One of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing season has been the emergence of safety Damontae Kazee. The second-year player from San Diego State has grown into one of the team’s most productive players since the early season loss of safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen.
In 12 games, Kazee has 60 tackles, one for loss, and leads the team with six interceptions. He also had two interceptions in the preseason.
“I would say No. 1 he has definitely improved from a communication side,” coach Dan Quinn said. “That part of his game is now so much further along than he had. That is the good and bad byproduct of being thrust in is to say, ‘Now, it’s on you to make the calls, make the alerts,’ so that part for sure has been better.”
Quinn said he was aware of Kazee’s competitive and fearless nature, but didn’t expect him to lead the team in interceptions. He has embellished his reputation as a ballhawk.
“We did know that he was one tough competitive guy and he wouldn’t back off of it,” Quinn said. “That part we knew we needed to add just somehow, some way to keep that part going. We’d find a space for him once we got him in the building.”
Kazee was originally seen as a cornerback, but was forced to make the switch to safety after the team’s injuries.
“He has not disappointed in that way at all,” Quinn said. “He had not a lot of background at safety, but playing down the line of scrimmage he was that way at corner, and to keep that competitive style about him, we could train him at the safety spot.”