Head coach Dan Quinn said that Kazee will continue to play safety and nickelback when Keanu Neal (knee) and Ricardo Allen (Achilles) are fully healthy, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. After starting just once as a rookie in 2017, Kazee has collected 77 tackles and six interceptions in 14 starts filling in for Allen at free safety. The 25-year-old has missed a number of important open-field tackles, but he's impressed with ball-hawking instincts in his second season out of San Diego State. Kazee is currently tied for third in the NFL with six interceptions, and ranks top-three on the Falcons in tackles (77), pass deflections (nine) and forced fumbles (one) heading into a Week 17 matchup against Tampa Bay's high-powered passing attack (319 yards per game).
Kazee sustained shoulder and elbow injuries during Sunday's 22-19 loss to the Cowboys, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Kazee exited Sunday's loss to the Cowboys during the first half and was later able to return to the game. The severity of the Kazee's shoulder and elbow injuries remain undisclosed, but it's encouraging that he was able to play through them. The second-year pro will face a short week of recovery as Thursday's divisional tilt against the Saints approaches.
Kazee accounted for six total tackles, one forced fumble, a pass deflection and an interception during Sunday's 41-17 loss to Pittsburgh. The second-year man continues to shine in the defensive backfield in what has otherwise been a nightmarish season for the Dirty Birds' secondary, with a plethora of injuries and continued struggles in defending against the pass. Kazee has averaged 7.7 tackles per game over the past three weeks, and he's proven capable of forcing turnovers, with two interceptions and three forced fumbles in his past seven regular-season and postseason games. Next week may bring another opportunity for the ballhawk Kazee, facing a Bucs team that has thrown 1.8 interceptions per game in 2018 between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston.
Kazee logged one interception and seven tackles during Sunday's 37-36 loss to the Bengals. Kazee served as Atlanta's starting free safety in the absence of Ricardo Allen (Achilles). Atlanta's defense was mostly unable to stop Cincinnati's passing attack -- allowing quarterback Andy Dalton to pass for 337 yards, three touchdowns and one interception -- but Allen, who accounted for Dalton's only interception, was a bright spot for the Falcons' secondary. Kazee will remain a key defensive piece heading into Atlanta's Week 5 matchup against the Steelers.
Kazee (knee) was a full participant in Friday's practice and is expected to be active for Sunday's game against Cincinnati, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports. The Falcons' secondary is elated to have Kazee back healthy with starting safeties Keanu Neal (knee) and Ricardo Allen (Achilles) down for the season, and nickelback Brian Poole's (thumb, toe) Week 4 status remaining uncertain. Kazee's stellar play throughout training camp and the early regular season helped assure head coach Dan Quinn that he could step in as an adequate replacement, instead of reaching outside the organization for a big-name pickup. The second-year man has a keen nose for the football, as evidenced by double-digit tackle performances in two of his past six preseason and regular-season games. Out of necessity, expect Kazee to be on the field for close to 100 percent of the defensive snaps Sunday against Cincinnati so long as his knee holds up.