"Defense and offense. We're friends now," Ryan said with a smile, a day after he was in the middle of a teamwide offense vs. defense melee.
It has become a punchline now, the brawl at Giants training camp Tuesday and the consequences that followed. Coach Joe Judge ordered a pair of 200-yard sprints (goal line to goal line to goal line) and pushups for the team.
These are the kind of "consequences" that exist in Judge's program. Not that his players seem to have a problem with it.
"No, not at all," Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. "That's kind of the standard that we've set here in this building and as a team, and I think guys have bought in and know what to expect whenever you step on the field and when you're playing under a guy like Coach Judge.
"If you don't like it, then you're welcome to leave. But that's the way that we do things around here, and everybody is standing by that, and I'm all for it."
Those are the words of the Giants' 2016 second-round draft pick and the longest-tenured Giant. If he has no problem with running laps and sprints as punishment, how can younger, less accomplished players mind it?
If Ryan, who won two Super Bowls and did similar things in New England, is on board with this approach, how can the rest of the defensive backfield he leads not be? If team captains Daniel Jones and Blake Martinez feel the same way, isn't it only natural it trickles down in the locker room?
"Look, guys, it's not my first time running laps at practice, not my first time having punishments at practice," Ryan said right after the incident. "I've been coached by some pretty tough coaches in my career, and I don't think Joe's reinventing the wheel with running laps for penalties or gassers. It's just you've got to be more disciplined."
Player after player had Judge's back. That is what some former players and executives who mock the running and pushups don't seem to fully comprehend. Yes, it can backfire, but only if there isn't complete buy-in. Right now, that is what Judge seems to have.
"When you do something that's going to harm the team, especially like during the game, it's going to provoke a penalty, there's going to be consequences behind that," said Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry, another even-keeled and respected voice in New York's locker room. "I just saw [it] as that was our consequence."
Judge has said previously and said again Wednesday that he's a little old-school. That includes being hard on his team when necessary. But don't let that act fool you: He's calculated. Everything is done with a purpose, from the way he wants players to scoop fumbles to the way they dress for practices.
"Listen, the result of having something like that in a game is going to be 15-yard penalties, ejections from the game, and for players and coaches specifically, fines," Judge said. "So we have to understand for everything you do, there is a consequence. We have to understand our job is to put ourselves in position to win football games.
"There needs to be lessons learned, and we need to move forward as a team and not repeat the mistake."
Judge called it a teaching moment. Except this time the lesson was for the entire team, not individualized like on most days.
"In terms of fights, my policy has been to get guys and get them out of practice. So that happened. It involved the entire team. I threw the entire team out of practice," Judge said. "We had more ball to go. We had two more periods of practice. We had things to accomplish. Those were things that robbed us of an opportunity to keep preparing and robbed players [of] reps to go compete."
Point taken. There was a play at Wednesday's practice when running back Corey Clement got into the secondary and safety Xavier McKinney avoided taking the free hit in a non-tackling drill. It was exactly what McKinney didn't do the previous day, when he popped Clement and started the brawl.
Clement brushed it off immediately and said the locker room was back to normal by the time they went inside.
"It's football," Clement said of the hit on Tuesday.