How have Seahawks’ Ansah and Green improved the last two weeks?
Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny isn’t the only player who has emerged over Seattle’s last two games. Defensive ends Rasheem Green and Ziggy Ansah have stepped their games up, which comes at a crucial time for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks are in the home stretch of their season and fighting for a first-round playoff bye, but star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney isn’t 100 percent healthy due to a hip and core injury. Clowney played against the Minnesota Vikings Monday night in the Seahawks’ 37-30 victory, but was inactive the week before against the Philadelphia Eagles. That game in Philadelphia was when we saw Green and Asnah start to step up.
Green was a third-round pick in 2018 and didn’t contribute much as a rookie, but he had a sack and a forced fumble against the Eagles. He followed that up with another forced fumble against the Vikings.
Ansah was a free agent signing for Seattle this past offseason after a lot of success with the Detroit Lions, but he has battled a shoulder injury and had just one sack through the team’s first 10 games. He had 1.5 sacks against the Eagles to go along with a forced fumble, and he had three quarterback hits and a deflected pass versus the Vikings.
Both defensive ends have also made plays in the run game as well.
So what’s changed with Ansah and Green over the last few weeks?
Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy said for Green, there’s been some change in technique.
“I see Rasheem Green playing with much better leverage, understanding his assignment and role and gap responsibilities and being to anchor down and hold them in the run game,” Heaps said. “I also see him using his power in the passing game, meaning that he’s going to be able to get underneath the pads of the tackles and being able to drive them back into the quarterback.”
For Ansah, he’s been healthier the last few weeks than he was at any point previously in his Seahawks tenure. The shoulder injury has clearly hampered his strength, and he has also been playing roughly 15 pounds lighter than preferred.
“I think those last two weeks and during the bye was huge for Ziggy to get himself right, healthy and being able to contribute,” Heaps said.
Heaps thinks Ansah getting less snaps may have lit a fire under the former Pro Bowler.
“(That’s) a little motivating factor to get his body right,” Heaps said. “And because he’s been able to do that, you see a much more explosive Ziggy Ansah, who was able to get three significant quarterback hurries on (Vikings quarterback) Kirk Cousins, and he was so close to generating more sacks.”
Heaps said Seahawks fans should be happy about the improving defensive line thanks to the recent play of Ansah and Green.
“You love the trajectory of both of those players, and it makes your defensive line rotation so much better than earlier in the season,” Heaps said.
If those two continue to play like they have the last two weeks, the Seahawks’ defensive line will be arguably one of the most feared in the NFL going forward. Green, Ansah and Clowney are paired with fellow lineman Jarran Reed, Quinton Jefferson, Poona Ford and Al Woods, who have all had impressive moments over the last three games.
Listen to Heaps’ thoughts at this link or in the player below.