The Detroit Lions' coaching staff doesn't have the luxury of time when it comes to the development of first-round pick Ziggy Ansah. He may be relatively new to the game of football, but the Lions need Ansah to produce in 2013. He is expected to be a big part of their pass rush and defense as a whole, and the coaches can't afford for him to slowly pick things up. With there being a need to win this year, Ansah needs to be a big-time contributor in his rookie season.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz talked about Ansah's development last week and admitted that this is "all new to him." The Lions like that Ansah is "instinctive" on screens, reverses and plays like that, but the scheme is a new concept for him. While he did get some experience with the scheme at the Senior Bowl, there's a lot more to it than what he was taught in that week in Mobile, and the Lions need him to learn it quickly. Via the Free Press, here's more of what Schwartz said about Ansah:
"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.
"They’re not going to move our opener back because there’s a rookie that’s trying to get up to speed. And when you’re there, you’re not graded on the curve. You’re not graded on the rookie curve or the inexperienced player (curve). The final score is the final score. So there is urgency for him to get everything, but he’s done a good job so far."
A team like the San Francisco 49ers may have the luxury of not having to depend on immediate contributions from draft picks because they have so much talent coming back. The Lions are not in that situation, though. They really need immediate contributions out of at least their first three picks (Ansah, Darius Slay and Larry Warford), and they especially need Ansah to be ready to roll when the season starts. There's no doubt that there will be growing pains along the way and Ansah will get better over time, but the Lions need him to learn on the fly in 2013.