The Bengals made some pretty big changes to their coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball this offseason.
Former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has moved on to Oakland, which left the space for the Bengals new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin to walk in. He has also sprinkled in some new positional coaches with him.
That is something that has the Bengals’ longest tenured cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick excited.
The change Kirkpatrick is most seemingly excited about is the addition of Daronte Jones as cornerbacks coach. A big reason why, according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, is because he comes from the Vance Joseph coaching tree.
“(Vance) was a player’s coach and I feel like at this level we have to have somebody relatable,” Kirkpatrick told Hobson. “I’ll always miss Vance.”
Joseph has since moved on to become the head coach for the Broncos, but Kirkpatrick did have one of his best years under Joseph. The 2015 season Kirkpatrick had 16 passes defended in his first year as a full-time starter. His career has been fairly inconsistent since.
Last year, he was called for a number of penalties caused by him getting handsy with receivers, and while Kirkpatrick can’t really talk football specifics with his new coaches until Monday when offseason workouts begin, he loves the energy that Jones brings to Cincinnati.
“I haven’t been coached by him yet, but he’s saying all the right things to me,” Kirkpatrick said of Jones. “Just the way he moves, his character, and how he presents himself are first class. He’s somebody I feel like can take my game to the next level and I can grow with him... I want him to coach me like a rookie. From talking to him that’s where we’re going to be.”
This is great to hear from the Bengals’ 28-year-old corner. With William Jackson and Darqueze Dennard set to log major playing time next season, it will be good to have the team’s leading corner buy in so aggressively to the changes that are coming. It also seems the changes that Austin will be bringing could add some wind to his sails.
“I’m calling him ‘T.A., trying to get his philosophy of the things he wants done around here,” Kirkpatrick said of Austin. “We talked a little ball, but I don’t really know the magnitude of how different it’s going to be. We’re taking orders from a different perspective. I’m just excited. When you’ve been so used to one thing, you get accustomed it. I just feel like change is always better … Change is good. Coming in with new coaches and seeing what they’re going to present us, I feel like it’s going to be beneficial to all of us.”
You see it all the times with players after changing teams or coaches that they will have amazing years. Change is such a motivating force for these players. Another thing helping Kirkpatrick is that he’s healthy and ready to go this offseason after dealing with numerous injuries last year and throughout his NFL career. Now, he’s healthy and ready to go with a new coordinator and position coach.
Concepts and voices can get stale after the amount of time Kirkpatdick has been with the Bengals. It is understandable just how excited the former Alabama playmaker is to finally get out there and do something new instead of just talk about it.
“Let’s do it. I’m tired of slogans,” Kirkpatrick said. “Everybody trying to come up with motivation stuff. Just do it. Just go out here. Play your butt off. Everything else will take care of itself. I’m really not going to buy into the slogans and all that this year. I just want to do my best and perform.”