But that doesn’t mean the Bengals coaching staff isn’t floating the idea of Kirk at safety, especially if Chris Crocker were to go down with an injury.
“Early on in the season we were training him as a safety in practice,” Lewis said. “As an emergency safety in practice, but as a corner and he’s learned to play the nickel spot and all of the variations we have in there, which he’s done a very good job of when Chris was out. He’s got to keep doing that because obviously there’s a lot of comfort with Chris having been in the scheme for so long and being so smart as a veteran player. Dre’s got a lot of those things to overcome. It’s nothing to do with ability. It’s just time on task.”
With Crocker getting a lot of snaps at both cornerback and safety in a backup role, it appears that Kirkpatrick would take-on that “Swiss Army Knife” role that Crocker, as well as Taylor Mays played before he was lost for the year.
Mike Zimmer love defenders who are versatile, and defensive backs who can play safety and corner are a huge plus in his system. And it’s typically more difficult to make these kinds of hits at cornerback:
Those are the kinds of hits Kirkpatrick can make more of if he’s getting some occasional snaps at safety. It’s obvious that his coverage skills are still a work in progress, so it would behoove the staff to utilize his physicality better, and they may be doing just that.
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