FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – When the Falcons announced Ricardo Allen will miss the remainder of the season with an Achilles injury, questions about who Atlanta would replace him with began to swirl on the outside. After losing Keanu Neal for the season after the first game, the Falcons will now be without both their starting strong and free safeties for the rest of the season.
Would the team bring in someone from the outside? Is there someone on the roster playing a different position currently going to make a position change? How will the Falcons' defense account for these key injuries to starters?
Dan Quinn addressed those questions during his press conference on Monday.
Both Neal and Allen are two players who have become key players in the Falcons' defense. Allen signed a three-year contract extension in August and Neal is in the third year of his rookie contract.
"One, we really believe in Keanu and Rico," Quinn said. "When you do bring in a player, where does that player fit in moving forward? The next piece of that, at free safety, that is the next in line of where we were thinking with Damontae. Had it not been the case then I would say, 'man we better go out and make that move.' Just through Thomas [Dimitroff's] aggressiveness to try that, it would certainly be there if we had to go make a move for a certain style of player that we say we have to have this to make our defense work. If I felt that way, I really would have pushed for it hard.
"That's not where I'm at. The men [and] the versatility we do have, I do feel comfortable with where we're at today. Had it been something that we had to go deeper, I certainly would have brought that up."
Kazee has always been Allen's back up at free safety. Where the Falcons will get creative is at strong safety.
And according to Quinn, the Falcons feel like they have options between the following players currently on their roster: Jordan Richards, Keith Tandy and Kemal Ishmael who is currently playing linebacker but he was drafted as a safety.
There's also the option of using cornerback Brian Poole as well.
The Falcons' defense is built on players having versatility and, in this case, it certainly helps.