No team wants to be the first to play Tom Brady in Gillette Stadium this season, in front of his home Patriots fans, but someone has to do it, and it's a Bengals team hoping to get a signature win. “It's still early, but the time is running. We've got ...and more »
No team wants to be the first to play Tom Brady in Gillette Stadium this season, in front of his home Patriots fans, but someone has to do it, and it’s a Bengals team hoping to get a signature win.“It's still early, but the time is running. We've got to get back on track,” cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick told PFW. “… It would be very big for us if we go out there and get a win.”
Kirkpatrick, who has four passes defensed and an interception this season while starting the first four games, called Brady “one of the best quarterbacks in the game” and described the challenges in facing the Patriots’ future Hall of Famer.“He gets the ball out of his hands quick,” Kirkpatrick said. “He's not going to sit around and hold the ball and pat the ball, he's going to get the ball out on his first read.”For the corners, the key is being physical with Brady’s receivers and doing anything to get the Pats’ offense, which rolled up 501 yards in Brady’s return last week, out of its rhythm.“Just play tighter, because we know he has the arm strength to squeeze balls in in any hole that he sees,” Kirkpatrick said. “You have to play a little bit tighter and get your hands on the guy early in the down.
“… Brady gets the ball out of his hands so quick, you don't want to play so soft and a guy ran under and gets a 3-yard hitch or a 5-yard hitch and they turn it into a 15-yard catch-run, so you want to be on top of your guys early in the down.”Kirkpatrick was just a special-teams contributor in 2013 when the Bengals held Brady to a 52.2 passer rating, one of the lowest of his career, but he remembered when the Patriots “blew us out up there” the next season, when the Pats went on to win the Super Bowl and beat Cincinnati 43-17.Brady still has Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman from that team, then add in Martellus Bennett and Danny Amendola for the Bengals’ secondary to try to slow down.
“We know they're going to have them in motion, they're going to try to get them to free up and get [Edelman] out in space,” Kirkpatrick said. “For the most part, you have to play disciplined with your technique. This is a week we really have to rely on our technique. Don't overthink things, don't go out there try to create things. Play within the defense and the rest will take care of itself."For a 2-3 Bengals team, it’s going to be a hostile environment and incredibly difficult place to win. Kirkpatrick said at that point, there’s a mental aspect to tuning out the noise — a Patriots mantra — and staying within the game plan.“We know the crowd is going to be very hostile. We know it's going to be very loud in there. They're going to be excited, they're getting their quarterback back,” he said. “I’ve just got to go out there and play my game, try to go through my assignments in my head and try to figure out what's going on because at the end of the day, you don't want to get too started up where you blow too much energy early on and go out there and have a miscommunicated play or a blown coverage. I try to tone it down, let the game come to me.”Visit ProFootballWeekly.com | View Latest E-Edition
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