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Ansah's strong finish makes Quinn's decision tougher

After dealing with nagging injuries for most of this season, Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah felt the best he had probably all year the last couple weeks of the season.

And boy did the stat sheet show it.

Ansah closed out the season recording three sacks, four tackles, five quarterback hits and six total pressures in Detroit's season-finale win over Green Bay. The performance earned Ansah the NFC Defensive Player of the Week Award.

It also came on the heels of a three-sack performance the week prior in a loss to Cincinnati. Ansah became the first player in team history to record three sacks in back-to-back games.

In all, Ansah had three games this season in which he recorded three sacks (Week 2 vs. Giants), and finished with 12 sacks on the year. Those 12 sacks were good for the eighth highest total in the NFL this season.

His finish to the 2017 season obviously adds to the layers of intrigue that 2018 could bring for the ultra-talented free-agent pass rusher to be.

Some look at those three games of three-plus sacks and ask themselves whether that skewed Ansah's sack totals. That's fair.

But when looking at the total body of work for Ansah, he earned an overall grade of 81.1 from Pro Football Focus, and produced an above average pass-rush productivity grade through the course of the entire season. His 15 tackles for loss tied a career high (2015) and ranked fifth in the NFL among all defensive ends.

An unrestricted free agent this offseason, Ansah's future in Detroit is one of the big decisions Lions general manager Bob Quinn said this week he'd have to make this offseason.

There's going to be a market for Ansah. Like cornerbacks, teams can never have enough pass rushers, especially one reaching their prime with two double-digit-sack seasons now under his belt.

But as Quinn pointed out Monday, those decisions are for a later date.

"I think there's a lot of critical decisions, I think that's probably one of them," Quinn said of determining Ansah's future this offseason. "But that's something that once the new staff is in place, the new head coach, the scheme, all that's figured out, that's going to be factored in to what we do with Ziggy."

The market for Ansah will eventually set itself, and the Lions have options. They could re-sign him, obviously. There are also mechanisms in place, like the franchise or transition tags, that could come into play.

Ansah certainly helped himself this offseason with his performance to end the season, making Detroit's decision on what to do with him one of the critical ones for Quinn and Co. this offseason.

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