INDIANAPOLIS – Falcons head coach Dan Quinn provided an update on former first-round draft pick Keanu Neal and where he is in his rehab progression.
"Keke is doing good," Quinn said. "He's exactly where he should be. We're excited for him, he's making great progress."
Neal, 24, tore his Achilles in Week 3 of Atlanta's 2019 season and missed the remainder of the year.
The hard-hitting safety plays an instrumental role in the Falcons' defense and his presence was sorely missed. Neal has now spent the last two seasons on injured reserve as he tore his ACL in 2018 and missed the entire season.
Prior to suffering two significant injuries, Neal was named to the Pro Bowl following the 2017 season where he registered 116 tackles. Neal also earned a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie team in 2016 after recording 106 tackles in his first season in the NFL.
Without Neal in the lineup, Quinn moved Ricardo Allen to strong safety and Damontae Kazee filled the starting role at free safety.
Kazee has recorded 10 interceptions over the last two seasons and has become an important piece in Atlanta's secondary. Allen, the defensive team captain, also has a significant role as one of the Falcons' best communicators.
As for how the rotation at the safety position will work with Neal, Kazee and Allen excepted to be healthy for the upcoming season, Quinn says he and his coaching staff – specifically defensive coordinator Raheem Morris – will find ways to feature all three players.
"Those are really things we'll make sure we're doing a very good job featuring the guys in the things they do best. Having more than enough good players is way better than the alternative. Between myself, Raheem and Jeff Ulbrich, we'll have more than enough ways to feature them."