After Ryan was harassed repeatedly in last week's 16-13 loss at Tampa Bay, McClure wanted him to know that the offensive line appreciates his toughness in the pocket.
Ryan has been hit 21 times, according to NFL statistics, and sacked 13 times -- third-most in the NFL.
"I told him that last week on the plane," McClure said Thursday. "We respect what he does, stepping in there time after time to throw the ball. It's got to be a tough situation for him to be in, and he's handled it really well."
Smith won't say whether left tackle Sam Baker and right guard Garrett Reynolds are in jeopardy of losing their starting jobs, but they clearly have competition.
"It's different from the offseason because you've got more snaps in your practices and you're in a preparation mode," Smith said. "Once the season starts, you don't have as many snaps to make an evaluation, but we've told our guys from the very beginning that we're going to have open competition at all times."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.