Ziggy Ansah made his preseason debut last week against Jacksonville after finally getting full clearance from doctors to return to action following offseason shoulder surgery.
Ansah played 11 snaps and finished with a quarterback hit, but what didn’t show up on the final stat sheet was a full repertoire of pass rushing skills on display in those reps.
Ansah showed terrific power on a couple of bull rushes, which is a good sign all of the power is back in his shoulder. He also caused some problems on a couple plays with a quick step and a burst coming off the edge. He even showed his athleticism on one particular play, jumping over an attempted cut block to stay in the play.
“He’s powerful. He has fresh legs and there was a surge when he came off the ball,” head coach Jim Caldwell said of Ansah’s debut performance.
“He did a nice job. The guy has some unusual skills and it was good to see him out there. When he gets a sack, which is something that I think will happen often times, they ended up doubling (Ndamukong) Suh on the inside, so you had three guys with one-on-one rushes.
Both Jones and Ansah met in the Jacksonville quarterback's face on that particular play.
Last Friday was the first time Caldwell got to see his prized young pass rusher up close in game action, and he didn’t come away disappointed.
“I think you’re going to see that often times with him, I think you’ll find it tough to not chip him or do something to get a little help because he’s disruptive,” Caldwell said.
Ansah led the all NFL rookies with eight sacks last year with a unique blend of power and athleticism. When the technical part of the game catches up with his athleticism, big things are in store for the second-year defensive end.
He missed all of the OTA and minicamp season in the spring because of the shoulder injury and spent the first two weeks of training camp on PUP. It’s yet to be determined how much the time off might have affected him, but he looked disruptive in limited action last week and he says he’s glad to be back and working his way into regular-season form.
“It was a good thing for me, personally, because I haven’t been out there for a minute,” Ansah said of getting some preseason action last week. “It was just good to be back and just be with the guys again.
“I didn’t really take a lot of snaps, but I was happy to be back out there.”