"I think 17 is a good number," Ryans said after Tuesday's training session. "If you can hold teams to 17 in this league, with the types of big-time players you're going to face every week, holding a team to 17 is a good defense."
The Eagles' defense will look to hold the Jacksonville Jaguars to 17 points or fewer this Sunday when the teams play their first games of the regular season. With the first kickoff right around the corner, Ryans thinks the team's defense is in a better place now than it was a year ago.
"I feel like right now we're in a good position as a defense," Ryans said. "I feel like we picked up right where we left off. Defensively, I feel like our communication is a lot better."
If the Eagles' defense truly is picking up where it left off this season, Eagles fans have good reason to be excited. In the last 10 games of the 2013 season, Bill Davis' group held opponents to 17 points or fewer five times. Moreover, as was well documented in the team's run to the playoffs, the team won seven of those games.
Ryans said on Tuesday that he believes the team's defense definitely improved throughout last season, and if the unit continues to improve this season, the Eagles will be in a good place.
"Our goal is to not give up a lot of points," Ryans said. "We feel like our offense can put up points against anybody, so as long as we hold our own defensively, we should be fine."
Ryans and the Eagles' defense have had a chance to watch film on the Jaguars' offense after four preseason games, and the veteran linebacker said Tuesday that one common theme has emerged:
Jacksonville likes to run.
"They like to run the ball and they like to run the boot off the run action, which is something that sticks out," Ryans explained. "They're going to stick to their guns and run what they run. No matter what teams they played the thing stuck out to me was they're going to run the ball, they want to be physical."
If the Jaguars stick to their guns Sunday, they'll be attacking an Eagles defense that showed serious resistance to the run near the end of last year - Davis' unit didn't allow any of the final five regular season opponents to rush for 100 yards.
Ryans is confident in the Eagles' defense as Sunday's kickoff inches closer and closer.
"I feel like Coach Davis and the staff, they'll prepare us for whatever we have to do to match up," Ryans said. "We'll line up and attack them however we see fit."