Sack-less Ansah still a focal point for Lions' opponents

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park -- This hasn't been the season expected of Ziggy Ansah.

Ziggy Ansah is still looking for his first sack of the season.

Appearing to be on the cusp of superstardom after falling just short of the franchise record for sacks last season, the Detroit Lions defensive end is still looking for his first sack in 2016.

His impact has been hindered by a high ankle sprain that essentially sidelined him half of the team's eight games, but in the four he's played, he's recorded just six tackles. Still, opponents aren't taking the former first-round pick lightly.

"He figures (into our game plan) immensely," Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "He’s a very, very good player. We know his ability level. I know he’s been injured a little bit, but we certainly respect him as a football player and the way that he plays."

Lions coach Jim Caldwell acknowledged Ansah had to knock off some rust after returning from the ankle injury, but said the athletic edge rusher is having an impact that goes beyond the box score.

"I think he’s been giving us several assists along the way. Maybe like hockey, but you know, he has to be dealt with," Caldwell said. "He’s a force and I just think maybe the first week or so he got maybe a little bit rusty, but I think without question he’s still who he is."

Caldwell expects the sacks will come sooner than later. Ansah has recorded 30 for his career and never fewer than 7.5 in a season.