“The Day in the D”, takes a look back at the five most important local sports stories of the past 24 hours.
1. Projecting Ziggy Ansah’s rookie year
What exactly do the Detroit Lions have planned for Ziggy Ansah in his rookie season? In an attempt to figure all that out, ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert took a look at the first NFL years of three recent pass-rushing prospects — all of whom were believed to need some seasoning, as Ansah does.
Seifert broke down the efforts of Jason Pierre-Paul, Aldon Smith and Bruce Irvin as rookies. The best of the bunch, by a wide margin, was Smith, who recorded 14.0 sacks. But none of the three was on the field for 500 snaps during the regular season, and the Lions might want to use Ansah in similar fashion.
2. Can Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg solve Anaheim’s third line?
Both the Ducks and Wings did their fair share of trying to match lines in Tuesday’s Game 1. Anaheim simply succeeded far more frequently.
Rather than pit their top line up against Detroit’s high-powered No. 1 unit of Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader, Anaheim rolled out its third line — Saku Koivu, Daniel Winnik and Andrew Cogliano — in hopes of shutting down the Wings’ best group. And the strategy paid off.
“They probably angered those two guys, and they’ll play a lot better next game,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said.
3. Andre Drummond finishes fourth in Rookie of the Year voting
Drummond, the ninth-overall pick in last year’s draft, was one of the bright spots in a frustrating and disappointing Detroit Pistons season that culminated in coach Lawrence Frank being let go. The big man out of Connecticut was given some props for his first-year effort, too, as he came in fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.
Exciting Portland point guard Damien Lillard took home the award, with New Orleans’ Anthony Davis in second and Washington’s Bradley Beal third.
Drummond missed a large chunk of the season due to a back injury, but he averaged 7.9 points and 7.6 rebounds — numbers that rose after he was handed a spot in the starting lineup down the stretch.
4. ESPN blogger to MSU fans: Stop complaining about Big Ten’s new divisions
ESPN.com Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg apparently has heard a lot of complaints from Michigan State fans ever since the Big Ten announced that the Spartans would be in the new East Division — alongside Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.
Rittenberg’s message is to follow in MSU AD Mark Hollis’ footsteps and look at this as an opportunity rather than a burden.
Rittenberg writes: Panic if you’d like, Spartan fans. Complain about the Big Ten’s bias against your school. Shout to the heavens about all the perks Ohio State and Michigan seem to get. It’s your right to do so.
Or you can embrace the challenge of the East division. Because there’s no better platform for Michigan State to find out exactly where its program stands right now.
5. Jaguars GM thrilled to land Denard Robinson
The Detroit Lions apparently just missed out on drafting Denard Robinson last weekend. Jaguars general manager David Caldwell is plenty happy about that, if recent reports are to be believed.
Caldwell recently raved about Robinson, both as a playmaker and teammate.
“Every time I go to Michigan, it just amazes me about how passionate he is about football, how loved he is at that school amongst his teammates and how he just goes about his business,” Caldwell said. “You watch that guy practice and he has fun. Not only does he have juice on the field in terms of his speed and play-making ability but just juice in the building.”