When Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick intercepted Ben Roethlisberger in last week’s 24-16 loss, it marked the cornerback’s first interception since December 2014, a span of 20 games.
That dry spell followed a Monday night home game against the Denver Broncos — the same team the Bengals will face Sunday in the home opener — as Kirkpatrick recorded two interceptions against Peyton Manning, returning one of them 30 yards for a game-sealing touchdown.
Kirkpatrick, a 2012 first-round draft pick out of Alabama, sat down to talk about his long dry spell and the satisfaction attached to intercepting a legend for this week’s Bengals High 5.
Q: There’s obviously more that goes into being a good cornerback than just interceptions, but given that it had been a long time since you picked one off, were you starting to wonder when the next one was going to come?
A: A little bit. I think I was cursed by the interception god. But for the most part I stopped worrying about. I wanted to just play and I knew they would come if I just played my game.
Q: When you look at it, you picked off Ben Roethlisberger last week and the two before that were against Peyton Manning, so you’re last three have been against future Hall of Famers. Does it mean more to you to victimize guys like that?
A: It does. I told a friend of mine I would give them my next interception ball, but when it came off Ben, that changed my thought process. At the end of the day, he’s a great quarterback and a future Hall of Famer. I’m keeping that ball.
Q: Speaking of facing a future Hall of Famer, what is the bigger challenge, playing against a great quarterback with inexperienced wide receivers or going against an inexperienced quarterback throwing to great receivers?
A: If you’re speaking about the Denver Broncos, they have a young quarterback but he’s so poised. They’re doing a great job of play calling and giving him the right reads to throw the ball. He’s got two Pro Bowlers at receiver out there, so it kind of helps him out a little bit because those guys are veterans and have been there before. We’ve still got to go out there and defend him because at the end of the day he’s shown that he can win games for them. We still have to go out there with the mentality that this guy can beat us.
Q: You read my route to a Trevor Siemian question. When you’re going against an inexperienced guy like that, does your approach change at all?
A: No, not me. I still look at film the way I always have, see what they like to do, see where the ball is going, see the route combinations, making sure I’m on one card with my safeties. Nothing changes. I don’t think any of the process changes about how we go about this week.
Q: A big trend in the league is swap jerseys after a game. Is that something you do and is there one you value more than the others?
A: I have before but for the most part I go straight back to the locker room. At the end of the day, I did my job, I’m ready to get back in the locker room and chill with my teammates. The one I have that means the most is (New Orleans defensive tackle) Nick Fairley’s. He’s one of my closest friends in the NFL. Obviously we were rivals when he was at Auburn, but we’ve become close friends. We have the same agent.