LIONS INSIDER

Quinn & Patricia agree: Tagging Ansah the right move

Posted Apr 15, 2018

Both general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia are happy to have defensive end Ziggy Ansah on their team for the 2018 season.

It didn’t take Lions general manager Bob Quinn long to convince new head coach Matt Patricia of the kind of player he was getting in Ziggy Ansah.

In fact, as soon as Patricia was hired, Ansah was the No. 1 conversation between the two, according to Quinn.

“'What are we going to do with Ziggy?'” Quinn said of their conversation. “I had my thoughts. It didn’t take me long to show Matt why we should do what we did.”

After a conversation, and a look at the film, the Lions placed the franchise tag on Ansah. It didn’t come cheap, either. The tag for defensive ends was the second-highest among all positions. Only the franchise tag for quarterbacks was higher.

There’s a bit of a perception out there that the Lions didn’t dip their toes into the top end free agency market, but placing the franchise tag on Ansah, who was considered one of the top three players available, was this year’s big-ticket item in free agency. It just happened to be an in-house item.

The decision to tag Ansah turned out to be a pretty easy one for Patricia.

“To have an outside edge rusher that can be as dominant as Ziggy is something that was really appealing to Matt,” Quinn said. “Matt has had a lot of great players in New England and I think Ziggy would rank right up there with some of the best edge players Matt has ever coached.”

Chandler Jones is probably the closest comparison. He had 12.5 sacks in 2015 for Patricia and the Patriots before being traded to Arizona the following offseason.

Even a player like Rob Ninkovich, considered one of the great Patriots defensive linemen over the past decade, never reached double-digit sacks. Ansah recorded 14.5 sacks in 2015, and had 12.0 this past season, despite dealing with a number of health issues for a second consecutive season.

Ansah is big, strong, fast, and has some versatility to his game. He can rush from a three-point stance or stand up and move around to be a mismatch for Patricia and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni.

“We’re excited to get Ziggy into this new scheme,” Quinn said.

The Lions are only in the early stages of the offseason training program. The installation phase of the defensive schemes are still weeks away, but it should be interesting to see how Patricia decides to deploy Ansah’s unique skillset.

“That’s a pretty big guy to have returning,” Patricia said of Ansah. “If he was out there in the free-agent market with some other team right now that would be their front headline.

“I think those guys that we brought back and those guys that we brought in from a defensive perspective we obviously see some things they can do well.

“Look, we’re going to go out and compete hard every day and grind it out and see what it looks like.”