Cowboys News: Mike McCarthy health update, Dan Quinn shuts down Micah Parsons' position change

Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) looks on
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (11) looks on / Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys opened rookie minicamp on Thursday, so the likes of Mazi Smith, Luke Schoonmaker and Deuce Vaughn and the team's other drafted and undrafted players put on a practice uniform for the first time.

Unfortunately, Mike McCarthy was only present in a virtual capacity. ESPN's Todd Archer reported Saturday that the head coach underwent a back procedure last week. It's unclear when McCarthy will return to the team, but Archer noted it's not expected to be an extended absence.

McCarthy's health and recovery is paramount. The Cowboys will get a short break after minicamp, so the head coach's next opportunity to rejoin the team is May 22, which marks the start of voluntary organized team activities.

With ample head coach experience under his belt, Dan Quinn seemingly has been running practice while McCarthy gets back to full strength. Despite, that, though, McCarthy's impact and presence has been felt by the rookie class.

“We know what he’s going through and that he’s going to be back soon,” Cowboys third-round pick DeMarvion Overshown told ESPN. “He’s definitely been there, welcomed us like we were a vet.”

Cowboys' Mike McCarthy recovering from back procedure, Dan Quinn on Micah Parsons' position change.

Speaking of Dan Quinn, the defensive coordinator was asked about Micah Parsons' supposed transition to a full-time defensive end. Last week, Parsons told reporters he'd be absent from offseason workouts as he bulks up amid switching from an off-ball linebacker/edge rusher to a three-down edge.

Quinn, though, threw a bucket of cold water on that.

"He’s a pass-rushing linebacker. If you ever need position changes, come to me. What I think he was probably trying to say is, ‘I’m really emphasizing some pass rush into my offseason," Quinn said, via The Athletic's Jon Machota.

Perhaps Quinn and the Cowboys are trying to keep it under wraps that they're planning on Parsons playing all of his snaps as a pass rusher. It's worth noting Parsons was nearly a full-time edge last year (over 80% of his 2022 snaps came at DE), but what team would want to alert the league of its supposed plans for its best defender months ahead of time?

Parsons is an open book both on social media and behind the microphone, so it stands to reason Dallas wasn't thrilled the former Defensive Rookie of the Year spilled the proverbial beans five months before the new campaign.

Of course, the Cowboys simply could want to keep giving Parsons some snaps as an off-ball linebacker. The team isn't flush with depth at the position, even after the selection of Overshown in the third round. Still, though, it's painfully obvious Parsons is best served bull-rushing opposing quarterbacks.

There were times towards the end of last season where Parsons showed fatigue on the field. As an undersized edge, the former first-round pick has to exert more energy to navigate around offensive tackles relative to most DEs, which would explain why he's aiming to put on weight.

It's impossible to say what the Cowboys' plan for Parsons is, but Quinn's intercession makes for more conversation as we inch closer to training camp.

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