The Pittsburgh Steelers lost Damontae Kazee during the preseason, but could he finally see the field for the first time this year against the Saints?
During the summer, it was looking like the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to have one of the deepest safety rooms in the NFL. Returning on a one-year deal was Terrell Edmunds, while Minkah Fitzpatrick inked a massive extension to stick around for years to come.
However, the backups looked as strong as any unit in the league as well. During the offseason, Pittsburgh made a move to sign Damontae Kazee. The former Falcons and Cowboys safety earned 12 interceptions prior to making his way to the Steel City in his sixth NFL season. Sadly, Kazee broke his forearm early in the preseason, and it required a plate and nine screws to surgically repair, according to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.
Fortunately, he has finally made a full recovery. On Thursday evening, the team officially announced that Kazee has been activated from the reserve/injured list:
This injury came in addition to Karl Joseph suffering a severe ankle injury that has officially ruled him out for the season. With Fitzpatrick and Edmunds each missing some time this year, getting Kazee back will be a welcome sight, as he was projected to play a key role on defense this year prior to his injury.
Latest Injury Update for Damontae Kazee
It’s unclear what type of role Damontae Kazee will have on defense as he returns to the field. It’s also worth noting that Kazee was able to serve his three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy while on IR.
This will be his first regular-season action as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, this is a player who has had plenty of success in the past, and many projected him to play the ‘dime backer’ role for the Steelers this year.
It will be interesting to see if the team eases him back into action, but considering that it was an arm injury he suffered, Kazee is likely to be in good shape and ready to go. He shouldn’t have to be on any sort of pitch count; it will just come down to how many packages Teryl Austin will want to get him involved in.
Personally, I would love to see Austin work Kazee into some three-safety sets where Edmunds can come down into the box and Kazee can man the strong safety role. This would take a linebacker off the field in obvious passing situations while giving Pittsburgh a boost in terms of overall speed and coverage ability on defense.
As a situational player, Damontae Kazee might not be a game-wrecker, but we have seen in the past that he has been a quality player with ball skills. This will be a welcome addition to the Steelers in a must-win game against the Saints this week.