Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared in the most recent game, along with trends and stats for the rest of the season.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The return of Detroit’s first-round draft pick made a different and that was the only significant playing-time change for the Lions' rookies this week.
Ziggy Ansah returned to the lineup at defensive end and sacked Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Mike Glennon twice during the Lions’ 24-21 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday. He had the best performance of any Detroit rookie and continued his pretty good season.
Here’s a look at how Ansah and the rest of the Lions' rookies fared in Week 12.
DE Ziggy Ansah (first round, BYU): After two weeks away, Ansah returned to the Detroit lineup Sunday and had an immediate impact. He sacked Glennon twice and generally caused havoc for the Buccaneers. His presence gave the Lions the pressure on the line a spark they had been missing the past few weeks of the season. He played 40 snaps and was on the field 77 percent of the time for the Lions, right around the same numbers as Detroit’s other starting defensive end, Willie Young.
Ansah’s snap percentages after the opener, when he was recovering from injury:
Arizona -- 70 percent; Washington -- 62 percent; Chicago -- 68 percent; at Green Bay -- 72 percent; Cleveland -- 75 percent; Cincinnati – 70 percent; Dallas -- 21 percent; at Chicago -- DNP/injured; Pittsburgh -- DNP/injured; Tampa Bay -- 77 percent.
CB Darius Slay (second round, Mississippi State): Slay was primarily a special-teams player Sunday with 18 snaps, but he also had six snaps on defense, mostly after Chris Houston was injured. He had one assisted defensive tackle and one assisted special-teams tackle. He was also flagged once for defensive holding in the fourth quarter.
RG Larry Warford (third round, Kentucky): Warford played all 76 snaps on offense for Detroit as the Lions let Matthew Stafford be sacked twice and hit four times. Pro Football Focus has two quarterback hurries charged to Warford, only the second time this season the site has said Warford has allowed Stafford to be hurried more than once in a game. He still hasn’t missed an offensive snap for the Lions this season.
DE Devin Taylor (fourth round, South Carolina): With Ansah returning, Taylor’s snap count decreased somewhat dramatically. The rookie played 12 snaps on defense Sunday (23 percent) and didn’t record a statistic. He was largely ineffective in his smaller role with Detroit this weekend.
P Sam Martin (fifth round, Appalachian State): Martin had two of his four kickoffs go for touchbacks but the biggest thing was a punt was blocked -- his first of the season. After the game, Martin said he needed to watch film to understand exactly what happened. His average on his punts was 50.3 yards gross (33 yards net) and he placed one inside the 20-yard line. Martin really had no chance on the blocked punt. Danny Gorrer came in unblocked from the right side of the line after sneaking over from the outside and got to Martin untouched.
RB Theo Riddick (sixth round, Notre Dame): Riddick tipped a punt on special teams as part of his 18 special-teams plays. He had two total snaps on offense but did not receive a carry or a target.
TE Joseph Fauria (undrafted, UCLA): The No. 2 tight end had nine snaps -- his lowest since Week 5 -- but made them count. He caught the only pass thrown to him for a 10-yard touchdown. It was an impressive catch as well as he grabbed the ball in the corner of the end zone and was able to get both feet down in time. A good effort overall considering how little he played.
A brief look at Fauria’s tracking:
Week 1 -- three targets, three catches, one touchdown, 14 percent of snaps (11 plays).
Week 2 -- no targets, no catches, 10 percent of snaps (six plays).
Week 3 -- three targets, one catch, one touchdown, 18 percent of snaps (12 plays).
Week 4 -- no targets, no catches, 20 percent of snaps (13 plays)
Week 5 -- no targets, no catches, 13 percent of snaps (9 plays)
Week 6 -- three targets, three catches, three touchdowns, 31 percent of snaps (23 plays)
Week 7 – four targets, one catch, 40 percent of snaps (31 plays)
Week 8 -- no targets, no catches, 19 percent of snaps (15 plays)
Week 10 -- two targets, one catch, 23 percent of snaps (14 plays)
Week 11 -- two targets, one catch, 27 percent of snaps (20 plays)
Week 12 -- one target, one catch, one touchdown, 12 percent of snaps (9 plays)
OT LaAdrian Waddle (undrafted, Texas Tech): It is becoming more and more clear Waddle is going to be the starter going forward for the Lions at right tackle. He played every snap again next to Warford. He was credited by Pro Football Focus as allowing two quarterback hurries but didn’t allow Stafford to get hit once.