DB Logan Ryan
November 12, 2020
Q: You’ve been in a situation where with the Patriots and even last year with the Titans where you probably owned a couple of your rivals. Did you ever feel like that became psychological? Obviously, I am asking because even though you are new here, the Eagles have beaten the Giants 12 of the last 13 times.
A: It’s very different. Obviously on the Patriots (I was) on the right side of a lot of them. When I went to Tennessee, they never beat Andrew Luck. They were like 0 and something against the Colts or one and whatever against the Colts. Jacksonville was pretty split, and Houston won the division like every year. We were on the wrong side of it and we didn’t care. I don’t think players care. I think playing in this league for eight years, the division games matter. I think they’re the toughest games. I think when you play somebody twice, I think it’s tough because they know your tendencies. They know your players. They are going to work on what hurt them last time. They’re not going to make the same mistakes. They’re going to come with something different. It’s tougher to prepare because you know them so well so they might change it up on you. I think division (games) are always tough because of the familiarity. When we scout other teams, I know we’re playing the Rams or someone we don’t play as often, we look at how the division plays them. We look at how San Fran plays them, we look at how those guys might play them and say oh they know them so this is what they do. I would say that division games are always close games, are always tough games. It comes down to toughness and physicality a lot of times. I’m sure the history of the Eagles and Giants comes down to a lot of physicality and tough hard-nosed games. With two tough cities.
Q: How are you doing? Is everything kind of slowed down for you? I know you obviously had to take care of some personal stuff the other day. How are you compartmentalizing everything?
A: I spoke about compartmentalizing and I don’t know how realistic it is. I think about my wife every minute of every day. It’s definitely emotionally tough. She’s on the mend. Grateful to have her obviously still with me. We’re mourning a loss at the same time. I can’t tell anybody how to do it, just try to keep pushing one foot forward every day. If I am going to go to work, go to football and leave my wife and kids, I’m going to make sure I do my best at football. Give me all to it because it’s how I provide for my family. Ultimately my family comes first. Compartmentalizing is tough I would think. Just take it the best I can one day at a time.
Q: From a football perspective, you’ve played for some pretty good defenses. You guys, by most stats are somewhere middle of the road. You are progressing upwards it seems. How close are you to becoming one of those top units in your mind?
A: Continue to trend upward one game at a time. I think the position we’re in, every game matters. Obviously, our division is in play. Who knows, we don’t even know how many playoff teams there are going to be this year. We’re just taking it one game at a time. Trying to get better in two-minute. Against Philly, we lost the game in two-minute at the end there. We lost a lead. Last game we had three picks in two-minute. We had one at halftime. (Jabrill) Peppers had an interception essentially at two-minute there and I had the one to end the game. I think we’re trying to get better in that situation. We’re getting better at third down. We’re light years ahead of where we were at the beginning of the year. We were the worst third down defense, couldn’t get off the field. It was embarrassing. I think we’re playing better on third down. I think we’ve always stopped the run pretty well. Those are always big keys of ours, and the red area. I think we’re improving in the red area the last couple weeks and making people kick field goals and getting turnovers. To get to the top is just some ranking at the end of the year. However, they do it yards, this, that. We care about points. I think we have been a pretty good scoring defense. I think we can improve. I think we want to continue that trend of keeping people out of the end zone.
Q: Going back to the game against Philly, you guys coughed up the fourth quarter lead. How much does what happened last week give you guys confidence that you can carry over to this week? How much of that can become your identity? That you can close out teams at the end games.
A: You just want to be consistent. At the end of the game is winning time. Obviously, it determines the outcome of the game most of the time. Most games aren’t blowouts so it’s going to come down to those last possessions at the end of the game as we watch football to see who is going to win and who’s going to lose it. I remember Magic Johnson quoting the last five minutes of the fourth quarter is his time, it’s winning time. I think the better our best players play in those moments. The better I play in those moments, the better Blake (Martinez) plays, (James) Bradberry whoever it may be, Leo (Leonard Williams). The better we play in those moments, I think it’s winning time for us to go make those plays. We were able to do it last week, the previous game we weren’t. It’s learning an experience right, learning opportunities unfortunately by taking a loss. We had to learn in the Eagles game. We did it better against Washington, we have to learn from that and try to continue that trend. I think Carson Wentz makes a lot of decisions all over the place, some good, some bad. I think that guy really wants to win and I think he puts the ball up with an opportunity to win the games, which he did against us last time. I just have to be better in those moments to protect our defense. I think I’m going to be better in these opportunities here to close the game out. That’s what the defense relies on me to do.
Q: I think one of the things that gets lost sometimes when we think about your season is that you’ve switched positions. Has that gone better than you thought it would?
A: It goes as I put the work in. I think I work extremely hard. I’ve called myself a safety, but I’ve never really done it to this extent. It is my first year at the position full-time, my first year back there in the post. It’s my first year doing the same things I do. I didn’t have the reps in training camp, I didn’t have the reps in OTA’s. I was working behind the scenes. I honestly believe with my work ethic and my toughness and my willingness to be great, I think I can be the best safety in football. I’m working on it. I do think I have a ways to go. I’m learning from the safety’s here. I’m learning from safety’s around the league. Two of my best friends are Kevin Byard and Devin McCourty who are all-pro at the position before. I surround myself with people who are really good at it and I watch from everybody. I’m developing my own style on how to do it. I think ultimately my toughness, my work ethic and being fundamentally sounds and my ability to go get the ball, I think is what could make me the best safety in football. I’m going to try my best to do everything I can to be the best safety for the Giants. I’m excited the more reps I get. Every single game I am getting more comfortable at the position.
Q: What made you go through that transition this offseason. Obviously, you didn’t have coach, you didn’t have a team to tell you that you had to move. Why did you make that change?
A: Because I was tired of being labeled as a slot corner. I think in Tennessee we had three good corners in Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson and myself and I played 100 percent of the snaps. I played on the perimeter, I played outside, I played inside. I matchup on tight ends, I matchup up on running backs. I matched up on whoever Dean Pees told me to match up. I was a versatile piece for our defense and a key part of it, similar to here. Then I got labeled as a slot corner. I just didn’t think the label is really fair to modern football. I don’t think we label Keenan Allen as a slot receiver. He’s getting paid as a number one receiver. I don’t think we label Michael Thomas, who runs 90 percent of his routes out of the slot, as a slot receiver. Let’s pay him five million bucks, no, I think he’s getting 20 million dollars because he is one of the best receivers in football. DeAndre Hopkins lines up in the slot a lot more. Therefore, some of your better defenders have to go in there more. James Bradberry has to go line up in the slot and match some of these guys a little bit more. He’s not a slot corner by any means. I just think the future of football is having more versatile players out there. I feel like my future was to go to the safety position because I am able to match up these Evan Engram’s, these versatile tight ends. These really good running backs out of the backfield. I’m able to blitz which is something I worked on. I’m able to ultimately play against the quarterback. I think my mind and my communication are my two biggest strengths. I think that bodes well for a safety. I think my best opportunity to be the best in the league is at safety. I had a lot of fun playing perimeter corner, won Super Bowls at it. I had a lot of fun playing in the slot predominately. Now I play all over, you can call me what you want to call me. I just want to be a really good defender.