The Detroit Lions announced that defensive end Ziggy Ansah will start training camp on the PUP List. Here’s why that’s not a big deal in Motown.
For the third time in his career since being drafted fifth overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, Detroit Lions elite pass rusher Ziggy Ansah will start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP). After struggling with several injuries the past few seasons, the 29-year old defensive end sitting out at least a portion of camp is no big deal and here’s why.
First, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Ansah is still recovering from offseason knee surgery. There is no timetable for when the sixth-year veteran may return. But his absence opens the door for others.
Defensive ends Kerry Hyder Jr., Anthony Zettel and Cornelius Washington are all expected to see more snaps in training camp in Ansah’s absence. And with the Lions introducing a new, much more versatile defensive scheme under new head coach Matt Patricia, this group behind the aging pass rusher will be that much more prepared come the regular season.
Hyder likely needs the extra time after sitting out all of last season due to an Achilles injury he suffered in the Lions’ opening preseason game. Two years removed from leading Detroit with 8.0 sacks in 2016, the 27-year old veteran needs those additional snaps.
But it’s Zettel who may benefit from Ansah’s absence the most. The former sixth-rounder out of Penn State exploded for 6.5 sacks last year in place of Hyder. Entering his third season in Detroit, Zettel could be the prime candidate to replace Ansah if he is able to improve on his sophomore performance.
And make no mistake. This could easily be Ansah’s final season in the Motor City. Currently playing on the franchise tag, Ziggy is vying for a longterm contract in 2019. Whether that be in Detroit or elsewhere. The Lions don’t appear eager to sign a 30-year old pass rusher to a lengthy and expensive new deal. So Ansah will have likely have to post a monster season to remain in Motown.
At the end of the day, Ziggy Ansah being placed on the PUP list to start training camp is no big deal for the Detroit Lions. In fact, it gives the young pass rushers around Ansah more opportunities to improve and potentially replace him come 2019.