Patriots

Josh Norman has a hot take about Bills' chances vs. Patriots in AFC East

Josh Norman has a hot take about Bills' chances vs. Patriots in AFC East

This may shock you, but Josh Norman does not share his head coach's restraint.

Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott recently insisted the New England Patriots still are the AFC East favorites in 2020 despite losing quarterback Tom Brady to free agency.

But when Norman was asked to share the outlook of the club he joined in free agency this March, he was considerably more bullish on the Bills.

In fact, the veteran cornerback would have been confident in Buffalo's chances to win the East even if Brady was still in New England.

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"With or without him being there, we was going to be a force to be reckoned with,” Norman told TMZ Sports. "Coming in, I know the philosophy of the head coach and the GM already. Mindset-wise, it didn’t matter who was at the quarterback position for the opposing team. It was just going to be about us and not nobody else.

"That’s what I think the mindset going into this year is all about: Separating yourself from the pack. Going out there and doing your thing, worrying about you, and don’t concern yourself with anybody else."

We'll just remind Norman that Buffalo beat New England four times total during the Brady era and lost to the Patriots twice last season despite going 10-6.

Either way, ex-Bills coach Rex Ryan would be proud of the outspoken cornerback.

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Norman does have reason to be confident: The Bills added himself and talented wide receiver Stefon Diggs to an improving club that recorded its best regular season since 1999 and boasted the NFL's second-best scoring defense in 2019.

The Patriots, meanwhile, are expected to roll out 23-year-old Jarrett Stidham at quarterback and failed to win the division the last time Brady wasn't their starting QB (2008).

Then again, New England has won 11 straight AFC East titles and still employs the greatest head coach of all time in Bill Belichick. The Patriots are also still the current favorites to win the AFC East at DraftKings Sportsbook, which could be a warning sign for those predicting their demise.

Apparently Norman is among them.

Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

The New England Patriots added even more depth to an elite group of cornerbacks Sunday by acquiring Michael Jackson in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

Jackson, who's listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2019. The Detroit Lions signed him off the Cowboys practice squad last season and he played in one game for the NFC North team.

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Here's an updated look at the Patriots' cornerback depth chart with Jackson in the fold:

--Stephon Gilmore
--Jason McCourty
--J.C. Jackson
--Jonathan Jones
--Joejuan Williams
--Michael Jackson
--Myles Bryant
--D’Angelo Ross

It should be noted that Justin Bethel is listed at cornerback, but most of his snaps come on special teams. 

A strong case could be made that cornerback is the deepest position on the Patriots roster. The group is led by Stephon Gilmore, who became the first Patriot ever to win the AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019. Gilmore is the league's best cornerback and has earned first team All-Pro selections in back-to-back seasons. 

He's not the only talented cornerback in the Patriots secondary, though. 

J.C. Jackson excelled in coverage last season, too, especially on passes beyond 20 yards. In fact, Jackson had the lowest passer rating allowed when targeted of all cornerbacks in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus.

One of the most intriguing players in the Patriots secondary is second-year cornerback Joejuan Williams. He was a second-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2019 but saw limited playing time as a rookie.

The depth of the Patriots defense has been hit hard in recent months due to free agent departures and veterans opting out of the 2020 season amid concerns over COVID-19. One position that has remained largely intact is cornerback, and barring any significant injuries, it could be the team's most productive position this coming season.

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

The New England Patriots have added another cornerback to their depth chart.

On Sunday, they announced they've acquired Michael Jackson from the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed 2022 draft pick.


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Jackson was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft (158th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys out of Miami. He started his rookie season on Dallas' practice squad before being signed by Detroit.

The 23-year-old played in only one game last season for the Lions.

Jackson joins a Patriots cornerback group that currently consists of Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, D'Angelo Ross, Justin Bethel, and Myles Bryant.