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- Time and history have Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee comfortable with Steelers
Time and history have Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee comfortable with Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is a proud unit, and they are a group which is more than prepared to take on the high-powered offenses in the AFC, and their own division. One area which many might see as a potential weakness would be in the secondary, mainly at safety.
Minkah Fitzpatrick is an all-world player, and there is no questioning what he brings to the team/defense. However, what the team deploys around Fitzpatrick is certainly up for debate. The Steelers prioritized Damontae Kazee over Terrell Edmunds this offseason, as both were unrestricted free agents (UFAs), and added Keanu Neal to the mix as well to help aid in the in-the-box type of linebacker/safety hybrid the team loves.
Unfortunately, fans who have attended training camp practice at Saint Vincent College this year haven’t seen much of Kazee, Neal, or even Fitzpatrick. Minkah was dealing with a family issue which caused him to miss the first couple weeks of practice, and Kazee and Neal have been nursing injuries; however, those injuries seem to be on the mend and they are working their way back to the playing field.
Prior to camp practice Tuesday Keanu Neal spoke with media and mentioned one facet of Kazee and Neal which might be overlooked by some. Their history together, with both the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys, will help them get acclimated faster than two safeties who aren’t comfortable with one another.
This is what Neal told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski:
Keanu Neal on assimilation with a new team – it helps to have an old (new) teammate! pic.twitter.com/jhtgKQKtMf
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) August 15, 2023
The Steelers still have two preseason games remaining, the next one being their only home game vs. the Buffalo Bills at Acrisure Stadium this Saturday night. Will Kazee and Neal make their debut for the 2023 team as a safety duo? That might be putting the cart before the horse considering the two are just now being eased back into practice.
As Neal said, the have time to get things right, and that is a process which should be expedited considering the duo’s history together. If Kazee and/or Neal were lost due to injury at any point, that’s a test of the team’s depth which isn’t the best as we sit here in mid-August. Let’s also hope that is a scenario which never comes to fruition.