Dallas Cowboys: Where should Micah Parsons play in Week 3?
By Angel Torres
I know it doesn’t have to be said but what an impressive performance by Dallas Cowboys rookie superstar defender Micah Parsons. I cannot call him just a linebacker as he is the weapon the Cowboys desperately needed.
I think those of us who didn’t want a linebacker in the first round failed to calculate how this new coaching staff would employ him. I guess that is what the conservative approach of the Jason Garrett era taught us.
It could also be a byproduct of having both of your starting defensive ends out for a Week 2 contest. Who knows, maybe the Dallas coaching staff wanted to only rush Parsons in key moments. This staff just might have stumbled onto something they might have not anticipated.
Dallas Cowboys need to use the speed of Micah Parsons strategically in Week 3
There was no question Parsons had the ability to rush the passer coming out of college but I did not think Dan Quinn would move him to defensive end and allow him to rush the passer for most of the game.
I would like to know if the game plan was to move him around the defense but after showing how effective he was rushing the passer, they adjusted and kept him there all game. Hopefully, the Dallas media can ask that question sometime in the near future.
In the meantime, there is a question about where Micah Parsons should play and I have an opinion based on the team’s next two opponents.
First, Parsons should be used as a chess piece to move around and exploit weaknesses in a team’s offense. Who knew the Hard Knocks series was giving us a hint about Parson’s position flexibility.
The Cowboys host the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night for the Cowboys home opener. With Randy Gregory expected back and starting at his normal end position, the need for Parsons at defensive end shrinks.
At this point of the season, you have to see what your other defensive ends on this team can do. Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn knows what he has in Parsons and can employ him there at any time.
Second and most importantly, the Eagles like to run a lot of bubble screens, misdirections, and basically use short passes as a substitution for running the football. Rushing Jalen Hurts should not be as big of a priority.
As a matter of fact, there is concern about Hurts’ ability to exploit the middle of the field. I have to say the same thing about next week’s opponent, the Carolina Panthers. Sam Darnold has used Cristian McCaffrey as much as he can and has done a nice job with his short to intermediate passes so far.
We have yet to see Darnold consistently drop back and let it rip. After his tenure with the New York Jets, who can blame them. Carolina has the right approach as getting Darnold confidence should be a priority. Allowing Parsons to exploit their right tackle is a great way to destroy Darnold’s confidence.
Third, Micah Parsons was able to wreak havoc on backup tackle and recent XFL player Storm Norton. So much attention was paid to Cowboys tackle Terrence Steele that Norton flew under the radar.
Philadelphia has a right tackle in Lane Johnson that is better suited to combat the quicker defensive ends much like Micah Parsons. When Lane struggles, it is often due to power rushers rather than speed guys.
The Cowboys have benefited from having extra time to prepare for their opponents so far. Keeping Parsons at linebacker in back-to-back weeks on short rest could help Parsons learn more from actually playing the position.
Both of these teams use undersized position players to try and place as much stress on a defense. Asking corners to make tackles all night long could be a big ask. I am starting to gain confidence with these new safeties yet I would like to have Parsons speed as a failsafe.
Jaylon Smith played one of the best games he has played in a while yet he still graded out as a replaceable player in 2021 according to PFF metrics. If I was Philadelphia, I would prefer to have Jaylon Smith moving laterally than I would Micah Parsons.
As much as I want to see Parsons play defensive end, the need for his speed to combat the lateral game Philadelphia likes to employ will be much more needed. The only time I want to see Micah Parsons play defensive end against the Eagles would be in obvious pass situations only.