Logan Ryan is a leader of this Giants defense and is continuing to prove that in a number of ways this offseason.
The Giants defensive backfield is heavily improved (on paper, at least) when you compare the current group to that of two seasons ago. Following moves made both this year and last, Big Blue is set to start Pro Bowler James Bradberry, free-agent pickup Adoree’ Jackson, safeties Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers, and second-year man Darnay Holmes at slot corner. Not to mention, Xavier McKinney, arguably the top safety of the 2020 draft, will additionally be in the mix.
Any successful secondary must build and subsequently maintain significant chemistry though — much of the Giants defensive backfield, including Ryan, attempted to achieve that task by working out together in Florida this offseason.
Ryan, to say the least, is impressed by the young guys part of the group.
“I’m kind of the middle child, as J. Cole would say, where I’m not that old but I don’t relate to the 21-year-olds we have in the league nowadays,” Ryan said Tuesday. “But the guys we got, they really want to learn, they really want to be coached, they’re really asking questions — especially X [Xavier McKinney], he really wants to pick my brain on how to do things and it’s very different than what you hear about the modern-day athlete and how they learn…I was really inspired by the bonding that took place, it’s going to be special, it’s going to pay off.”
Despite the success of the Giants’ defensive unit last year in comparison to 2019 (the group went from 25th to 12th in total yards allowed), the secondary endured a number of rough games. The defensive backfield, despite fielding a Pro Bowler in Bradberry, tied for 16th in average passing yards allowed — not a superb mark.
This finish led to the Giants acquiring a new starting corner in Adoree’ Jackson via the free-agent market as well as a reserve defensive back in Aaron Robinson by the way of the draft.
The Giants should therefore improve in this area of the field. Yet, Ryan is still holding this group to a certain standard that’s in line with past great Big Blue secondaries.
“The barometer for me — I look at last year’s statistics, like who was the top secondary? What are some of the numbers that they put up? What are some of the franchise numbers? From the best Giants secondaries, who are those players?
“And I reached out personally this year to Antrel Rolle, Jason Sehorn, Corey Webster and I said, ‘Hey, I want to pick your brain, I want to be great like you. I respect what you guys have done in the past, can you give me anything?’ And all those guys were honored and willing and eager to be a part of our secondary and to help out,” Ryan explained. “They were thankful that I reached out and tried to build that bridge between our current secondary and the former greats…I just try to relate [to the tips given] and try to teach the history of the franchise to the young guys so we know what our standard is to be one of those great secondaries in the making.”
The quality that stands out in this secondary, especially in regard to the tandem of safeties, is versatility. Ryan and Peppers make up arguably the most versatile and athletic safety tandem this league has to offer.
And when you add Bradberry, Jackson, Holmes, McKinney, and potentially third-year man Julian Love to the mix, it should be a dominant unit. But the aforementioned chemistry needs to start developing now — the Giants can’t fall behind when it comes to that element.