Kazee ready to start at safety if needed

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Damontae Kazee (27) tackles Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant (19), during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Combined ShapeCaption
Atlanta Falcons cornerback Damontae Kazee (27) tackles Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant (19), during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

With safety Ricardo Allen in the league’s concussion protocol program, rookie Damontae Kazee is ready to start if needed, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Monday.

Allen landed a big hit on Lions wide receiver T.J. Jones in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 30-26 win. Allen was sprawled on the field. It was on the first play after the two-minute warning. Jones’ catch picked up 29 yards, the biggest gain of the game for the Lions.

Kazee, a fifth-round pick from San Diego State, played 18 defensive snaps, including the final 11 with Allen out.

“If called upon, he’s ready,” Quinn said. “We really trust where he’s at in the process. He’s really doesn’t feel like a guy transitioning to safety any longer. Although he didn’t have any production, he played fine technique.

“He’s been in certain packages. He’s played a little bit. But, if called on upon, he would be ready and is ready to play.”

THE KAZEE FILE 

FIFTH ROUND (149th overall) DAMONTAE KAZEE, CB/FS, SAN DIEGO STATE HEIGHT: 5-foot-10 WEIGHT: 184 pounds ARM LENGTH: 30 7/8 inches HAND SIZE: 8 5/8 inches 40-YARD DASH: 4.54.15 seconds BENCH PRESS: 11 reps of 225 pounds VERTICALJUMP: 34 inches BROAD JUMP: 10 feet, 4 inches THREE-CONE DRILL: 7.11 seconds ■ OVERVIEW: The Falcons told him he would play some nickel back and safety in the defense. He redshirted and was a reserve in 2013. He made 13 starts in 2014 and led the team with 14 passes defended, adding 58 tackles and one interception to earn second-team All-Mountain West Conference honors. He was named an All-American and Mountain West defensive player of the year in 2015, with a team-best 15 passes defended and eight interceptions. Kazee returned for his senior season and again earned All-American status and won the conference defensive player-of-the-year honors with 65 tackles, 15 passes defended and seven interceptions. His brother, Walter, was a running back at San Diego State (2009-12).

Combined ShapeCaption
Falcons coach Dan Quinn discusses the 3-0 Falcons and rookie free safety Damontae Kazee who may have to start with Ricardo Allen in the concussion protocol. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter