Toting a ball, Dre Kirkpatrick vows not to drop another pick

William Jackson (22) gives some encouragement to fellow CB Dre Kirkpatrick. Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire

CINCINNATI -- Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick believes he should have at least two interceptions this year. To him, the zero in that column is no laughing matter.

That's why he was seen carrying a football around the facility in a story posted to his Instagram page on Tuesday, which is normally known as the players' day off.

"When you're going to drop two picks, when you should be leading the league, this is how you're gonna walk out," Kirkpatrick said in the video. "They made me walk out with the ball."

Kirkpatrick said on Wednesday that it was a teammate's idea. He didn't have the football with him after practice, but he said that he stayed later just to work on catching passes.

It might be unusual to focus so much on the missed plays when the team is undefeated, but it's clear just how seriously the team is taking that ability this year. The Bengals have five takeaways (three interceptions and two fumble recoveries), and they're spread out among five players.

Shawn Williams, Jessie Bates and Preston Brown have one interception each. Williams and Clayton Fejedelem each have a forced fumble, and Fejedelem and Jordan Willis have fumble recoveries. What's more important is that Williams and Fejedelem forced those fumbles in critical moments during the fourth quarters of games against the Ravens and Colts that allowed the Bengals to seal the wins.

"I've got to make those balls," Kirkpatrick said. "[The passes] touched my gloves, hit me dead in the hands. There's no way I should've dropped those balls. But it happens. ... I went home this week and [my dad and I] prayed over it. Hopefully God is going to answer that prayer and I can catch one this week."

Although Kirkpatrick was joyful in the locker room after the 2-0 start and win against the Ravens, he has taken on a more serious tone overall. He said last Thursday that he started to realize that he was a player young guys might look up to, and he takes that seriously.

“We’re young, but we’ve still got veteran guys. I’m 28, and I’m the oldest in the room, but I’m a veteran. I’ve been here seven years. And the young guys are believing," he said. "I’ve got to admit, I used to be inconsistent, being a little selfish. But you’ve got to grow up — you’ve got young guys that are watching. They’re looking, and I don’t want to give off the wrong message if I talk back to a coach, or if I do something else. We don’t need that around here no more. It’s not around here no more. It’s a great feeling.”