FOXBORO, Mass. — Logan Ryan is easy to spot at Patriots training camp because he’s one of just two New England defenders wearing the red non-contact jerseys usually saved for quarterbacks.
Ryan came out on the first day of training camp wearing the “precautionary” (his words) jersey after missing all organized teams activities and minicamp sessions open to the media because of an undisclosed ailment (he dealt with a shoulder injury early last season). The cornerback said the jersey isn’t holding him back, and he seems to be a full participant in all team drills.
“I’m feeling pretty good, feeling pretty good,” Ryan said Thursday. “I’m mostly just trying to build on each day and try to get out here and run around with the guys and do something special.”
Ryan has gotten his hand on the football six times already in seven practices — tops among Patriots defenders. He has four pass breakups and two interceptions, which isn’t overly surprising since he’s known for his ball skills. He recorded four interceptions and 14 pass breakups last season.
Ryan had a breakout season in 2015, starting 14 regular-season games and allowing just a 69.1 passer rating against. New England’s entire starting secondary from last season, including cornerback Malcolm Butler and safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, plus top reserves Duron Harmon, Justin Coleman and Jordan Richards, are back in 2016, and that continuity could further strengthen a Patriots defense that finished top 10 in both yards and points against in 2015.
“Our expectations are always high here,” Ryan said. “I don’t think we even think about top 10 or anything like that. We just think about what it takes to win, and that’s something we’re trying to do, and that’s something that starts in training camp, and I’m excited to continue to build on these days before other competition comes in here.”
It helps that Ryan is very familiar with his fellow Patriots defensive backs, including former college teammates Harmon and McCourty.
“These are friends on and off the field,” Ryan said. “These are guys I’m familiar with, but it’s a lot of new guys, too, that we’re embracing. Honestly, it’s a good group, and we’re just having a lot of fun together, and I think everyone’s pushing each other to be better.
” … I think it’s knowing how to motivate each other and get each other going in good ways and bad ways, keeping it light when we need to. Being around these guys, these guys are like friends that will be at my daughter’s birthday party coming up and stuff like that. It’s just a lot of fun when you like who you work with, and I think we all like who we work with right now.”
Ryan is one of many Patriots defenders in the last year of his contract, joining linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins, pass rusher Jabaal Sheard and Butler. But Ryan says he has too much going on to worry about that.
“I’ve got a lot ahead of me in training camp right now and a lot of stuff I want to work on personally,” Ryan said. “My fiancée’s planning my daughter’s birthday party, which got out of control, so I’m dealing with that, too. That’s a lot on my plate.”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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