Logan Ryan explains why you shouldn’t ‘sleep’ on 2023 Patriots


“I think we all know Belichick will outperform expectations.”

New England Patriots Logan Ryan heading to the end zone after an interception against the New York Jets during first quarter action at Metlife Stadium on Sunday October 20, 2013.
Logan Ryan believes the 2023 Patriots should still be competitive in the AFC East. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

The Patriots will have an uphill climb in what should be a cutthroat AFC East during the 2023 NFL season.

But one former Patriot is still high on New England’s chances of bouncing back from a dysfunctional 2022 campaign.

Veteran cornerback and two-time Super Bowl champion Logan Ryan joined fellow ex-Patriot defensive back Jason McCourty on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” Thursday to discuss the Patriots’ playoff hopes in the months ahead.

Even with the arrival of Aaron Rodgers in New York and both the Bills and Dolphins still boasting high-octane offensive units, Ryan believes that Bill Belichick’s experience and mettle will be enough to counter the various improvements made by the Patriots’ division rivals over the offseason.

“I don’t think the Patriots are going to put a lot of self-hype out there in the offseason. I don’t think that’s Bill Belichick’s way,” Ryan said. “I don’t think they’re ever going to win an offseason in terms of acquisitions. That’s not the Bill Belichick way either. But one thing I know about Bill Belichick is he knows how to play against Aaron Rodgers. We saw that last year when they went to Green Bay and probably were underdogs there. And he knows these quarterbacks in this division really well. He knows these play-callers in that division really well. I don’t think you can ever sleep on the Patriots.

“I don’t know if they have the firepower on paper that some of these other teams do. I don’t know if anyone can pick them, but I think we all know Belichick will outperform expectations. We’ll see what that is, but I believe the AFC East is loaded as a division and one of the toughest as it gets this year.”

Ryan is not the only former Patriot who expects Belichick’s team to put together stronger returns after their 8-9 showing last season.

Speaking on his “The Dan and Ninko Show” podcast earlier this month, former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich tabbed the Patriots for 11 wins in 2023. 

Ninkovich’s guest, Rob Gronkowski, also expected the Patriots to be better than they were in 2022. But given the improvements made by the rest of the field in the AFC East, the future Hall-of-Fame tight end still thinks some tough sledding could be ahead for New England.

“I say nine, 10 [wins] maximum,” Gronkowski said. “It’s a tough conference.”I think the Jets are bringing some firepower. They did need a change at quarterback.

“Their quarterback play, if you watch them play the Patriots — I mean, they just throw the ball up in the air and there’s no one around 15 yards besides a New England player. … “[New England’s] got a good defense. “Solid defense. I don’t think they need to improve in that category.”