As Cowboys rookies toil in the NFL’s offseason, there has been one player who seemingly stood out among them all. Micah Parsons is a rookie that no longer feels like a rookie and his potential gives fans hope for what will happen in 2019.
FRISCO, Texas (KTRK) — Micah Parsons and the Dallas Cowboys have had an almost perfect fit thus far.
The rookie linebacker (or defensive end, depending on the situation) thrives in the limelight, and few teams in the NFL attract more attention, good or bad, than the Cowboys.
The bright lights will find Parsons on Thursday night in the Caesars Superdome against the New Orleans Saints (8:20 p.m. ET, Fox/NFL Network).
“I mean, all eyes should be on me,” Parsons said. “It’s not going to impact my preparation or whatever I’ve done since I’m already prepared for the situation. Some folks are just made for it. I feel I was made for it, and I was just given the opportunity to perform in that manner.”
The attention that comes with playing for the Cowboys may be overpowering. Every action is scrutinized both on and off the field. Some players are able to handle the pressure. Others wilt as a result of their sensitivity. Parsons, the No. 12 overall choice in the 2021 draft, has performed well.
Coach Mike McCarthy said the Cowboys use a character analysis in scouting reports to determine if draftees can handle the demands of the NFL.
McCarthy, who has previously worked for the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, and Kansas City Chiefs, stated, “It’s quite different working for the Dallas Cowboys.” “It’s a one-of-a-kind spotlight.”
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The outcomes have been notable.
He set a season best with four tackles for loss in the first game following the bye against the Minnesota Vikings. He recorded seven tackles and 2.5 sacks in a defeat to the Denver Broncos a week later. Against the Atlanta Falcons, he recorded another sack and another tackle for loss.
Against the Chiefs, he recorded two more sacks and a forced fumble. According to ESPN Stats & Information, he ended with 12 pressures, which ties him with Nick Bosa and J.J. Watt for the most in the previous five seasons.
He recorded a tackle for loss and a sack on consecutive plays in overtime against the Raiders on Thanksgiving, but a pass interference call on third-and-18 kept the Raiders’ game-winning drive alive.
Quinn remarked, “Micah has continued to make huge plays for us in big time occasions.” “As a result, we rely on him for that.”
“In that time, I feel like I should shine,” Parsons remarked. “That was the moment I wanted to be in. The play was something I really wanted to do. That was something I wanted on my back. I’m not going to avoid it. Those are the moments I live for because they are the ones you will remember for the rest of your life.”
Parsons has has 67 tackles and 9.0 sacks on the season, and he’s on pace for 103.5 tackles and 14 sacks. While he will play a 17-game season, Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Bruce Smith was the last player to achieve both milestones in a season in 1993. Parsons is the 12th rookie since 1999 to record at least nine sacks and 15 tackles for loss in a season, with Von Miller (10.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 2011 for Denver) being the only rookie defender with more through 11 games.
“What stands out to me is his hand use, which is highly polished in terms of technique, and then you see his high-level qualities,” said former NFL safety Matt Bowen, who now works as an analyst for ESPN’s NFL Matchup program. “Many men possess high-level characteristics. They’re fast, but they can’t get to the quarterback because they can’t separate themselves. You can observe it with Micah Parsons before moving on to his high-level characteristics. His bending ability is ridiculous. For pass rushers, short-area speed is much more crucial than long-area speed. Then you’re done when he shuts his eyes.”
In a big way. @MicahhParsons11 breaks the rookie sack record for the @DallasCowboys!
: NFL app pic.twitter.com/2nuc6yuDt2 #LVvsDAL on CBS
November 26, 2021 — NFL (@NFL)
Parsons’ 9.0 sacks are a team rookie record, surpassing DeMarcus Ware’s total from 2005 but tying Willie Townes (1966) and Harvey Martin (1973) before sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Since Sean Lee had 13 tackles for loss in 2017, Parsons has the most tackles for loss of any Dallas defense. His 6.5 sacks in November are tied for second most in a single month in franchise history. In October of 2011, Ware had seven.
Saints coach Sean Payton stated, “He pops off the tape at you.” “He’s particularly outstanding while rushing at the end position, in my opinion. Obviously, he does the same thing as linebacker. But I believe he’s a handful when he gets on the tackles and rushes. You may watch him playing in various locations in various games. Clearly, he’s a good match for their system.”
According to ESPN Metrics/NFL Next Gen Stats, Parsons is the only player in the top 15 in pass rush win rate and run stop win rate this season, out of 109 players with at least 100 pass rushes and 100 run stop plays.
At this point, Defensive Rookie of the Year seems to be a foregone conclusion. Isn’t there a category for Defensive Player of the Year? Lawrence Taylor (1981), a Hall of Famer with the New York Giants, is the only rookie to receive the honor.
Some of it will depend on the Cowboys’ ability to break out of their current rut, which has seen them lose three of their last four games. Some of it will hinge on how the other current candidates, such as Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams, Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns, Matthew Judon of the New England Patriots, and, potentially, Cowboys teammate Trevon Diggs, who leads the NFL in interceptions, perform in the final six weeks.
The majority of it will be determined by Parsons’ performance, particularly as the games become more important.
“Because of the output,” Bowen added, “I believe he can.” “On top of that, if [you] had a conversation with someone and said, “Who is the greatest edge rusher?” a lot of people would say Myles Garrett, and I’d agree with that. Is Micah Parsons next if Myles Garrett is removed? That is, in my opinion, a solid argument.”
The Cowboys have one more prime-time game after the Saints’ game on Dec. 26 against the Washington Football Team. They meet the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals a week later in a contest that may decide postseason placement.
As the games get more meaningful, Parsons will receive more attention. He doesn’t mind at all.
“At the end of the day,” Parsons added, “it’s just football.” “It’s something I’ve done my entire life, and people have always enjoyed seeing me play football. It’s just a couple of additional eyeballs.”