EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Joe Judge deviated from his norm today and spoke at length about a player who is not yet eligible to participate in a Giants practice.
But Logan Ryan is no ordinary player.
Judge and the Giants' newest acquisition were together in New England for the first four years of Ryan's career after the Patriots selected him in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The eight-year pro is a talented, versatile and experienced defensive back who will upgrade the Giants' secondary the instant he steps on the field.
Though Ryan agreed to contract terms yesterday, that moment will have to wait until Ryan fulfills his testing obligations mandated by the NFL's COVID-19 protocol.
"With the protocols in place, we won't see him before Thursday (when the Giants will hold their second scrimmage in MetLife Stadium)," Judge said.
Judge knows exactly what he'll be getting when Ryan does begin practicing.
"I think Logan's a guy who comes to work every day with the right demeanor," Judge said today. "He's a smart guy that plays tough on the field. He's a player that I noticed through my time with him and then also my time away competing against him that he's a guy that really improves from year to year. He really works on his craft. He's not just a guy who's out there kind of 'this is what I am.' He's always looking to work on maybe something that hurt him the year before and he's looking to always go ahead and improve on his strengths.
"Look, he brings a lot of versatility. He's a smart, tough football player. We're glad to have him. We have a lot of guys in the defensive backfield make a lot of improvements every day. It'll be good to get him in the mix with all of those guys."
When asked if Ryan will be a corner or safety, Judge again stressed the player's flexibility.
"He's going to play a variety of roles for us, so if I gave you one answer right there, I'd be lying," Judge said. "Logan, one of his strengths really is versatility. We're going to play him in different packages all over the field. Really, having a guy like that allows you to play other guys in fewer positions because he can handle a lot of the multiples while these guys are learning the system."
Ryan has an impressive resume. In 109 regular season games, including 85 starts, he has 522 tackles (374 solo), 17 interceptions and 11.0 sacks. Ryan also has 89 tackles (70 solo), 1.0 sack and two interceptions in 15 postseason games, including two Super Bowl victories.
In 2019, Ryan started all 19 games for the Tennessee Titans and led the team in tackles in both the regular season (when he had career-high totals of 113 stops, 4.5 sacks, plus four interceptions) and the postseason 25 tackles (18 solo) and added one pick.
At 29, Ryan is the Giants' second-oldest defensive back after 31-year-old Nate Ebner, who was also on those Patriots teams and plays almost exclusively on special teams.
"To me, it's valuable to bring in good football players, no matter what age they are," Judge said. "I've referenced before, it doesn't matter what year you are in the league. If you're a good player, you'll help us. It's our job as coaches to make sure everyone knows how to play, what their responsibilities are, and make sure they know what the expectations and the culture are. We're excited to have Logan on his way."
The two men have previously shared success. The Patriots won the AFC East title in each of their four seasons they were together in New England and defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX and Atlanta in Super Bowl LI. Ryan played every game during that time and intercepted 13 passes, including a career-high five as a rookie.
"I have a ton of memories with Logan," Judge said. "It was only my second year in the league when we drafted Logan. We kind of learned a lot of stuff together, to be honest with you. As you get working, I was working with him as a gunner, a vice player and a core special teamer for us, and obviously, he was growing within his defensive role.
"I think the thing that stands out to me the most about Logan is the improvement I watched him make from year one to year two. The thing you noticed was he was a guy when the season was over, he hung behind. He wasn't in a hurry to get out of there. Him and Duron Harmon were actually two Rutgers teammates. They hung around the building the entire offseason and you could physically see the transformation in their bodies. You could see the work and evidence in how they changed how they looked, and it transferred over on to the field in how they played."
And beginning next week, the Giants will be the beneficiaries of that dedication.