The safety position has long been a sore spot for the Dallas Cowboys. As an organization they really don’t expend a lot of resources to fix it, generally relying on late-round picks and short-term free agents to patch the hole. This year, the team went out and signed Damontae Kazee to a one-year deal, but he comes with a little extra. He has played a few seasons for Dan Quinn, now the Cowboys defensive coordinator.
Kazee is expected to pair with strong safety Donovan Wilson as starters on the Cowboys defense. It wasn’t a sure thing that he would be able to do so after tearing his Achilles last October. The fact that he’s back at practices and seems to be 100% is an amazing recovery. Kazee noted he had surgery about a week after it happened and that he’s been pushing his recovery ever since.
Besides his skills as a safety, and he has shown in the past he can be an impact player at the position, he can also serve as a teacher of Dan Quinn’s defense. It’s a new defensive scheme for Dallas this year, and having veteran players who know it well is a bonus. Kazee also understands Quinn’s methods of coaching. Check out what he said about Quinn getting him to communicate at safety.
“The way Dan Quinn coaches, he’s a players-coach. If he got to get you out there to talk, he’s going to mic you up just like he did me my whole three years. I was one of them guys that didn’t talk at practice so he mic’ed me up through a whole practice and I had to go upstairs and watch it with him. That’s what type of coach he is.”
That’s an interesting blurb from Kazee. We tend to think about coaches either teaching technique on the field or teaching concepts in the meeting rooms, but here Quinn is solving a problem in a pretty unusual way. After all, your free safety has to be able to communicate well with the rest of the defense. Kazee elaborated on his conversion to safety and his conversion to communication.
“I played corner my whole life, so going to free safety, you’ve got to be like a quarterback on the defense. When I got there I was completely quiet. I was nervous, so I didn’t really talk. He mic’d me up and we went in there and watched it. I sounded weird just listening to myself, but it was good. He got me to talk.”
Quinn is also hands-on. We’ve already heard about him getting in on the defensive line drills. Kazee backs up that notion.
“He’s the type of coach that will get on the field with you. If you don’t get it right, he will come to you and tell you you didn’t get it right.”
He understands he needs to transfer his knowledge of Quinn’s defense to his teammates.
“I got to teach them at the end of the day. If a person goes down the next person has got to go. At the end of the day we are brothers, so if they don’t know it I got to tell them. If I don’t know it I ask. That’s how we got to do it.”
As for what he brings to the defense, Kazee said energy.
“Running to the ball, energy man. They don’t call me Crazy Kazee for nothing. I run to the ball, I like to go hit, I’m just coming with energy on every play.”