FOXBOROUGH — When Logan Ryan participated in 83 of 86 defensive snaps in the Patriots’ first preseason game last Friday at Philadelphia, the workload wasn’t unexpected or unwelcomed by the rookie cornerback.
“It was definitely welcomed and it was expected,’’ said Ryan, who also got his fair share of repetitions this week in practice sessions against Tampa Bay. With the status of injured cornerbacks Alfonzo Dennard and Ras-I Dowling uncertain, Ryan will likely see a lot of playing time when the Patriots host the Buccaneers in a preseason game Friday night.
“When your name is called here with the New England Patriots, you’ve got to go out there and do your job and not complain about it,’’ said Ryan. “And I’ll never complain about reps.’’
Asked how he benefited from the extra work, Ryan said, “Being a rookie, and being a corner especially, the only way you can really get a feel for it and improve your game is through those game reps, so I’m grateful.’’
Ryan said the workouts with the Eagles and Buccaneers were particularly helpful.
“Joint practices makes it a lot easier in the game to get comfortable with your opponents and the competitive nature of the NFL,” he said, “and that’s a learning tool the rookies have taken advantage of.’’
Since the start of training camp, when Ryan’s head was spinning, his teammates have noticed improvement.
“He’s getting better,’’ said Devin McCourty. “Logan came in and he’s got a great upside and his work ethic is going to show. From the time he’s come in to now, he’s gotten a lot better, and I think he’s going to keep getting better.
“The sky’s the limit for him. He played a good amount of football for us in the first game and I think he’ll continue to do that.’’
NFL field judge Barry Anderson explained some of the rules changes for 2013 to the media.
Among them: Replay reviews will be allowed to correct an officiating error when a coach challenges a play that is already automatically reviewed; the “tuck rule’’ has been eliminated, now making it a fumble if a player loses possession during an attempt to bring the ball back to his body; defensive team formations are restricted to no more than six players on one side during field goal and extra-point attempts, making the snapper a defenseless player; “peel back” blocks are now illegal below the waist in the tackle box; restrictions on initiating contact with the top/crown of helmet.
Anderson also said taunting of an opponent will be a point of emphasis, along with late hits into a pile, false starts, and not permitting the ball to be snapped in no-huddle situations until all seven officials are in position.
“Unlike college, it’ll be controlled by the referee and the umpire,’’ Anderson said of the placement of the ball in no-huddle situations. “So it will be a different pace and be controlled by the officials. [Coaches] just want to make sure they have a chance to match up.”
Made his day
The Patriots worked out a special running back at the end of Thursday’s practice when Eduardo Martinez, 18, of Grand Rapids, Mich., participated in the last offensive play of the day.
Martinez buckled his helmet, with the assistance of Bill Belichick, joined the huddle with Tom Brady and the rest of the offense, then took a handoff from Brady and ran off right tackle, untouched, 15-20 yards for a touchdown.
Martinez, who was on hand as part of a Make-a-Wish visit that will be featured in the fall on ESPN, spiked the ball with gusto as he was surrounded in the end zone by players from both teams.
“It was incredible,’’ McCourty said. “He got to take a handoff from Tom Brady and score a touchdown and then he actually got to break down the team on our last day of training camp.
“I’m sure it’ll be a memory he’ll always have, but as players, we’ll always remember it, too, so it was good to be a part of that.’’
The Patriots placed offensive lineman Tyronne Green on injured reserve and released veteran wide receiver Michael Jenkins and offensive lineman Kevin Haslam, who was one of nine former Rutgers players on the roster. With Haslam’s release, the Patriots relinquished their outright league lead for Scarlet Knights and are now tied with the Buccaneers, coached by former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, who also has eight. After Thursday’s practice, the Rutgers alumni on both squads posed for a picture.
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.