Logan Ryan could play anywhere in dream Giants fit
First things first. If you are interested in what exact role Logan Ryan will fill with the Giants you need to wait, and then watch.
No one is going to tell you.
“Where I line up from week-to-week will definitely be a ‘G5 classified team-first, Joe Judge will tell you later’ type answer,’’ Ryan said Monday.
There might not be any perfect matches but this one comes close. The pairing of the Giants and Ryan made complete sense many months ago and finally came to be last week when the eight-year veteran defensive back signed a one-year contract worth up to $7.5 million. Given where Ryan is from, what he can do on the football field, who he knows in key positions of authority around the building and what this team needs, this union should be satisfying for all concerned.
“I truly believe this place believed in me more in free agency than any other team out there,’’ Ryan said. “For Joe Judge, for [general manager Dave] Gettleman, for [defensive coordinator] Pat Graham, I’m gonna give it my all.
“I told Joe when I signed up, ‘I’m gonna come in, I’m gonna do whatever you need me to do, whatever position that may be.’ Whether that requires leadership or practicing every play or taking every snap, I’m willing to do that for this team, this city, this place where I’m from. I’m thankful for the opportunity.’’
Ryan, wearing No. 23 instead of the No. 26 jersey he wore with the Patriots and Titans, was on the field for the first time with his new team and teammates, back in his old New Jersey stomping grounds as someone who played his high school ball at Eastern Regional in Voorhees and his college ball at Rutgers. He could be a godsend in the defensive backfield as a safety — he is listed as the backup to Julian Love on the first unofficial depth chart — at slot corner and perhaps at outside corner. He has played all three spots in his career. The starting corner opposite James Bradberry is listed as Corey Ballentine and that spot is an area of great need.
Could Ryan move in there if asked to do so?
“I’m prepared,” he said. “I played outside corner a lot of years in this league. I started as an outside corner in a Super Bowl before. So I have experience at it. I played outside corner at Rutgers for four years right down the road. If the team asks me to play that, I’ll definitely do that.’’
If there are any signs Ryan, 29, is slowing down they are difficult to detect. He started all 19 games last season for the Titans, who made it all the way to the AFC Championship game, led the team in 113 tackles and was second on the team with four interceptions. He played 99 percent of the defensive snaps in the regular season.
Judge, without offering specifics, did not hide his intention for Ryan.
“We’re going to play him in different packages all over the field,’’ Judge said.
This means Ryan could have a different role every week.
“Honestly, this is a matchup league,’’ Ryan said. “This isn’t 1980s football where you go out there and you got four positions, two safeties and two corners. I think the game is evolving a little bit and the more position flexibility you have gives you the ability to do more stuff on defense.’’
Judge embarked on his NFL career with the Patriots in 2012 and Ryan arrived a year later; the two spent four years together in New England. Graham was there for three of those years. Without these past relationships, Ryan may have landed elsewhere.
“The Giants were not the only team interested,’’ Ryan said. “Having that conversation [with Judge] on the phone definitely steered it. Pat Graham as well. We talked a lot about what I can bring and how they believe in me. One hundred percent it had a huge swing in things.’’
Without the benefit of a single rep in training camp, Ryan is behind. As he waited out his COVID-19 testing and was kept away from team, he said he “begged for an iPad’’ so he could get started relearning a system he played previously with the Patriots.
“I’ve been studying film about 20 hours a day, a variety of positions,’’ Ryan said. “My wife and kids are back home in Nashville and I’m up here by myself, got nothing to do but watch a ton of film and start preparing for the Steelers. A lack of film won’t be an issue for me.’’
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