Lions prepping Ziggy Ansah for versatile defensive role

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — It's not that Ziggy Ansah has never lined up anywhere other than right defensive end, but Detroit Lions fans should get used to seeing the former Pro Bowler line up at a number of different spots far more often this season. 

Not that he didn't warn us about that change. 

It appears Ziggy Ansah (left) will line up at more than just defensive end under new Lions head coach Matt Patricia.

"Obviously, I’m not going to be playing just one position," Ansah said back in June. "I will be floating around.”

Since being activated off the physically unable to perform list a little more than a week ago, Ansah has been working in various roles, from his standard four-point stance on the right edge, to stand-up rusher in the second level, to dropping into coverage, and, as of this week, an interior rusher. 

“I think he’s obviously a tremendous player and causes some different issues across the board," Lions coach Matt Patricia said. "So, getting an advantage, or getting an opportunity to look at him in some of those different alignments, I think, is good for us.

"I don’t really know what it’s going to shape out to be when we get to the regular season, but, from a standpoint of just giving him some different ways to pressure an offense or put the offense under duress, is always a good thing for us," Patricia said. 

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Patricia's defense is predicated on positional flexibility and attacking weaknesses. It would only stand to reason the coach would be looking for ways to utilize one of his most physically gifted players to exploit an opponent's vulnerability. 

Ansah is coming off back-to-back seasons where he battled durability issues. He still managed to finish last season with a flurry, recording three sacks in each of the final two games, giving him 12 on the year. 

The Lions slapped the franchise tag on Ansah this offseason. The one-year contract will pay him $17.1 million. The two sides were unable to reach an agreement on a long-term extension before last month's deadline and he's set to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

Lions vs. Giants

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Ford Field

TV/radio: Fox 2/WJR 760

Records: Lions 0-1, Giants 0-1