You don’t need me to tell you that Ziggy Ansah doesn’t look like his old self. Ansah has just one sack in six games with the Seattle Seahawks this season, and it’s not like he’s had many near misses, either.
Pro Football Focus has given Ansah a grade of just 55.0 on the season. His pass rush grade is even lower at 48.6. Ansah has just nine total pressures, according to PFF, and four of them came in Week 4 against the Cardinals. Ansah had just one pressure against the Saints, Rams and Falcons, and he had zero against the Bucs last Sunday.
Offseason shoulder surgery took a huge toll on Seattle’s pass rusher, so big that Pete Carroll said Ansah still isn’t back to 100%.
“He’s still battling physically to get back to right,” Carroll told reporters on Thursday. “He still hasn’t gained all of his weight yet. He’s still in the 250s. He is on a regimen to continue to get stronger and to keep working to get back to full go. The offseason took a big toll on him – not being able to use his shoulder and not being to run and do stuff that he needed to do.”
Ansah’s lack of overall strength has diminished his ability to get to the quarterback. Carroll said he’d like to see Ansah gain at least another 10 pounds and get to 270.
“It’s still a developmental campaign to get him back to full go. He plays really hard and he’s smart and he does things right. I think the production should show. It should come up. We’re going to stay after it.”
Seattle desperately needs Ansah and the rest of the defensive line to take a significant step forward. The Seahawks have gotten just nine collective sacks from defensive linemen through nine games. Jadeveon Clowney, Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson are the only players on the d-line with two sacks.
Any improvement feels like it has to start with Ansah. Seattle signed the veteran to be its top pass rusher in the wake of trading Frank Clark to Kansas City. Teams are currently doubling Jadeveon Clowney without consequence.
It’s hard to imagine that changing unless Ansah gets going.
“It would be helpful, yeah,” Carroll said when asked about the importance of getting production out of Ansah. “We need juice out of all of our guys really. Everybody’s got to add to it to get us moving ahead. We haven’t made enough progress there yet.”
Seattle isn’t putting all of its chips in the Ansah’s basket. The Seahawks also utilize their linebackers heavily in the pass rush, especially in recent weeks.
Mychal Kendricks leads the team with three sacks. Bobby Wagner also has sacks in back-to-back games. If Seattle can’t get home with a four-man rush, it will continue to be liberal when it comes to blitzing.
“However we have to generate it, we’ll do it,” Carroll said.
The entire pass rush will have a hard time getting to 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on Monday. San Francisco has allowed just 12 sacks all season and figured to get its two starting tackles back in Week 10 – left tackle Joe Staley and right tackle Mike McGlinchey.