Ansah: 'I’m just trying to be the greatest at my position'

Posted Jun 4, 2015

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah has a clear objective for where he wants his career to go.

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah has a clear objective for where he wants his career to go.

“I don’t put numbers on what I’m trying to accomplish,” he said after Thursday’s open OTA practice. “I’m just trying to be the greatest. The greatest at my position and what I do.”

That's one goal the Lions hope he realizes rather quickly.

Ziggy AnsahDE Ziggy Ansah (Photo: Detroit Lions)

Ansah is enjoying his first real offseason in 2015 after going through the rookie process in 2013 and then missing the entire offseason in 2014 because of shoulder surgery. He’s been a full participant this year and says he’s much more comfortable in year two under Teryl Austin's scheme.

From an athletic standpoint, Ansah isn't matched at the position with his combination of size and speed. His next progression as a player is about fine-tuning the little things that separate great players from good ones.

“Just trying to take care of the little things that I wasn’t able to do last year,” Ansah said.

Among those little things Ansah says he’s working on is getting off the ball quicker. He’s been able to accomplish that so far, according to head coach Jim Caldwell.

“Often times you can see where players play slowly when they don’t quite understand everything to a tee,” Caldwell said. “He’s one that I certainly think you can see that he’s not thinking nearly as much, he’s reacting and playing and I think in the long run we’ll benefit from that.”

Ansah led all rookies with eight sacks in 2013 and notched 7.5 last season. The Lions are expecting that number to significantly increase this year and for Ansah to take his place among the best defensive ends in the NFL.

“It’s up to him,” Caldwell said. “Ziggy is a very, very disciplined guy. He’s ambitious. He certainly has the physical capability to be an unusual player in this league. I’m glad that’s his goal because of the fact that we expect a lot from him and he’s capable of delivering as well.”

With the loss of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley this offseason, more is expected of Ansah. He needs to be a double-digit sack producer and a disruptor in the backfield.

Ansah is much more familiar with the concepts of Austin’s defense in year two and the Lions plan to utilize his athletic ability as a multiple-look rusher. Much like last year, Ansah will rush from the defensive end position, but will also stand up and move around as mismatches dictate.

Ansah is healthy, comfortable in this defense and motivated to be the best rusher in the game.