JACKSONVILLE – There has been an unmistakable trend through the Falcons' first three preseason games: Damontae Kazee has a knack for making plays.
The second-year safety had an eye-catching performance for the third time this preseason, making some nice plays on the ball and leading the team in tackles, like he did in the first preseason game when he recorded 11 stops.
"He's certainly had an excellent offseason and then kind of carried right over into training camp," Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said. "He's had one of the very best mentors in Ricardo Allen to help train and get right. And at some point, a player takes over too to say I really want to put out to make a difference on this team, and he's certainly finding more roles that we'll find for him on the defensive side as well as special teams."
Kazee very nearly came close to securing a turnover for the second straight game after knocking the ball loose from Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee and recovering it for the Falcons. The play was overturned, however, as Kazee was penalized for initiating contact with his helmet – one of the new penalties the NFL implemented this offseason.
It is the second time this preseason Kazee has been called for such a penalty. He was first penalized for leading with his helmet in the Falcons' preseason opener against the Jets.
Although Kazee continued to make plays on the ball and appears to be making a strong case for a bigger role in his second season, the Falcons, as a whole, struggled in their 17-6 loss to the Jaguars.
Atlanta's defense gave up 406 yards to the Jaguars and had a number of missed tackles that led to big plays. Offensively, the Falcons struggled on third down, converting only two of their 11 attempts, and they were stymied by dropped passes and other self-inflicted wounds.
"There's a lot for us to get to work on," Quinn said. "I didn't think we did a very good job of taking advantage of our opportunities tonight. The interception taking place by the defense, and the offense not getting to capitalize. Putting a punt down – [Matt Bosher] nailed a good one down inside the 5-yard line – and letting them out. Those are the field position ones. For us to be the best version of ourselves, that has to take place. I was disappointed that we didn't play as an entire group tonight."