Throughout the course of last Sunday’s game, a few players who names aren’t typically called, heard their names called and were asked to go out onto the field. In the midst of a 2-8 season, these are things that should be expected at some point in games. One of those players was rookie safety Zeke Motta.
After playing just 3 snaps on defense this season, Motta entered Sunday’s game for Thomas DeCoud in the second half and played 26 snaps, 38 percent of the game’s snaps on defense. He finished with one tackle and credits teammate William Moore with helping him get comfortable on the fly in the middle of the game.
“I prepare each week like I’m going to be going into the game,” Motta said. “When I got in there I was comfortable and confident. I was able to communicate and (safety William Moore) ‘Mo was talking to me out there, making sure we were on the same page. I just have to prepare each week like I’m going to be going into the game because you never know.”"
Falcons head coach Mike Smith said he was pleased with how the rookie played, especially since Motta’s more of a traditional strong safety who was playing a free safety role.
“I thought he did OK in that spot,” Smith said on Monday. “He is a guy that has a body type more of a strong safety, but has some athleticism to play some free safety and we wanted to get him in there and get some snaps at the free safety position and I thought he did a pretty good job. That was his first time of playing any significant play time in the regular season.”
Motta said at Notre Dome the defense didn’t use free and strong designations and the two safeties were more interchangeable. Some of those concepts, he said, are present with the Falcons defense and if he’s asked to go back out there for extended snaps again, he’s got a good understanding of both roles as well as the entire defense and he will be prepared.
“My preparation won’t change,” Motta said. “Obviously, I go in to improve each week and be the best player I can be. I’ll do whatever the coaches ask of me and whatever my job is, I’m going to try to be the best at it.”