Logan Ryan made his first appearance on the practice field for the Giants on Monday. It was a shake-off-the-rust half-speed workout following a few days off, so there was little to discern from the movements of one of the newest members of the team.
But Monday also marked the first time Ryan was listed on the team’s roster, and there are three things that jumped out from that single line of type nestled among 52 other active players.
The first is his position. He is listed as a defensive back, a vague catch-all for the many roles in which the Giants envision using him, and on the unofficial depth chart that was released on Monday he is listed as a backup safety. Rest assured that the Giants did not sign him to have him on the bench.
“I think the evolution is to be a DB and study all the positions and the arts of it,” Ryan said on Monday, in his first media session since signing with the team a week ago. “Honestly, this is a matchup league. This isn’t 1980s 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 position flexibility you have, I think it gives you the ability to do more stuff on defense.”
That may also include lining up as an outside cornerback, something Ryan has done throughout his career.
“It’s a part of my game and whatever the team needs me to do from week to week I’ll do,” he said. “Where I line up from week to week will definitely be G-5 classified, team first…. 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.”
The second element that pops from Ryan’s presence on paper is his number. He was issued the 23 jersey after having worn 26 his whole career. That number, of course, belongs to a much more prominent player in the organization. At least it does for now.
Ryan said he didn’t even bother approaching Saquon Barkley to make him an offer for that jersey.
“I wasn’t here to take anyone’s number, I wasn’t here to buy the number off anybody,” he said. “I don’t have time for that. I only have time to come in and fit in with the team.”
That came as a surprise to Barkley.
“Saquon comes to me and says ‘Hey, why didn’t you ask me for 26?’” Ryan said. “I said: ‘I didn’t know it was available.’ He said: ‘It’s available for a price.’ I said: ‘I think that’s probably out of my price range.’ I don’t think I got a contract sizeable enough to pay Nike to get 26 from Saquon Barkley.”
They left it as open to negotiation. In the meantime, Ryan seemed happy with his new number.
“I took 23 because it was available to me and also because I liked watching ‘The Last Dance’ because Michael Jordan worked really hard and that inspired me with his preparation every single day in practice,” Ryan said. “Of course everybody wants to be Michael Jordan and play like Michael Jordan. I don’t have that skill level of Michael Jordan, but to prepare and bring that intensity every day is why I chose it.”
The final notable piece to Ryan’s listing is one of the things that has never changed during his NFL career that is entering is eighth season: his college (Rutgers) and hometown (Voorhees, NJ). Judge has often referenced building a Giants team that will represent the personality of fans in the New York and North Jersey area. Ryan won’t have to figure out what that means.
“For any kid in New Jersey who is working hard on the football field or in a park with their dad, throwing a ball, I played quarterback in high school, I played corner in college,” he said. “Then I came to the NFL and I played this position, that position. It’s just work ethic. Hopefully I can show them that if they work hard from the area, you can come play for the home team and bring that familiarity and that humility home to the Jersey kid.”
It takes one to know one.
“I feel like I have a lot of great football left in me,” he said. “It’s just my hard work and my preparation. I’m just a guy with average ability who worked really hard at it.”
That’s something that won’t show up on paper.