Dallas Cowboys’ first-round pick Micah Parsons proved Sunday why he was the highest-rated defensive player on their board. After the team announced they’ll be without starting defensive ends Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence Sunday against LA, many assumed the team would find outside help to temporarily patch the loss of depth. However, Parsons became not only a temporary solution but one that may evolve into a permanent position.
Parsons finished with two tackles, a sack and four quarterback hits in his first start at defensive end. It seemed every passing play Parsons was causing Justin Herbert to either release the ball early or move outside the pocket. Parsons proved to be a disruptive force in what he says was the first time seeing major playing time at end since high school.
“Coach [Quinn] told me they were going to need me to step up big this week,” Parsons said. “I’m not going to deny an opportunity to get on the field.”
When asked how much he had to readjust to the position he responded with, “A lot of it was natural. Some people had a long day out there.”
Parsons was excited about the opportunity it gives defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to open up the playbook. Parsons played both inside and outside linebacker in week one, so showcasing he can be a disruptive pass rusher allows more unique defensive setups for Dallas. Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Keanu Neal and Jayron Kearse all spent time in the box while Parsons focused on the edge.
“Manipulating matchups and taking advantage of the looks they got out there is what makes football teams great,” Parsons said. “My main mindset is to be dominant. Every time I’m out there I want to make a play. Whether I’m rushing the quarterback or stuffing the run I want to be as dominant as possible.”
Parsons also addressed any doubt of him not being able to withstand the physicality of consistently playing end.
“As a competitor, I hate coming off the field,” Parsons said. “I told coach I need to get some linebacker play when we’re rotating defensive ends. I want to do it all. I’m embracing everything they’re throwing at me. The more I get on the field the more I can help us win.”
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