Why is he so confident? "Just watch them practice. And in the games, I think we haven’t been perfect there, but guys are improving. I think Darrin Walls is a much better player now than he was last year (as a backup). I don’t think it’s even close. . . And in the (preseason) games, I think we haven’t been perfect there, but guys are improving."
Ryan also likes the way converted safety Antonio Allen is adjusting to corner.
"(He) seems to be coming along pretty good, but again, we are going to find out on Sunday because there is nowhere to hide when you’re on that field. We feel good about it, the thing about him that we need to know is this guy has unusual ball skills. . . .If you’re going to plan on (throwing) jump balls all day long, I like our chances. Is he still going to be a little bit of a work in progress? Sure, he’s probably not as good now as he’s going to be in the next couple of weeks, or three weeks, four weeks down the road. But for right now, he is doing a good job for us."
The other big topic of Ryan's press conference was ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth's criticism of receiver Eric Decker, who signed with the Jets as a free agent after four seasons in Denver.
The former Broncos and Redskins offensive lineman said Decker "was a marginal No. 2 receiver at best" on ESPN 98.7 FM Thursday and that Decker's recent 85- and 87-catch seasons were boosted by Denver's system and the attention other receivers were getting.
After complimenting Schelerth's line of salsa, Ryan referred to negative comments Schlereth made about Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in 2006 and said Schlereth isn't "100 percent on his opinions on players."
For his part, Decker said he was surprised by the comments -- "We did interviews in Denver a couple of times, and it was always good", he told the New York Post -- but chose not to respond directly. "I'm going to do my talking on the field." (Post, Sept. 5).