EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Logan Ryan's wife and two children are in Nashville, where he played the last three seasons for the Tennessee Titans. After agreeing to contract terms last week with the Giants, Ryan returned to New Jersey, his native state. Soon after his arrival, he went to see his mother, who lives about an hour south of MetLife Stadium. But the visit was briefer than he anticipated. "She's scared to death of the sun right now because of COVID," Ryan said today. "I got to see her for a half hour."
After that, he said, it was "right back to the film."
With his family far away, a defense to learn and new teammates to become familiar with, the eight-year defensive back has immersed himself in football.
"With COVID testing and all that, I begged for an iPad, they gave me one," Ryan said today. "I've been studying film about 20 hours a day, a variety of positions. … I'm up here by myself. I have nothing to do but watch a ton of film and start preparing for the Steelers (whom the Giants face in their season opener next Monday night). Lack of film won't be an issue for me. I'm going to do everything I can preparation wise.
"Luckily, I have played for Pat Graham, I've played for Joe Judge before (when they were together with the New England Patriots). It's a system that I'm familiar with. I played in the system before in my career, so I think that helped me a little bit with the terminology and things of that nature."
Ryan brings to the Giants skill, experience and versatility. The latter is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that he is listed as a second-team safety on the team's initial depth chart. In one respect that's not surprising, because Ryan has played numerous positions. But every one of his 95 NFL regular-season and postseason starts has been at cornerback for as an extra defensive back.
"I think the evolution is to be a DB and study all the positions and the arts of it," Ryan said. "I played perimeter corner a lot in my career and obviously played the slot position, safety. It's a part of my game and whatever the team needs me to do from week to week. I think it gives us great versatility with myself, Jabrill Peppers. Julian Love is a former corner playing safety. I think that gives us position flexibility. Honestly, this is a matchup league. This isn't 1980's football where you go out there and you have four positions, you run a four-three which is two safeties and two corners. I think the game is evolving a little bit and I think the more positions flexibility you have, I think it gives you the ability to do more stuff on defense.
"I'm 100 percent prepared to and learning all the positions for sure. Where I line up from week to week will definitely be G-5 classified, team first, Joe Judge will tell you later type of answer. I'm prepared, I played outside corner a lot of years in this league. I started at outside corner in the Super Bowl before. I've had experience at it, I played outside corner at Rutgers for four years right down the road, so I definitely have experience at the position for sure. If the team asked me to play that, I'll definitely do that."
When he was first on the open market in 2017, Ryan signed with the Titans on March 10, one day after he became a free agent. This year, he agreed to terms on Aug. 31 and signed his Giants contract on Sept. 4.
"The last five months have been, 2020 – it's been that for me, it's been that for everybody," Ryan said. "It's been a crazy year, you never know where you will end up, you never know how it's going to go. Coming home was definitely something that I always thought about. Joe Judge, playing for him and the familiarity with him and Pat Graham like I said, was definitely a huge swing in that favor. COVID gave me a ton of perspective. Like everybody, you're not at work, you get to stay home a little more. I obviously haven't been working for five months, it was … my two kids. Their used to having daddy. I'm the Phys Ed teacher, at my daughter's kindergarten class. I do science, I do art and I do Phys. Ed and my wife does the other stuff. We just play all day.
"I really enjoyed being home with my family, enjoyed that time. Obviously, been a grinder in this league for a lot of years. Going into my eighth year here, I've played for some tough coaches, tough programs, played in a lot of big games. It was good to have that little mental break. I've been preparing the whole time. I put myself through my own training camp with no cameras on me. Being able to come home and play 20 minutes from Rutgers and an hour from where I grew up, it's a dream come true. I'm so grateful for the opportunity, honestly."
"I truly believe that this place believed in me more in free agency than any other team out there. For that, for Joe Judge, for (Dave) Gettleman, for Pat Graham, I'm going to give it my all. I told Joe when I signed up, I'm going to come in, I'm going to 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 the team and for this city, because this is where I'm from. This is what I represent. I'm thankful for the opportunity, and I'm trying to show that in every single practice right now."
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.
*Ryan is wearing jersey number 23. In New England and Tennessee he wore No. 26, which on the Giants belongs to running back Saquon Barkley. But Ryan is very happy with his new number, in part because a certain basketball superstar wore it.
"I chose 23 because the number was available," Ryan said. "I wasn't here to take anyone's number, I wasn't here to buy the number off anybody. I don't have time for that. I had time to come in and fit in with the team. I took 23 because it was available to me and also because I liked watching "The Last Dance." Michael Jordan worked really hard and inspired me with his preparation every single day in practice.
"Of course, everybody wants to be Michael Jordan and play like Michael Jordan I don't have the skill level of Michael Jordan. But to prepare every day with that intensity every day is why I chose it. .and it was available.
"Saquon comes to me and asks, 'Why didn't you ask for 26?' I said, 'I didn't know it was available.' He said, 'It's available for a price.' I said, 'I think it's probably out of my price range.' I don't think I have a contract sizeable to pay Nike to get 26 from Saquon Barkley. He has it right now. But he did say it's up for negotiation. So, maybe a GoFundMe or something like that can raise the (money) to go buy it."
*The Giants unveiled their initial depth chart late this afternoon and most of the information contained therein was anticipated.
The first-team offense includes 12 players - quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley, wide receivers Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and Darius Slayton, tight end Evan Engram, fullback Eli Penny and an offensive line from left to right of rookie Andrew Thomas, Will Hernandez, Nick Gates, Kevin Zeitler and Cameron Fleming.
Those listed on the front line defense include defensive tackle Leonard Williams, end Dexter Lawrence, and nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, four linebackers – Blake Martinez (middle), Lorenzo Carter (strongside), Devante Downs (weakside) and Oshane Ximines (outside). The secondary includes cornerbacks James Bradberry (left) and Corey Ballentine (right) and safeties Jabrill Peppers (strong) and Julian Love (free).
Graham Gano is the kicker, Riley Dixon the punter and holder Casey Kreiter the snapper. Rookie Darnay Holmes is the kickoff returner and Tate the punt returner.
The second-team offense includes quarterback Colt McCoy, running back Dion Lewis, wide receivers C.J. Board, and Damion Ratley, tight end Kaden Smith and linemen Jackson Barton, Shane Lemieux (at both guard spots), Spencer Pulley and Matt Peart.
Defensively, B.J. Hill, RJ McIntosh and Austin Johnson are up front, the linebackers are Markus Golden, Tae Crowder, TJ Brunson and Kyler Fackrell, the cornerbacks are Holmes on the left side and Isaac Yiadom on the right and the safeties are Nate Ebner (strong) and Ryan (free).
Slayton (kickoff) and Peppers (punts) are listed as the backup returners.
*The three players who joined the Giants yesterday off waivers –Ratley, Barton and Colbert – were in quarantine today and did not practice. Joe Judge said they will undergo physicals tomorrow. "We should have everybody out there Wednesday with us," Judge said.
*Safety Sean Chandler was added to the Giants' practice squad today, one day after he was released by the team. In the last two seasons, Chandler played in 29 games and totaled 20 tackles (15 solo), 1.0 sack, one passes defensed and two fumble recoveries on defense and five special teams tackles.