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Logan Ryan was a late arrival last season who didn’t sign with the Giants until Aug. 31. He didn’t have an offseason or training camp to spend with his new teammates. He had to become a veteran leader on the fly.
He wanted this offseason to be different and, hopefully, better. So he decided to dig into franchise history and get some of the best help he could find. He said he called former Giants safety Antrel Rolle and former corners Jason Sehorn and Corey Webster for advice. He told them “I want to pick your brain and be great like you.”
“All those guys were so honored and willing and eager to be a part of our secondary and they were willing and eager to help out,” Ryan said on Tuesday after the first practice of Giants minicamp. “I want to be like them and I asked them personally how to be a better leader and a player.
“I’m an empty cup. They are filling it up.”
Whatever he learned from those Giants greats, the 30-year-old Ryan has spent the past few months trying to teach it to his current defensive back mates, in the hopes of turning this loaded unit into one of the best defensive backs corps in the league. He even held a DB summit down in Florida in mid-May, gathering most of the Giants defensive backs to train together for several weeks instead of attending the Giants voluntary offseason team activities (OTAs).
It was meticulously planned and similarly styled to the passing camps that many NFL quarterbacks hold nowadays – including Daniel Jones, who worked out this offseason with some of his receivers in both North Carolina and Arizona. And the Giants’ defensive backs all bought in. From veteran James Bradberry to newcomer Adoree’ Jackson to young players like Xavier McKinney and Julian Love, when Ryan called, most of them showed up.
“(It’s) just something I've seen for years,” Ryan said. “Great leaders, a lot of quarterbacks in the league, get their guys and receivers together for timing and what Daniel did in Arizona, I was out there for that. I really just wanted to bring the guys down and just have some time to ourselves.
“It was tough last year, joining the team so late and not really having an opportunity to bond with the guys. So I just think those guys got to see how I work day-to-day, and we got to talk a lot about how we would play things.”
It wasn’t all on-field work, either. They took a fishing trip together while they were in Florida, where they shared more football insights and continued their bonding. That bonding could be huge because, on paper, they have plenty of talent with Bradberry and Jackson at corner and Ryan, McKinney and Jabrill Peppers at safety. The key to their success might be their chemistry and how they work together when they’re on the field.
That’s particularly true of Ryan, Peppers and McKinney – the three safeties that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has to figure out how to use.
“We are far away from game-planning but I think we are each other's biggest fans,” Ryan said. “I think we like playing together. I think there's no selfishness there, and I try to give them every trick that I know and have learned through the years, I try to put that down to them and allow them to be better players than me at that age. I love coming to work with those guys. They are great guys and we are finding a way to all enjoy each other.”
Ryan added that he is looking at “what the best safety rooms in the league look like,” and that’s the standard he wants to set for the Giants. He also wants this secondary to be remembered as one of the greatest in the history of the organization, which is why he wanted to learn from those who already were.
“I just try to relate that and try to teach the history of the franchise to the young guys,” he said, “so we know that our standard is to be one of those secondaries to make the organization and the fan base proud.”