Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson (13) pushes off New York Jets strong safety Yeremiah Bell (37).
Tim Tebow is a New England Patriot no more.
The Patriots parted ways with the third-string quarterback over the weekend, and hopefully this is the last time we mention his name until he actually does something on the football field. But in a Tebow-less world, the sun still rises and that means in just a few days, New England will face Buffalo in the season opener.
It's still unclear who will start at quarterback for the Bills. Rookie first-rounder E.J. Manuel has returned to practice after suffering a knee injury during training camp, but if he can't go, undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel would get the nod. It's a tall task for either player, but Bills' standout wide receiver Stevie Johnson sounds unconcerned. And not just about who will be throwing him the ball, but what the Pats will (or, specifically, won't) do after he does.
"Because I'm here," Johnson said, via ESPNBoston.com. "I don't think [the Patriots] have anybody to stop me. For real. I think we have guys in the receiver room that are as good as I am, if not better. I just have that confidence in my teammates and in myself."
Johnson has yet to play against Patriots' cornerback Aqib Talib, who he describes as "long, athletic, (and) tries to play with vision," and noted that safety Devin McCourty is "a Pro Bowler." Then the conversation turned to safety Patrick Chung.
"I got a lot of respect for Chung," Johnson said. "I know him personally."
Too bad Chung didn't give Johnson his updated contact information; the Patriots didn't re-sign Chung in the offseason and he signed with the Eagles. New England's other safety is Steve Gregory.
Either way, Johnson knows that the Bills face long odds. The team is 3-23 against the Pats since 2000.
"I give a lot of credit to the Patriots. They play as one unit. ... They're aggressive. It's going to be a test. It's going to be a challenge," he said. "But I still think we can take advantage of their defense. ... I'll still ride with my boys over their guys. ...
"We know the story with these Patriots," Johnson added. "We just have to stay on top of them."