Posts Tagged ‘Ezekiel Ansah’

Six Hidden Matchups Between the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings

Saturday, December 13th, 2014
Kent Lee Platte
Last week the Detroit Lions secured their second winning record in a decade.  While that alone means a lot for the embattled franchise, even more important is the possibility, albeit a slim one, that the Lions secure their first NFCN title ever.  Coming into their week 15 match up against the Vikings, the Lions have a chance to move one step closer to securing a playoff berth and attempt to do what was once thought impossible for Detroit…win a playoff game.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though, and instead concentrate on the match up at hand.  More specifically, the hidden match ups!

Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah vs. Matt “Notafanofanalytics” Kalil

Recently, Matt Kalil has made some headlines over his criticism of the analytics site Pro Football Focus.  Now, I won’t go into the merits or flaws with PFF itself, I’ll only mention the common knowledge that the site’s grades have been quoted on NFL Network, ESPN, and a number of other reputable sources and is considered one of the frontrunners in football analytics.  Matt Kalil doesn’t think much of their grading system, which sees him as one of the worst players in the NFL and easily one of the worst tackles.  Kalil has somehow managed to allow 12 sacks all by himself this season.  Even if PFF’s grading system was as flawed as Kalil claims it is, he’s having a terrible season and should be man enough to admit it.

Since he isn’t, he’ll need someone to do the humbling for him.  No one was better at putting Matt Kalil to task than Ziggy Ansah was in their last match up.  Ansah beat Kalil like a dirty carpet, notching 2.5 sacks and something like 400 QB hurries (estimated).  The joke at the time was that Ansah broke Kalil.  If the struggling LT’s performance has been any indication, that might actually be right.  Ansah will square off against Kalil again, only this time he will be doing so at home with some of that Detroit noise to help him.  On top of giving up the most sacks, Kalil is also the most penalized tackle in the game.  This isn’t even really a “Hidden” match up, it’s only mentioned here because I expect it to be a hidden comedy in a football game.  Or a tragedy, if you’re a Vikings fan.

Calvin Johnson vs. Xavier Rhodes

The Vikings have not been good this season, but it shouldn’t take away from individual achievements.  Xavier Rhodes is quickly morphing into one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL, and has been fantastic in the second half of this season for the Vikings.  It isn’t a good thing, as a Lions fan, to see a divisional opponent land a good one, but it looks like Johnson will be finishing off his career having traded Tillman for Rhodes.  Johnson has been on fire since coming back from his injury, with only a short road to go to get over 1,000 yards for the sixth time in his career.

Johnson and Rhodes won’t always line up across from one another.  The addition of Tate, coupled with how Mike Zimmer runs his scheme, means that they’ll be the primary match up but not the only one.  What I mean to say is that Johnson should eat against the Vikings secondary.  It just won’t be against Rhodes, most likely.  If it is, however, we can probably completely table the “Calvin on the decline” talks for another season or two.

Matthew Stafford vs. Mike Zimmer

Speaking of Mike Zimmer, this isn’t the first time the Lions have lined up across from a Mike Zimmer defense.  The Bengals, then with Zimmer as defensive coordinator, beat the Lions 27-24 at Ford Field.  It was a heart breaking loss in a sloppy game, something Lions fans have been more than familiar with in their time. Stafford had success on the stat sheet against the Bengals, but in the game he struggled with, well, the normal things he struggled with in 2013 (Footwork, poise, etc.).  Zimmer has been working through a lot of issues on his team, but he’s been turning that defense around quickly, as expected, and he’s a strong defensive coach.

Stafford has been on fire the past couple of weeks.  It was one thing to light up the floundering Chicago Bears the way that he did,  it was another entirely to beat on the Buccaneers.  Now I know, the Bucs have a worse record and are in contention to be the top pick in the 2015 draft.  Their defense isn’t the reason why, however, and Stafford lit them up like a Christmas tree (Tis the season). The Vikings may be without several of their best defensive players in this match up, but I’m still betting this is going to be a tough match up for Stafford.

Glover Quin vs. Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater had a terrible outing against the Detroit Lions in their first match up.  The 8 sacks are the most quoted statistic, but his 3 interceptions is equally telling.  Bridgewater threw two interceptions to Tahir Whitehead and another to Glover Quin.  Since that time, however, Bridgewater has been opening up his playing style and attempting more downfield passes.  Those types of passes can mean more big plays, but against an opportunistic defense that can both bring pressure and cover it can mean more mistakes.

Quin is having a pro bowl season, though he’s unlikely to go this season due to name recognition.  Still, this is a game where I expect Quin to just explode.  He’s facing a rookie QB who had discovered his downfield throwing arm.  He has Suh in the middle and Ansah facing a turnstile tackle.  He has Slay playing lights out.  Ultimately, Bridgewater is going to try to challenge the Lions safeties at some point in this game.  I like Quin’s odds, and think a multiple interception game isn’t out of the question, even likely.

Jim Caldwell vs. Looking Ahead

Earlier this week, Aaron Rodgers mocked Stephen Tulloch’s injury, possibly while twirling his mustache and adjusting his monacle.  Rodgers is a caricature for Lions fans, a cartoon.  He’s in a league of his own in terms of talent and game play, but he’s just so darn unlikeable.  That doesn’t prevent Rodgers from being a leading MVP candidate.  And yet…the Detroit Lions and their Free Hurt defense straight up embarrassed Rodgers in their week 3 match up.  That’s like Harry Potter kicking Voldemort in the junk at the beginning of the first book/movie.  Doesn’t change the impression of the person…but it kinda does.

Jim Caldwell, by all indications, is paying attention to each game as they come.  He’s preached a week to week mentality that the team has seemingly bought into.  That said, it’s difficult to buy into the week to week thing as a fan.  It HAS to be tough as a player not to peek a little, especially when there’s a cackling scarecrow insulting your teammates out there.  Can Caldwell keep the team focused as they head into this week’s game?

Adrian Peterson…er…Jerick McKinnon?  No wait…  Matt Asiata vs. Free Hurt


Six Hidden Match Ups between the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Lions in london

Kent Lee Platte

A week later and many Detroit Lions fans still haven’t come down from the amazing comeback victory against the New Orleans Saints.  In the teams worst game statistically for the #1 ranked defense, many Lions fans actually left the game early while the home town team was down by two scores late in the 4th. Led by Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate, the team rallied and brought the game within one score. Glover Quin would then intercept Drew Brees and Stafford would lead a calculated drive ending in the first career TD for receiver Corey Fuller.  The defense held and the Lions won by a single point. This week, the team travels to London to face another NFCS team, the Atlanta Falcons. There are plenty of under the radar match ups to look forward to, and we’ll once again dig deep and find them. (more…)

Six Hidden Matchups Between the Lions and Panthers

Sunday, September 14th, 2014


By Kent Lee Platte

The first half of the Detroit Lions 2014 schedule was clearly the easiest portion of their schedule.  Finishing the season out on the road against divisional opponents all but ensured the second part of the season would be a brutal finish even if the Lions are winning.  Their first tough match up, however, comes only in their second game as they take on the Carolina Panthers, one of the surprise playoff teams of 2013.  Although it’s a playoff team, there are some questions that make this game not quite as clear cut as it would be otherwise. (more…)

Defensive Depth Chart Analysis

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Stephen Tulloch is the man in the middle of the Lions defense (photo courtesy

Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor
Last week we covered the offense, this week it’s the defense. The difference here is that the team has now had one rookie camp to help shuffle things up a bit.

Ziggy Plays Football…in Detroit

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Ziggy Ansah will wear #94 in Detroit

Jeff Risdon, DLD Editor

The Lions made the pick many of us predicted and chose Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, the raw athletic defensive end project from BYU. Ansah will start immediately at one of the defensive end spots.

Detroit became enamored with Ansah during Senior Bowl week, when they coached him on the South squad in Mobile. When I talked to a couple of different Lions coaches about Ansah after that week, both independently offered that they loved how fast he picked things up. They gave him a correction or technique to implement, and in a couple of reps he had it down. As an example, on Tuesday they asked him to do an inside spin move on Lane Johnson in individual pass rush drills. He couldn’t do it, and Johnson easily threw him aside. But Ziggy worked at it and when asked to do it the next day, he spun so fast that Johnson didn’t even have time to react to it and tried to block air. Interestingly it was just about the only individual win that Ansah had during those drills all week, but I saw that it made quite an impression at that time and that is clearly the case.

Here’s what Lions fans can expect from Ansah in 2013: a whole lot of plays where he does very little interspersed with two or three plays a game where you chest-bump your buddies and can’t believe that this is the same player who has done nothing for a quarter or two. That’s what Ansah is, a playmaker. The Lions desperately needed playmakers on defense, and they took the best available defensive playmaker. If you can learn to live with the “meh” quarters and plays where he looks out of place and relish in the forced fumbles, batted passes, and sacks where he plants Jay Cutler on his shoegazing heinie, you will love Ziggy Ansah.

This is the pick I would have made in the situation. I preferred either of the top two tackles or Dion Jordan, but they were gone. I’ll admit to letting out a huge sigh of relief when the Eagles took Lane Johnson, a player I found overrated but also one that I strongly believe Detroit would have selected in lieu of Ansah. The only other option at 5 was one of the guards, and I suspect the Lions gave more than passing consideration to taking Jonathan Cooper, the guard from North Carolina who ultimately went to Arizona at #7 overall. I never bought the Dee Milliner chatter, not even for a minute, and the vindication is sweet.

Ansah will wear #94 for the Lions, and he will be an integral part of the defense for years. His selection also shows a longer view from the front office, something we’ve discussed here earlier as well. The days of immediate gratification at the expense of long-term upside are done in Detroit. Even if Ansah ultimately flops, and there is certainly a chance he does, the Lions are a stronger organization for making a choice like this. Premium picks must be used on players who can become premium talents, not solid-but-unspectacular players with limited upside. With some luck this is the last time the Lions pick in the top 10 for some time, and they selected the player with the highest potential impact. The bust factor is inherent with that philosophy, but I’m okay with that. I would rather swing and miss than take a walk to first and have nobody who can move the runner around the bases, to cross sports metaphors. Ansah is a cleanup hitter, and the Lions defense needed someone to drive in the runs.

7-Round Mock Draft: Darren Page

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Where does Geno Smith land in Darren Page’s 7-round mock?

Darren Page, DLD Writer

This mock draft was written before the announcement of the Darrelle Revis trade, so keep that into consideration. Explanations stop at the conclusion of the fifth round, because explanations anywhere after are all going to be the same in effect: depth picks.

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