The crash course started at rookie minicamp earlier this month and continued with OTAs last week, and over the next 100 or so days, before they open the season against the Vikings, the Lions will try to cram as much football into first-round pick Ziggy Ansah as humanly possibly. For now, the lessons are in the beginning stage, with Ansah still trying to master pass-rushing technique three years after he first picked up football and with only nine college starts under his belt. “It’s all new to him,” coach Jim Schwartz said last week. “We did talk about how Ziggy was an inexperienced player, but he was very instinctive playing things like screens and reverses and some trap blocks and draws and things like that that you would think an inexperienced player would struggle on. He did well on all those things. “But our scheme is a lot different. It helped that we had him a week at the Senior Bowl. He got introduced to some of the techniques that we play. But all our rookies, their heads are spinning right now. A lot’s being asked of them.” And especially of Ansah. The Lions are counting on the fifth overall pick to start at right defensive end this fall and bring a pass-rushing presence to a line breaking in two new starters. They let Cliff Avril walk in free agency, released Kyle Vanden Bosch after the Super Bowl and showed little interest (in part because they had little cap room) on the host of big-name veterans who lingered on the secondary free-agent market this spring. If Ansah is slow in his development, the Lions will be forced to lean on two players opposite Jason Jones who combined for zero sacks last year, Willie Young and Ronnell Lewis. Schwartz said all of the Lions rookies had “a lot of catching up to do, and Ziggy’s the same way,” although he wouldn’t estimate how long it would take Ansah to refine his all-important technique. “I do think that’s a constant process,” Schwartz said. “I think if you asked veteran players along our defensive line, they’d always say they’re working on their technique. But, I mean, he doesn’t have a lot of time. None of our rookies have a lot of time.
Detroit Lions' Jim Schwartz: Ziggy Ansah raw, but still 'very instinctive'
Detroit Free Press | May 27