In a one-on-one interview with Missi Matthews of Steelers.com, Pittsburgh Steelers backup safety Damontae Kazee talked about working with his fellow safeties, via the team’s YouTube channel.
“It’s a great culture. These guys didn’t look at it like I was coming in, taking anybody’s position. They knew what role I’m gonna play, and they stuck behind me. Minkah sat out when I first got here, so it got me to run with the ones, and Minkah was basically the coach in the background, so he’s telling me everything, TE telling me everything, they really taught me the majority of all the stuff,” Kazee said.
The “TE” that Kazee references is safety Terrell Edmunds, who he worked next to when Minkah was out during minicamp with his hold-in and out during camp with a wrist injury. It’s always good to hear guys mentoring each other and helping each other out, especially here with Kazee. He has an accomplished pedigree, as he led the NFL in interceptions with seven in 2018. Someone like Edmunds could easily see Kazee as a threat to his job and not be as helpful, but that’s clearly not the case.
With the news of Tre Norwood helping tutor Levi Wallace coming out earlier this week, it seems as if Pittsburgh’s defensive back room is really close. That’s obviously a plus, as it’s a unit that has to frequently be communicating to make sure they don’t give up any big plays on blown coverages. With the group being close, that communication should be there and it should be a unit that works well together.
Fitzpatrick is the only defensive back that has any star power, but it’s still a solid group of veterans who have shown they can get the job done. With guys like Cameron Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon, Wallace, Edmunds and Norwood all proving last year that they can be average to above-average contributors in the NFL, I think Pittsburgh’s secondary is a little bit underrated this season. It’s a group that I think will benefit from Pittsburgh’s pass rush (which should be among the league’s best), but will still be able to hold their own and make plays.
Pittsburgh’s defense has to be good this year. While the offense has potential, the offensive line play has been incredibly substandard thus far which hinders a lot of what the offense can do. For Pittsburgh to stay in games with their current offensive line, the defense is going to have to make gritty and muck things up to keep it low scoring. I think it’s a group that’s capable of doing so, but they’ll need to prove it in less than a month at Paycor Stadium when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1.