The last time the Cincinnati Bengals played the Green Bay Packers, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive with a hamstring injury, making it one of two games he missed during the 2013 season.
The chance to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers only comes around once every four years for the Bengals, so Kirkpatrick is relishing the idea of testing himself against the future Hall of Famer.
Kirkpatrick talked about the opportunity, and his team’s 0-2 start, for this week’s Bengals High 5:
Q: Did you guys approach last weekend any differently after the Thursday game?
A: Some guys may have. I go into every game the same. I don't care if it's a championship game. I have the same energy. We had a couple days off. Saturday I got up and got on my iPad and started breaking down the film early. So at the end of the day, it's just something I normally do. It's not nothing I feel we should get all rattled up about. Just go out there and play our game and we'll be all right.
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Q: Even though it's the other side of the ball, does that feeling of a reset or fresh start that comes with the change to Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator have a ripple effect on the defense?
A: I mean that's a sticky situation. You don't know what to expect. You don't. But we feel great about the guy we have in charge now. He's been with us two years now. We know him. And he knows Andy (Dalton) better than anybody because he spends most of his day with Andy. We're behind those guys. We're all professionals. We looked each other in the eyes and we're going to go out there and show the world. It's nothing that we can talk about. I can't speak it into existence. We've got to go out there and actually do it. We're going to rally around each other, not rally around the offense, we're going to rally around each other.
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Q: At 0-2, where is this team mentally?
A: We're good. I know I kind of made a comment (saying "We suck" after the loss to Houston) that a lot of people have tried to take and run with it, but at the end of the day we needed a self check. We needed to be brought into the light. We're just letting everybody know that we ain't running from it. We embrace it. We're embracing the challenge that's in front of us. I feel like we just have to go out there and show what we can do. No magic. No special things going on over there. Things just have to start clicking. I feel like we have a lot of great football left ahead of us.
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Q: Get a little more hyped up to play against a guy like Aaron Rodgers?
A: Oh, yes. I started looking stuff up on him. I always try to motivate myself once a week. I don't know if he's ever given up a pick-6 (he's allowed one). So that's a challenge. That's something that I want to strive for. I know he's a smart player and he's a great player, but that's the mindset. I want to go out there and see the little things that I can achieve that haven't been achieved. I call them money balls. You catch one of those, that's just a feeling that can't be explained. For one, he's going to go down as one of the greatest, a for sure first ballot Hall of Famer. For me to even be out there with him is a blessing.
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Q: Is a stadium a stadium, or do you think it's going to be different playing at Lambeau Field?
A: I ain't never been. It's going to be special. This is a team when you look at all the great highlight films or you turn the TV on NFL Network, you might catch an old Green Bay game. You know there's a lot of tradition. Their fan base is crazy. I was in the (Atlanta) airport (Sunday) and it was crazy. They were everywhere. Going out there playing in that stadium is going to be exciting. This is one of the stadiums I always wanted to play in.
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