Ziggy Ansah has been on the injury report just about every week this year with an assortment of different ailments. For a second straight season, the ultra-talented defensive end just hasn’t been able to shake the injuries.
Despite them, however, Ansah’s still found a way to be productive in spots this season. He recorded three sacks in games vs. Cincinnati last week and against the New York Giants Week 2. He has nine sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 13 games this season.
“I’ve been dealing with a lot all year long and I’m just happy that I’m able to come out and produce and help my team,” Ansah said.
“I just come in every week and practice and do the best that I can just to help my team and put my team in a better position to win a game. It’s not all about the stats, the win is what’s most important to me.”
The Lions have an interesting decision to make on Ansah’s future this offseason. He’s an unrestricted free agent, and most websites that track free agents list Ansah among the best available this offseason.
The Lions could ultimately re-sign their talented pass rusher. The franchise and transition tags could also be in play.
When asked about his future this week, Ansah said he's focused on Sunday’s game, and would start to think about his future after the season is over.
He is confident, though, he can get beyond the injuries that have plagued him the last two seasons and get back to being the dominant player he was in 2015, when he led the NFC in sacks with 14.5.
“I just know the kind of player I am and what I give on the field,” Ansah said. “I’ll be back to normal.”
PLENTY TO PLAY FOR
There’s a lot of things Lions players are playing for Sunday vs. Green Bay. It won't be for a chance at the playoffs, like they hoped for, but there’s pride. It’s also one of just 16 opportunities to put a performance on tape. It’s also an opportunity for the young players to continue to get better.
But let’s also be real for just a moment, there’s some statistical motivation the final week of the season. At least there is for veteran receiver Golden Tate.
In each of his first three seasons in Detroit, Tate has recorded at least 90 catches. Heading into Sunday, he’s at 85.
Tate’s recorded two 1,000-yard seasons in his previous three with the Lions. He needs 101 yards vs. Green Bay to reach the mark again. In doing so, he’d give the Lions their first 1,000-yard pair of receivers (Marvin Jones Jr. has 1,020 on the year) since 2014.
“Absolutely,” Tate said this week of those being goals of his Sunday. “At this point, I’d love to get to 1,000 yards, and 90-plus catches for the fourth straight season. At this point, you want to win, but also why not (get to some statistical milestones).”
Ansah’s three-sack performance last week in Cincinnati put him on the cusp of double-digit sacks with 9.0. He said this week he’d like one more to reach the double-digit mark.
“I think every defensive end’s dream is to get double-digit sacks,” Ansah said. “So yeah, if you want to know, I have thought about it.”
Safety Quandre Diggs is looking for a fourth straight contest with an interception.
SWANSON TO IR
For a second straight year, starting center Travis Swanson has had his season ended by a concussion.
Missing the last two games after suffering a concussion vs. Tampa Bay Week 14, Swanson returned to practice as a full participant on Wednesday, but missed Thursday's practice with what the team listed as a concussion on the practice report.
Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said Swanson just never completely cleared the symptoms from his latest concussion, and was placed on season-ending injured reserve Friday morning.
Swanson missed the last four games of the regular season and Detroit’s playoff game in Seattle last season with a concussion. Expect second-year player Graham Glasgow to take Swanson’s place in the starting lineup for a third game in a row Sunday vs. Green Bay.
Swanson is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Detroit has selected quarterback Matthew Stafford (offense), safety Glover Quin (defense) and safety Don Carey (special teams) to represent them as captains for the season finale against Green Bay Sunday at Ford Field.