FOXBOROUGH — As he prepares for his third NFL season, Logan Ryan will admit that as a rookie in 2013, he was clueless. He is more confident now, in the little things and the big things.
He also may never have a better chance to seize a starting job than he does now.
With the Patriots’ group of cornerbacks looking little like it did last year, with Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington, and Alfonzo Dennard departed, Ryan is one of the few at the position who was on the Patriots in 2014.
He played in all 19 games, with six starts, all in the regular season. Behind Revis and Browner, no Patriots cornerback played a higher percentage of snaps (around 47 percent).
After playing behind and learning from Revis (who spoke highly of Ryan on several occasions last year), Browner, and before that Aqib Talib, Ryan doesn’t have any stars in front of him now.
“From where I feel like now in Year 3 to walking in here as a rookie and didn’t even know how to put my pants on, didn’t know what color we were wearing, and had no idea what defense we were in, I feel a lot more confident than I did back then,” the 24-year old Ryan said Tuesday after the Patriots’ first practice of minicamp. “So I’m going to keep trying to take those steps.”
Ryan spoke of Revis’s consistency, from the veteran’s work ethic to his desire to be great every day. Ryan also spoke of Talib’s influence on him as a rookie, as Talib passed along tips and tricks that he had learned from Ronde Barber in Tampa Bay.
But Ryan is not trying to become a younger version of either player, just the best version of himself.
“It’s hard to say how much it helped, they’re great players,” Ryan said of watching Revis and Browner last year. “I can’t try to steal another person’s game. I can see what they do well, but I think Aqib Talib had a huge impact my rookie year. Everybody has their own style and I’m trying to develop my style and just trying to work on playing fundamentally consistent.
“All those guys had good fundamentals, and to play in this league you have to have fundamentals of the highest level.”
Ryan again traveled to Arizona with Devin McCourty and Tavon Wilson in the offseason to train at the Fischer Institute, the facility Revis had introduced them to last year.
“Just try to stay in shape, stay sharp mentally,” said Ryan. “It’s a fine line of mixing how much you need to rest your legs and your body because it’s a long year, it’s a physical sport, but then also getting the edge and staying in shape and making gains [from] where you were.
“It’s something I’m learning from year to year, and I really feel like I come back from Arizona confident, I’ve been working, I’ve been putting the time in, and . . . when you put a lot of time in your job, it goes a little easier.”
Ryan also believes he has gotten better and more efficient with his film study, which also has helped his confidence.
“It’s something you need to learn . . . It’s something I think you learn naturally through time, and the more film you watch the more confident you’ll be,” Ryan said. “Anybody can watch it for hours, it’s knowing what to get out of it, knowing what to look at — look at other great players in the league defensively, look at guys that you’ll potentially be matching up with and looking at opponents and schemes.”
Ryan recognizes that a weakened Patriots secondary will likely be challenged by opposing quarterbacks, and those challenges “are the name of the game.”
“It’s what we expect. It’s extremely early, it’s not perfect, and that’s just going to come with more reps,” Ryan said. “We haven’t had a lot. All we have is what we can control that day, and we’re better now than when we started and we’re going to try to keep that pace.”