The Detroit Lions spent too much of last year without their star defensive end, Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah at 100%. The Lions announced that Ziggy will be placed on the Physically Unable to Participate (PUP) list ahead of training camp. The team claims it’s only precautionary. Hopefully for the Lions defense, that’s the case. Given the challenges that Detroit has faced, they can’t take another hit.
Ansah started his career with Detroit in 2013 and was a rising star throughout his first three seasons, increasing his overall production every season. He had his most impressive season in 2015, racking up 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 47 tackles and a colossal 14.5 sacks. That kind of guy on the line makes for a bad day for opposing offenses.
In week 3 of the 2016 season, Ansah suffered a groin injury. He sat out for a few games throughout the season to recuperate and ended up playing 13 games in total. Ultimately, his coaching staff irresponsibly let him play through the injury, which would seem like a fair explanation as to why he’s still not at 100%.
If the Lions don’t have that sort of play maker in their front seven, they’ll be forced to rely on either their secondary or another run of Matthew Stafford game closing drives.
Whatever options may be available to the Lions, whether it’s Kerry Hyder, Anthony Zettel or rookie Alex Barrett, the production doesn’t look comparable to what Ansah can provide. But players have breakout years all the time so perhaps this is Hyder’s. He was able to accumulate 8 sacks last year as Ansah’s backup, so with more time on the field, anything is possible on any given Sunday.
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