Kazee, Kearse providing Cowboys with solid safety play early in 2021

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This can’t be true when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, can it? Albeit in just two games, the Cowboys are getting consistent, good play from the safety position.

Damontae Kazee and Jayron Kearse were both signed in March. Although the Cowboys added ballhawk Malik Hooker to play free safety during training camp, Kazee has started the first two games of the 2021 season and has contributed to something the Cowboys defense wanted to build on from the end of last season, creating turnovers. Not coincidentally, they’ve come at critical moments. Kearse was initially a substitute but played a lot in Week 1 and moved into the starting lineup for Week 2 due to injury. Both have been highly impressive in their play.

Damontae Kazee - Week 1

(AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

In the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kazee made arguably the biggest play of the night for the Cowboy's defense. On a fourth quarter 1st-and-10 from the Cowboys' 13-yard line, the Buccaneers were primed to close the door on Dallas already sporting a two-point lead. Kazee forced a fumble by wide receiver Chris Godwin inside the five that was recovered by Jourdan Lewis with just under five minutes to play. It almost won the game for the Cowboys after Greg Zuerlein hit a go-ahead field goal but Tom Brady snatched victory from their hands with a field goal drive of his own.

Kazee - Week 2

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

This past Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, Kazee was at it again with a timely turnover. With 10 seconds left in the third quarter, he intercepted Justin Herbert in the end zone in a 14-14 tie. The Cowboys would score a field goal on the next drive and ultimately win a 20-17 thriller. https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1436169080554147849?s=19 https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1439721145897414657?s=19

Jayron Kearse - Super Sub

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kearse was brought in to be a depth piece at strong safety. However, he's played 109 snaps in the first two weeks thanks in large part to Donovan Wilson missing Week 2 with a groin issue. The six-year veteran has taken full advantage of the opportunity starting with an 11 tackle performance against the Buccaneers which tied him for the team lead with Anthony Brown. His Week 2 performance was solid also with six tackles, a quarterback hit, and a pass breakup. Kearse almost added to the Cowboy's league-leading turnover total as well this past Sunday. He intercepted Herbert on a pass intended for tight end Jared Cook but was called for pass interference. Kearse was very solid against the run and in pass coverage against the Chargers. The former seventh-round pick has contributed on special teams too with 23 snaps. That shouldn't surprise anyone based on the fact that he had logged 1,095 special teams snaps in his career before this season which was 14 more than the snaps he accumulated on defense.

Safety spot depth

There's still a lot of football to be played but Kearse is making a case for more playing time even when Wilson is back healthy. Hooker had some good reps against the Chargers in his Cowboys debut so if his arrow keeps pointing upward who knows what will happen in his battle with Kazee for playing time. Either way, Kazee and Kearse should be applauded for their play so far this season.

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