And the rest of the Titans defensive backs.
But good luck trying to keep up with them.
Members of the team’s secondary have been training together all over the Middle Tennessee area, doing just about everything imaginable. It’s all part of a body strengthening, team bonding offseason the players hope will pay off on the field in 2018 and beyond.
“It really has been a real bonding thing, and I think everybody’s hunger is pushing each other,” said Ryan, who joined the Titans last offseason after playing four seasons with the Patriots, where he won two Super Bowl rings.
“We want to be the top secondary in the league. We want to bring a Super Bowl to Nashville, so let’s just go for it. That has been our thinking out here, training, going out to restaurants and just hanging out. … We have something special right now and we want to make the most of it, and fulfill our potential.”
A cornerback, Ryan joined the Titans last March in free agency, and got settled into his new team during the course of last year’s offseason program. During the season he developed a closer relationship with his teammates during a year which saw the Titans advance into the divisional round of the playoffs.
When the 2017 season ended, players took a quick breath.
Then something neat happened. Ryan and Byard, the team’s All-Pro safety from MTSU, started working out together. During a group text with the DBs, more teammates got interested, and involved. They started returning to town to work out as a group rather at locations all over the map.
Ryan, who turned his garage into a boxing studio, has hosted players at his house. The players have trained on high school fields, a fitness club and other facilities in Mount Juliet, in Murfreesboro and beyond. They do on-field work, weight lifting, Pilates, yoga, football drills and more. Something different is on the agenda each day.
In a group picture posted on social media by trainer Jason Spray, the former MTSU strength coach who has worked with the athletes, a half-dozen Titans were spotted – Johnathan Cyprien, Tye Smith, LeShaun Sims, Ryan and Byard. Former Titans cornerback Jason McCourty (now with the Patriots) and former Titans safety Curtis Riley now with the Giants) have worked out with the group, and Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and safety Brynden Trawick have made appearances as well.
“I think everybody in our secondary has been there at least once,” Ryan said.
Byard said Spray has worked with the players on footwork, agility and speed training while helping them with their strength and stamina. They regularly spend several hours a day together.
“Any time when you are sweating together,” Byard said. “When you’re going through blood, sweat and tears with a group of guys, it does nothing but build camaraderie.
“We are all pushing each other to get to the next level. It has been great.”
Earlier this month in California, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota worked with some of his top targets – receivers Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews, Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe, along with tight end Jonnu Smith. The players also spent time with tight end Delanie Walker while in California.
Ryan described the work with the defensive backs as “blue-collar.” This offseason, Ryan has also spent a lot of time with former Titans running back Eddie George. The two have been boxing together under the supervision of George’s long-time boxing coach.
“It is really going back to our roots and pushing each other. It is more of a high school setting than a fancy, top-notch facility,” Ryan said of the workouts with teammates. “I turned my garage into a gym. Sometimes we come to my house. That is how blue-collar all of this is. It doesn’t matter where it is, if one guy is doing it and they want the group to do it, the group will do it.
“And it is more of a mixed bag of training, rather than going to one field every day. We are kind of going all over Tennessee. I am driving all over Tennessee and I like it. I had never been to Murfreesboro and Mount Juliet and other places until this offseason.”
Ryan said he expects new Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler to join them once he gets settled in.
One day after signing his contract with the Titans last week, Butler was on the field at Saint Thomas Sports Park at 8 a.m. the next morning running sprints, something that didn’t surprise Ryan.
The makeup of the group is a good one, Ryan said. Byard said the energy has been great.
The players hope the work they’re doing now – something they expect to continue even after the offseason program begins on April 9 – will pay off.
“A lot of people have ‘Yes men’ around them (when they’re training), telling them: You’re great, you’re great’,” Ryan said. “We’re going at it like: What do we need to do to be the best secondary? What do we need to do to lead this team to a Super Bowl?
“ … This is one of the tightest secondaries I have ever been on, and I have been on two Super Bowl ones, and those were close as well. That is what you need. And with the talent, and now with the Malcolm Butler addition, and Adoree’ and everyone else. … We just have to keep working and keep pushing each other and keep executing in the fall. That is why you grind so hard right now.
“We are all just a bunch of chip-on-our-shoulder guys,” Ryan continued. “Other than Adoree’, we were not highly-touted guys coming out. … We lean on each other, and KB’s All-Pro season has inspired guys to say, “Why not me?’ People see me with the Super Bowls, and say “Why not us?’ I say that all the time: Why not us? We realize how much talent we have and the potential we have if we work for it.”
TitansOnline.com looks back at safety Kevin Byard's All-Pro 2017 season. (AP Photos)