August 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Lions DE Ziggy Ansah might play Friday against Jaguars

Defensive end Ziggy is expected to be the Lions' top pass rusher this season after posting eight sacks as a rookie. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)

Allen Park — Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah is still working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, but coaches hope he can play in Friday’s exhibition against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field.

“He’s responded well,” coach Jim Caldwell said of Ansah, who was taken off the physically unable to perform list last Tuesday. “We got him in a little bit more scrimmage plays in practice. We increased them on a daily basis, so we’ll check with the doctors after today’s practice and see where he is. And hopefully he’ll be able to get some snaps.”

The fifth overall pick in 2013, Ansah is expected to be the Lions’ top pass rusher this season after posting eight sacks as a rookie.

Because he’s practiced for just a week, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin hasn’t seen enough to detail what Ansah needs to do to take the next step in his development, but his talent, explosion and speed have already been evident.

“I think for him it’s just going to be a matter of technique, continuing to work on his technique, because he’s still pretty young as a football player,” Austin said.

Ansah played just three years of football before coming to the NFL, joining the team at BYU as a sophomore after growing up in Ghana. Having seen what he did last year, Austin wants to watch Ansah in an exhibition game, but his health will determine what he can do Friday or next Thursday in Buffalo.

“We’d love to see him in game situations, but I think the most important thing is to get him to the regular season,” Austin said. “We’ve had him in some more practice situations this week, so we were able to ramp him up a little bit. We’ll just keep evaluating and see when it’s best to get him out there and get him going.”

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