Mike Zimmer: Injuries have humbled CB Dre Kirkpatrick

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is off to a solid start in training camp. And Mike Zimmer believes that if there's any positive to take from his injuries in 2012, it's that he's "finally woke up".

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is already having a solid training camp. He continuing the effort with a nice pass breakup on a deep pass to Ryan Whalen during Saturday's practice. But his most impressive play may have come during Thursday's session. Kirkpatrick ran stride-for-stride with A.J. Green, nudging on him as the second-year corner broke up an underthrown pass by Andy Dalton.

It was arguably the best moment in a career that began with an injured knee, 11 games missed and residency on Injured Reserve list during his rookie season. According to several observers, Kirkpatrick has shown a lot of speed and quickness in camp; though a little rust on technique (which is what training camp is for).

In truth, he's doing what he was drafted to do.

Selected No. 17 overall during the 2012 NFL draft, Kirkpatrick suffered a knee injury that summer which held him out for all but five games. A concussion, compounded by the resumption of his knee issues, capped a year that many of us have defined as a red-shirt season.

And with that experience, writes Joe Kay with the Associated Press, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer believes has "tempered the swagger."

"He's another one of those guys who when he came in here, he thought the world revolved around him a little bit," defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said. "I think he's finally woke up and said if we don't do it the way they want it done, if we don't understand that this is how it's going to be, they're not going to play.

"I think he's come a long way, too, from what I can tell. We'll see what he does on the field. And he might be a little bit rusty to start out with. But you can never have too many good corners. Those guys are like, they're brittle."

Kirkpatrick played with the second-team defense, opposite Adam Jones on Saturday. Save for the possibility of injuries, it'll be difficult for the second-year player to surpass starter Terence Newman or Adam Jones, who played 626 snaps on defense last season.

On the other hand, having Kirkpatrick is like having another first-round draft pick and as Mike Zimmer says, you can never have too many cornerbacks.

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