Ziggy Ansah looking forward to expanded role

Posted Jun 5, 2014

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin plans to utilize Ziggy Ansah's athleticism more this season.

The Detroit Lions have a whole new plan for how they’re going to unleash Ziggy Ansah on opposing offenses in the fall.

“He’s going to rush, he’s going to drop, he’s going to move to different positions,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “He’s going to do some different things. He’s going to be required to do just what we’re asking all the other guys to do right now, so he’s going to have some catching up to do.”

All that sounds just fine to Ansah.

Ziggy AnsahZiggy Ansah has been held out of practice during OTAs as he recovers from offseason surgery. (Photo: Detroit Lions)

He hasn’t taken part in OTAs because of offseason shoulder surgery, but he told his plan is to be ready by training camp and he’s excited about his role in the defense.

“I like the changes we have now,” Ansah said. “I don’t always have to be on the right side. I can get up and move around and drop into coverage. I think (Austin) is a great coach and going to bring a lot to the team.”

Let’s not forget Ansah ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds without ever training for it at last year’s NFL Scouting Combine. In college, he ran a 10.91 100-meter dash and 21.89 seconds in the 200 meters, impressive numbers for a 6-foot-5, 271-pound man.

The point is Ansah is extremely athletic and should be able to handle anything Austin will throw at him.

“I believe he’s a bright guy,” Austin said of Ansah. “He’s been here the whole time, so he’s getting it. He’s just not getting the actual reps.”

The Lions were on the lookout for a versatile strong-side linebacker who could do a lot of different things this offseason, which is why they drafted Kyle Van Noy 40th overall.

It sounds like Austin values the same kind of versatility from the defensive end position and Ansah seems to have a terrific skill set to fit a number of different roles.

“I’m ready for whatever,” Ansah said.

His senior season at BYU, Ansah totaled 62 tackles including 13 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks and also had one interception, forced one fumble, had six quarterback hurries and nine pass breakups.

He played both defensive end and outside linebacker at BYU, so standing up and moving around won’t be foreign to him at all.

He led all rookies with eight sacks last year after the Lions selected him No. 5 overall. He also had 32 tackles and forced two fumbles in 14 games.

Ansah is big, he’s fast and the Lions are planning on letting him loose on quarterbacks him from all over the field in 2014.