The Bengals have lost cornerback Leon Hall for the season. The Cincinnati star injured his Achilles last week against the Lions. That means the defensive backfield will have a new look against the Jets. It likely means increased playing time for Dre Kirkpatrick.
For various reasons, including injuries, the 2012 first round pick has sparingly seen the field in his young career. Hall's injury will get him thrown into the fire. That makes me wonder whether the Jets are going to make it a point to test him out. The win against Buffalo was mainly about the Jets absolutely torching cornerback Justin Rogers. It seemed like they were intentionally looking to attack him to see how he held up, and they gained around 250 yards through the air on him.
Make no mistake. Kirkpatrick is not Rogers. He was a highly touted first round pick. It is very unlikely the Jets will have the same degree of success against him. They might, however, look to exploit the inexperienced cornerback the way opponents have with Kirkpatrick's college teammate, Dee Milliner. It seems worth making an effort to test out whether Kirkpatrick has been able to put the pieces together and look like he can handle an NFL workload. There are likely to be hiccups with any young player at a trying position.
I'm going to have my eye on Kirkpatrick and to what extent the Jets look to attack him. If he holds up, the Bengals should have a leg up on victory. The Jets should put as much pressure on him as they can, however, because he might be something of a weak link.