Film Room: Kameron Kelly’s Role as the Third Safety
Throughout his football career Kameron Kelly has been able to fit in many roles. From high school as a dual threat quarterback, through college playing safety and corner and into his professional career, adding a stint at wide receiver, he has shown the flexibility to play several different positons.
You have to love a guy who is willing to do whatever he can to get on the field.
After signing with the Steelers he entered into a room full of safeties that, after the two starters, had no real defined roles or guaranteed roster positions. Coming in he had a lot of work to do to make an impression and to find his niche. He is making a strong push to be the 3rd safety in Nickel and Dime packages. He has good size at close to 6’2” that allows him to match up with tight ends and big slot receivers.
In the first preseason game he started at free safety when Sean Davis didn’t play. With Davis back in the starting lineup in the second preseason game against Kansas City, Kelly got a chance to play with the 1’s as the third safety and he played solidly. He was not targeted and had one tackle. I took a look to see what types of situations he was used, where he lined up and what types of coverages he was asked to play.
Nickel and Dime
I found sixteen plays were he was on the field as the third safety.
In Nickel, there were ten plays he was on the field. Six plays in the first half with the first team defense and four times in the second half. Overall, six times he was lined up near the LOS over the slot receiver (twice) or number two tight end (4) and played Man coverage. Four times he was lined up deep and the coverages varied including Cover 2, Single High, Robber and rotating up to cover the slot when Mike Hilton blitzed.
In Dime, there were six plays overall with 4 in the first half and 2 in the second. Five of the six plays he was lined up deep in a Cover 2 look and once he was in the slot over the number two tight end.
Let’s take a look at some of the plays to show you alignments and coverages.
This is early in the first quarter. The Chiefs are lined up in 11 personnel with the Steelers in Dime. Three safeties on the field with Davis in the left slot over Travis Kelce. Terrell Edmunds and Kelly are deep in Cover 2. You’ll see Kelly come into the picture late on the wheel route.
The Chiefs are in 12 personnel with 2 tight ends and a wide receiver in a tight bunch to the right. Steelers are in Nickel. This is a running play but Kelly if it was a pass it was likely to be Man coverage on one of the TE’s.
Here is another bunch formation using 12 personnel with TE Blake Bell (81) in front. The defense is in Nickel and Kelly has Man coverage on Bell.
Chiefs have trips to the left with Bell in the tight slot and again Kelly is in Man coverage on another curl route.
Chiefs are in 11 personnel in a 2X2 formation. The start out in a Cover 2 look but Hilton (28) is going to blitz from the right side and Kelly is going to rotate up to cover the wide receiver in the slot.
Chiefs are in 11 personnel with trips to the left. Kelly is deep in a Cover 2 look. It’s a short in route by the WR at the top. Brian Allen (29) is going to miss the tackle and Kelly covers some ground to come in and make the stop.
Chiefs are in 11 personnel with trips to the right. Kelly starts out lined up deep but at the snap rotates down into the Robber role where he as the running back in coverage.
Has The Role Been Filled?
It was good to see the versatility using him in different coverages but it would have been nice to see him tested a bit more. Seven times he lined up in the slot in Man coverage and that consisted of five curl routes and two run plays. Not the most difficult menu to defend.
While playing with the first team defense he lined up in the slot or rotated to the slot five out of six plays in the Nickel and once deep in the Cover 2. In the Dime defense he lined up in Cover 2 three out of four plays and once over the tight end in the slot.
This week is a good chance to get to see more against Tennessee. They like to use multiple tight ends sets and six of the ten plays the Steelers played Nickel with 3 safeties were with two or more tight ends on the field. The also push the ball down field with their TE’s so it could be a good test for Kelly
There is still 2 preseason game to play and I would like and I’m sure the Steelers would like to see him tested a bit more in this role. Barring any terrible showing in the last two games its looking like this will be Kelly’s role while also playing on special teams and backing up the free safety position unless Marcus Allen gives him a fight.
3 Safety plays for Kelly
|QTR||D/D||Time||OFF Pers||DEF Pers||Location||Coverage||Lined up Over||Notes|
|1||3/4||11:23||11||Dime||Deep||Cover 2||Pass to the wheel|
|1||1/10||9:01||12||Nickel||LOS/Slot||Press||WR14||Bunch, lined up over widest|
|2||1/10||:28||11||Nickel||Rotate to slot||Man||WR83||Rotate up blitz/Sack By DB28|
|2||1/10||:10||11||Nickel||Deep||Cover 2||Comeback route, way in front|
|3||3/4||13:42||11||Dime||Deep||Cover 2||Tackle after miss by DB29|
|4||1/10||12:42||11||Nickel||Deep||Single Hi||WR screen|
|4||2/18||11:47||11||Dime||Deep||Cover 2||Run play|
|4||3/7||11:06||11||Nickel||Deep||Robber||Had RB in coverage|