In his Monday news conference in Western New York, Ryan was asked what the Patriots do that enables their "no-name running backs" to thrive. The questioner didn't mention Dion Lewis by name, but referenced "the kid last week" who had "done nothing in the league" and "all of a sudden he's a star."
Ryan's response could be viewed as bulletin-board material in New England.
"It's the kid that's playing quarterback. That'll make it a lot easier to be a running back," he said. "So what, are you gonna play them in eight-man spacing? I don't think so. So that's what makes them -- I don't care, put anybody back there. You can do good there. All right?
"Nah, I mean they're decent backs in their own right. But I don't think we're gonna focus on that kid. I can't even tell you that kid's name. But you're gonna focus on the guy throwing the ball, I'll tell you that much."
Lewis, who hadn't played in a regular-season game since 2012, finished with 69 rushing yards on 15 carries and added four catches for 51 yards in the Patriots' Week 1 win against the Steelers.