FOXBORO - Bill Belichick snorts out dismissive responses any time he’s asked about whether a former player can provide enough intelligence on the team’s operations to actually cause problems. Of course, that hasn’t stopped him from adding players to his own practice squad from an upcoming opponent, but I digress.
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Saturday night, Belichick and the Patriots will be looking across the field at one of the smarter defenders he’s coached in recent memory. Logan Ryan returns with the Tennessee Titans for the first time since leaving Foxboro. Titans coach Mike Mularkey is already trying to tap into some of that institutional knowledge.
“Oh, we interrogated him until he was ready to drop yesterday,” he said. “No, it wasn’t quite that serious. But, we had a cup of coffee together, I’ll say that.”
When told that Ryan might be a good resource for the Titans, former teammate Devin McCourty joked that won’t do Tennessee any good.
“Logan probably can’t help them much. I know that much,” he smiled before adding, “it will be fun, though. The guy, he’s a brother to a lot of us in there, a real good friend of mine, but there’s nothing I want more than to see him lose Saturday night. So, as close as we are, that’s not going to change, and he’s going to compete and be the same way. It will be fun to talk a little trash to each other.”
Ryan had an uneven four seasons in New England and as last season wore on, it was clear he was desirous of a fresh start. But that never impacted Ryan’s ability to do his job.
“He’s a very smart, instinctive, aware player,” said Belichick Tuesday. “Always does the right thing, not only what you need him to do, but also what’s best for the defense in terms of making calls and adjustments and things like that. Can play inside, can play outside. He can play safety if you need him to play safety, he’s got a lot of versatility. Again, a tough, smart football player that played a lot of good football for us.”
Mularkey seems to concur with Belichick’s assessment. Ryan has started at right corner all season and in sub-packages, he moves inside, working against the slot receiver or move tight ends. Ryan didn’t record an interception but had 11 passes defensed and recorded 62 tackles.
“He’s a pro. He’s a pro. Knows how to come in here and he’s been great,” said Mularkey. “We’ve got a lot of young guys in that secondary room, a lot of young guys, and he’s been easy to follow. He’s been great off the field, as well, for this community. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
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