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NOTEBOOK: Ansah confident in Lions' pass rush

There have been concerns raised among the Detroit Lions faithful about the lack of pass rush we've seen from Detroit's defense throughout the course of the preseason.

The Lions have generated just one sack in three preseason games, and their pass rush is currently graded 27th by Pro Football Focus.

Adding veteran Eli Harold to the front seven this week is further evidence Lions GM Bob Quinn is continually on the lookout for ways to get more out of the pass rush.

The one big mystery when it comes to Detroit's rush this year is how much scheme will play a part in generating it, and how the pressure and coverage will marry together within head coach Matt Patricia's multiple scheme.

It's really the big unknown to anyone not in the defensive meeting rooms or seeing how it's coming together on the practice field.

Ziggy Ansah is expected to be a big component of Detroit's pass rush. He didn't seem too worried when asked Tuesday about Detroit's ability to rush the passer this season. He's confident the defense will be able to pressure opposing passers when they start scheming to do so.

"Obviously, it's going to be a dynamic scheme," Ansah said after practice Tuesday. "We're going to do any and everything, so just wait until the season and you'll find out. I'm excited about it."

Patricia was the defensive coordinator in New England last year, and the Patriots ranked seventh in the NFL in sacks with 42 and had 15 different players record at least one sack from all three levels of their defense.

Ansah was Detroit's leading pass rusher last season with 12 sacks. He's not likely to play in Thursday's preseason finale vs. Cleveland, which means he should be healthy and ready to go heading into the regular season opener vs. the Jets. Sept. 10th.

"I just have to take care of my job," Ansah said. "There's going to be four, five, six pass rushers that are going to be in at the same time and everybody has to do their job. We're going to be straight."


Matt Cassel has been in the NFL a long time, and has played both the backup and starter quarterback roles. This is his 14th season. He has 106 games and 81 starts under his belt.

He and third-year quarterback Jake Rudock have been locked in a tight battle throughout the entire offseason, training camp and now preseason, with one final chance to impress Thursday night in the preseason finale.

"You just have to go out and compete," Cassel said. "It makes everyone a little bit better, especially when you get that competition going. At the same time, you have to put in the study that's required and it's a process."

Cassel said the goal vs. Cleveland is to go out and execute, put points on the board, and get into a rhythm on offense.

If he does that, he hopes it's enough to earn him a backup role on this team. Throughout his 14 years of experience, he knows how important the backup role can be to the success of the guy ahead of him.

"We spend so much time with each other on a daily basis," Cassel said of the starter and backup. "People don't realize that. You have to get along with that guy. Be a sound barrier at times. At the same time, you have to be prepared. That's just part of this role and I think it's an important one."

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Aug. 28, 2018.


Tight end Luke Willson and center Graham Glasgow returned to the practice field Tuesday after sitting out Monday. It was Willson's first practice since injuring his knee in Tampa last week.

Defensive end Robert Ayers' stay with the team turned out to be a brief one. After signing Monday and taking part in practice, Ayers was missing from both the practice field and locker room Tuesday. The team announced his release shortly after the open locker room period.

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