsku.’ It was...real weird.

After asking around, Morris found out no one has ever really understood what Kazee has been saying. Quinn had worked with Kazee by talking extra slowly and extra loudly, but the results had so far been unimpressive.

Morris said he finally uncovered the source of the problem when he happened upon Kazee in the hallways of Flowery Branch, kicking an uncooperative vending machine and yelling “do cholery!” over and over again. After punching the phrase into Google Translate, he remembered that Kazee had spent the summer kayaking the Vitsula River and “things really clicked into place.”

Finally, we realized that [Kazee] doesn’t speak a word of English. Not a single word. You wish someone would have picked up on that before today, but it’s all about getting better every day. One step forward. One game at a time.

Morris has a long history working with defensive backs, starting way back at Cornell in 1999. He moved to Hofstra, then Tampa Bay, then Washington, then as a defensive backs coach in 2015. Now back with the secondary, Morris can use his experience to help players like Oliver pick up on subtle aspects of the opposing offense that Dan Quinn might have struggled to convey, and to teach Kazee aspects of the defense that would be difficult to pick up after spending 26 years speaking an entirely different language.

It’s been a real adjustment. You know, it feels weird to yell, ‘Szybciej! Szybciej! Osłaniać swojego człowieka na boisku!’ But Kazee has really responded to that, and I now have a hell of a recipe for sour cucumber soup.

We can start winning more games once Kazee stops guarding a bunch of empty grass because Ricardo Allen mixed up “stand on the grass” and “stand on your man” in Polish.

It is just the thing the defense needs: Everyone on the same page, buying into the defensive game plan, and generally speaking the same language.

Disclaimer: Damontae Kazee speaks fluent English. All the coach talk about improving communication made us wonder if some defenders were speaking a different language.