Titans’ Logan Ryan ready to face Patriots, his former teammates

The Titans will face the NFL equivalent of royalty this weekend when they face Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs.

Players and coaches will tell you they don't sense an aura or a championship glow surrounding the Patriots (13-3). But that doesn't mean the Titans (10-7) won't use every advantage at their disposal to knock off the defending champs Saturday night (7:15 p.m. CT, CBS).

After all, they have a player with direct knowledge of the Patriots organization in their own locker room: cornerback Logan Ryan.

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"Last week, our focus was only Kansas City. Now, our focus is only New England," Ryan said after Wednesday's Titans practice. "It just so happened that I played there, but it's really just the next team in front of us. We're all in on them."

New England Patriots fans Mary and Daniel Correa huddle together prior to the start of the AFC Divisional Playoff game against Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 10, 2004. Temperatures were minus-5 degrees.  Sanford Myers / The Tennessean

Titans loss to Patriots 17-14 in AFC Divisional Playoff Jan. 10, 2004
Ryan was selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft out of Rutgers. He spent four seasons with the team, winning two Super Bowls, including last year's over the Atlanta Falcons.

In the offseason, former Patriots scout and current Titans general manager Jon Robinson signed Ryan to a three-year, $30 million contract. Ryan was seen as a key addition for the Titans, who were in desperate need of help after allowing the third-most passing yards in the league last season.

Ryan said he thought the Titans pursued him the hardest in free agency and had a vision for him, which is why he chose to sign with the team. At the time, it was hard to envision this specific matchup taking place, but the team will gladly lean on Ryan for his championship experience and knowledge.

"Oh, we interrogated him until he was ready to drop yesterday," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said jokingly of Ryan on Tuesday. "No, it wasn't quite that serious. But, we had a cup of coffee together, I'll say that."

Ryan downplayed his ability to share any information about the Patriots the Titans didn't already know, joking that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has 80 years on him in terms of football experience. LeBeau did the same, instead opting to praise Ryan's experience in big playoff games.

"Where he came from, I don't think that's going to have that big of an effect," LeBeau said. "He's been in big games. That's probably the biggest factor right there. He's played in Super Bowls, so he's going to play his game, and I'm glad he's on our side."

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Ryan has been everything the Titans thought they were getting and more. He's become somewhat of a mentor for the younger defensive backs on the team. He's been called a coach on the field and a cerebral player at the position. He's respected for his preparation and the work he puts in to be successful.

It's the Patriot way, but Ryan said he sees some of that same work ethic in his new team, too. He's hoping it carries over to Saturday's game.

"Everyone's gotta be on their P's and Q's; everyone's gotta do their job; and we gotta bring it, man," Ryan said, borrowing a familiar phrase from his former coach. "We can't be mentally defeated walking out there. You gotta go out there and believe in yourself, and kind of do your job to help the team."

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Neil S. Schwartz

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