Despite missing all of training camp and the preseason to this point while on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, Ziggy Ansah is expected to be on the field and ready to go for the Detroit Lions' defense Week 1 vs. Arizona.
"I expect that Ziggy will be ready for Week 1," Lions general manager Bob Quinn said Tuesday.
Ansah is without question the Lions' top pass rusher even though his numbers took a dive last year. In 2015, he had a career-high 14.5 sacks, which was just a half sack from breaking Robert Porcher's franchise record. He earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl that season.
Last year, he had just two sacks, though he dealt with a high ankle sprain and other ailments most of the year.
When he was back to feeling more like himself later in the year, he had nine tackles, two sacks and hit Russell Wilson five times in the Lions' playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
When Ansah is removed from the PUP list and returns to practice, he'll certainly have to knock some of the rust off, but his presence on the field makes a huge difference for Teryl Austin's defense.
"There are only a few guys that have the kind of explosion, power, size that he has," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. "We don't have a lot of guys on our team like that genetically built the way he's constructed."
When Ansah is on the field and healthy, opposing offenses have to pay special attention to him. He creates one-on-one matchups for others, and is probably the most important player on Detroit's defense.
"I take it personally," Ansah said back in May of both his two-sack performance last season and Detroit's low sack total as team (26).
"I feel like I didn't do my job. That is what I'm paid to do. So, like I said, I'm really focused this year and excited for what we have coming up and it's definitely going to be better than last year."