Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah has a good first day with the vets

Posted May 21, 2013

Ansah is allowing himself to absorb all knowledge his veteran teammates have to offer

Following his first organized team activity (OTA) with his veteran teammates, rookie defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah wasn't at all flustered.

Cool, calm and collected, his put-together persona didn't resonate as arrogance. It actually resonated as maturity in terms of knowing what he doesn't know.

"(The veterans have) been playing the game for a longer time than I have been," he said. "They are really helpful. They're just trying to help the young guys get better.

"When I make mistakes, they tell me what is right and I really appreciate that."

Of the Lions' seven defensive ends, four are rookies. The rest are in their second, fourth and sixth seasons.

That sixth-year veteran, Jason Jones, has already been a resource for Ansah.

Jason JonesDE Jason Jones (Photo: T. Altman/

"From a defensive standpoint, we don't read, we just attack," said Ansah of what Jones has spoken with him about. "Sometimes I'm hesitant to just go.

"After a rep he calls me back. He's like, 'Yeah, man, just do your thing. Get after the ball and don't think. Just do it.'"

Jones sees a lot of potential in Ansah and rookie Devin Taylor, who the Lions took in the fourth round of this year's draft.

He jokes that the defensive ends group is like a basketball team because they're 6-5 and up and 270-pounds-plus.

"(Length for a pass rusher) allows us to separate from the offensive tackle with our length and I think sometimes it's intimidating seeing two 6-6 ends out there," said JOnes.

"With the speed that we've got, it's going to be nice."

Jones, one of the Lions' initially-targeted free agents this offseason, finds himself to be "the old guy" among a young, talented group of defensive ends.

He has been thrust into a leadership role, teaching the younger players the ropes and helping them out along the way in terms of what the coaches -- Kris Kocurek and Jim Washburn -- are looking for.

"I'm getting to know the guys a little bit more," said Jones. "(Now with OTAs) we get to see what we've really got and what we can put together."

This marks the second week the rookies and veterans are working together, but the first time the entire team has been put through team drills.

Ansah brushed off the significance, saying that it was just a different opportunity for him to get better.

"I'm not going to say that I want to do this or do that," he said. "You can get better little by little - you can't get it all in one day.

"That is what the coaches tell us. There is plenty of time to get better."

For Ansah, that includes the film room as well as the field, and he has been taking advantage of the veteran presence in both scenarios.

"As a defensive end, I've got to learn the defensive tackles, how to set," he said. "I have to know what down it is and the personnel and the play and everything.

"There's a little bit of everything now. It’s been really helpful to have them guiding us through this process."