Logan Ryan picks right game to play big

Rookies in the NFL need to make the most of their opportunities.

Last weekend against the Miami Dolphins, Logan Ryan only got on the field for 17 defense snaps, but his fortune changed yesterday with cornerback Alfonzo Dennard on the mend with a knee injury. The rookie got his chance to shine in the Patriots’ 41-7 win over the Baltimore Ravens and made every moment count.

Ryan’s career game was highlighted with two interceptions and a big fourth-down pass break-up. He leads the Patriots, and all rookies in the NFL, with five interceptions.

“Ever since the first game I always wanted to prepare. Whatever my opportunity is I want to make the most of it,” Ryan said. “Whether it’s starting a game or coming in (as a) sub, I want to make an impact in the game and prepare every week the same.”

Dennard wasn’t inactive but he was limited, so Ryan got the start. It didn’t take the 22-year-old third-round draft pick long to make an impact.

His first interception came in the first quarter on the Ravens’ second drive. All week long, the Pats secondary aimed to limit the long ball to Baltimore receivers. So when Ryan saw Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco trying to hit Jacoby Jones deep, his first reaction was to stop the reception.

But then linebacker Dont’a Hightower tipped the pass, and Ryan was able to corral the ball in his arms with just over eight minutes left in the first quarter. The Patriots turned that turnover into their second touchdown, a 4-yard Tom Brady pass to running back Shane Vereen.

Ryan’s presence was next felt in the third quarter. After getting into Patriots territory for the first time, the Ravens went for it on fourth-and-3 from the Patriots’ 39-yard line. Flacco went to Jones again, but this time Ryan swatted the ball away and forced the turnover on downs.

On the next Baltimore drive, Ryan intercepted a Flacco pass again, on a throw intended for Dennis Pitta, and the Pats got a field goal out of it.

“I’m very fortunate. I’m very blessed,” Ryan said. “I get put in a great opportunity with great play calling and great defense and I’m able to make the plays, which is something that comes from my work ethic.”

Whether he’s playing 17 snaps or the entire game, Ryan said he wants to be known as a “hard worker.”

“Not even on Sundays, but during the week,” Ryan said. “I want to be consistent. It’s great having interceptions, but you’ve got to be consistent 50 other plays of the game. I want to be known as someone who works hard each and every day and is consistent out there.”

Yesterday was certainly a step in the right direction.

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Neil S. Schwartz

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