Step aside Ziggy! The Detroit Lions have a new sack leader in the Motor City. Is this second-year defensive end the new Kerry Hyder Jr.?
The Detroit Lions are off to their best start since 2014, currently sitting 3-1 atop the NFC North division tied with the Green Bay Packers. And a reason for that early success has been the Lions ability to sack opposing quarterbacks.
The Lions current sit tied for 10th in the NFL in sacks with a team total of 12.0 through four games this season. Although the Motor City’s premier pass rusher, Ziggy Ansah, is directly responsible for 3.0 of those sacks, all of which he recorded against a porous New York Giants offensive line in Week Two, it’s actually second-year defensive end Anthony Zettel that currently leads the team in that category.
The 2016 sixth round selection out of Penn State recorded 2.0 sacks against the Minnesota Vikings, leapfrogging Ansah with a total of 4.0 sacks on the season so far. Zettel recorded a total of 13 tackles and 1.0 sack in 13 games all of last season.
Zettel joins a long list of unheralded pass rushers who have excelled under Teryl Austin’s defensive scheme. Just last season, undrafted defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. was on the roster bubble before a 3.0 sack performance in the final preseason game of the year earned him a spot on the active roster. Hyder would go on to lead the Lions with 8.0 sacks last season.
Ironically, Zettel replaced Hyder in the starting lineup after he suffered a season-ending Achilles in Detroit’s first preseason game. And the 25-year old pass rusher is making the most out of his opportunity.
Zettel joins a growing list of pass rushers like Hyder, Devin Taylor, Armonty Bryant, Jason Jones and George Johnson who have found success under Austin’s tutelage. Obviously, it also helps to play besides or opposite of talents like Ansah and former Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
It takes a village to make a great pass rusher. And Anthony Zettel is just the latest recipient of the pass rushing mantle in Detroit. And as long as the Lions keep winning, I’m fairly certain Ziggy Ansah is more than willing to give up that title.