Skip to main content

Ansah will be 'floating around' in new defense

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah wasn't in much of a talking mood when the subject of his contract status was brought up after Tuesday's mandatory minicamp practice at Allen Park.

"You all will be the first to know if anything happens," Ansah said.

He was a little more chatty, however, when the questions steered toward Detroit's new-look defense and what his role within it might be.  

Head coach Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni plan to be very multiple in their fronts and looks, and that means a player like Ansah, who is one of the most athletically gifted players in the league, expects to move around and play a number of different roles.

"We keep adding plays each and every day," Ansah said after Tuesday's practice. "Obviously, I'm not going to be playing just one position. I'll definitely be floating around."

To have a 6-foot-5, 275-pound athlete, who ran the 200-meters in college in under 22 seconds, is certainly a nice luxury in a multiple-look defense. Remember Ansah tracking down Adrian Peterson 50 yards down the field a couple seasons back? He's quick, strong and fast.

His athletic traits should allow the Lions to play him inside or outside along their front, and even stand him up as a floating pass rusher to take advantage of certain matchups. The point is, the Lions have a lot of options with Ansah.

How exactly that may look has yet to be observed during the open OTA a couple weeks back or at Tuesday's minicamp practice, because Ansah hasn't done much in the way of drill work or team portions of practice. He played through a number of nagging injuries last season, including a bothersome knee, and the Lions are being cautious with him.

"I'm just adhering to what the medical staff and coaches are asking of me," Ansah said.

Patricia doesn't seem to mind taking it slow with his talented pass rusher this offseason.

"He's another guy that we're just training and taking along to where we think whatever he can do from that standpoint," Patricia said. "Every guy's got this particular plan. We're just trying to get them all better. It's the spring time so we're trying to improve."

Despite the injuries, Ansah still managed to lead the Lions with 12 sacks last season in 14 games. He closed out the season with a three-sack, four-tackle, five-quarterback hit performance against the Packers in a Week 17 victory.

Ansah has the most sacks (44) for a Lions player through his first five seasons. He's fifth on the team's all-time list. When healthy, he's one of the best pass rushers in the league, and he's expected to be an important element in Patricia's new defense in Detroit.

Ansah said his goals right now are to build chemistry with his new teammates and learn a "huge" playbook. Everything is new on that side of the ball, and that should be exciting for players like Ansah.

"We all know what (Patricia) did with his defense (in New England) previously," Ansah said. "We're just trying to get a feel of him as a coach. The team is trying to bond. I'm just coming out here to work hard and get better each day."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content