Last season there were so many moving parts to the Falcons defense, some due to injury and some due to coaching changes. At the beginning of the season, Coach Quinn decided to move Damontae Kazee into the slot cornerback role when Neal and Allen were back on the field. Then the unthinkable happened and Neal had yet another season ending injury. As a result, Kazee ended up back at safety. Now that a new season has surfaced and Neal is expected back, the question remains: Where does Kazee play?
I have always been a huge fan of Kazee, dating back to his college days. His instincts and nose for the ball make him a natural playmaker. Also, Kazee has good short area quickness and transitions well out of his back pedal to close on routes by receivers. Because of that, Kazee does have the capability to play the slot.
Also, he recognizes route concepts well and plays best when he can see things develop in front of him. Now, there are some that like to say moving Kazee to slot last season was a disaster. However, to be fair, the secondary as a whole was a disaster due to a horrible lack of communication, so I don’t know if we can single Kazee out or say he’s not up to the task there.
Kazee is simply one of those players you have to keep on the field in some capacity due to his playmaking abilities. That brings us to our original question: Where will Kazee play next season? It truly depends on Coach Raheem Morris.
If Morris intends to utilize more man, Kazee can be a slot corner if he’s allowed to play off. Putting him in any press situation takes him away from what he does best. Now, Coach Morris’ history gives us a good sense that he will incorporate zone concepts into the team defense. If so, it’s very likely that we will see Kazee play slot on occasion and will have some center field responsibilities as well. If the Falcons don’t prioritize cornerback in the draft, I think you’ll see him there more often.
So where will Kazee play? My prediction is that Kazee will be the Swiss Army knife of the secondary. What say you?