J.C. Jackson “embracing the challenge” of being Patriots’ top corner

The Patriots will kick off the 2021 season against the Dolphins on Sunday, but cornerback Stephon Gilmore won’t be part of the action.

Gilmore remained on the physically unable to perform list through last week’s cut to 53 players and he will miss at least six weeks of the regular season as a result of that decision. That pushes the remaining corners up a rung on the depth chart and J.C. Jackson is now the No. 1 player on that list after playing alongside Gilmore in the past.

Jackson heads into the season firm in the belief that he’s the right man for the job.

“I’m ready,” Jackson said, via Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal. “I’m embracing the challenge, man. I love it. I’m ready. I prepared for it all offseason, all training camp. We’ll see.”

Gilmore’s desire for a new contract never resulted in a deal and it’s unclear if he’ll be back at any point this season. A strong start for Jackson will make that a less pressing question in New England.