Cowboys Announce Decision After Micah Parsons Position Change Rumors

Micah Parsons

Getty Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after a sack.

The Dallas Cowboys have one of the most exciting young defensive players in the NFL in second-year linebacker Micah Parsons.

Parsons exploded onto the scene in his first NFL season, with his pass-rushing ability and sheer athleticism leading to a Defensive Rookie of the Year award as well as selections to the Pro Bowl and the first-team All-Pro squad.

However, his impressive performance has prompted an interesting question: should the linebacker be lining up as a linebacker? With 13 sacks and some of those coming from the former Penn State Nittany Lion lining up as an edge rusher, the idea of Parsons spending most of his snaps on the edge has been a relevant discussion this offseason.

Now, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is addressing the topic. McCarthy spoke with local and national media on March 29 and the topic of Parsons’ position came up. Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Gehlken Tweeted that McCarthy shot down the idea of the 22-year-old moving to defensive end permanently.

“Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy on LB/DE Micah Parsons: ‘He’s obviously unique. He’s special.’ Parsons won’t be a full-time DE in 2022. His versatility ‘is so important for us. …I know as an offensive guy, you’re helping me if you line him up at one position every time.'”

Having a versatile weapon on defense like Parsons is hard to beat, but sacking the quarterback is a vital goal for any NFL team. Finding the balance between those ideas will be crucial for McCarthy and Dallas.

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Cowboys Linebacker Dominates as a Rookie

In terms of first-year success, it simply doesn’t get better than Parsons’ 2021 season.

Despite coming out of college a year early, Parsons looked like a five-year veteran in 2021 as the Pro Football Reference numbers show. Besides his 13 sacks, he racked up 64 solo tackles and forced three fumbles. His 30 quarterback hits also showed that his pressure on the QB was consistent rather than the linebacker padding the stats with blitzes.

It’s also worth noting that Parsons was solid in pass coverage in his rookie year, which lends credit to McCarthy’s comments of versatility. The 22-year-old posted an opposing QB rating of 71.5. His missed tackle percentage of 10.6% was a bit higher than Parsons probably wanted, but the rookie had to have flaws somewhere in his game.

Now, Dallas has a dynamic player locked up for a few years at least. Making the most of his presence, whether that’s at linebacker or defensive end, will be crucial in 2022 and after.

McCarthy Also Addresses CeeDee Lamb

Besides talking about Parsons, McCarthy was also asked about another young talent in WR CeeDee Lamb. With the trade of Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns, Lamb is the de facto No. 1 pass-catcher on the roster.

The Cowboys head coach explained that it will be different for Lamb, but that it’s an opportunity to grow in multiple ways.

“Third-year Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb is entering first season without Amari Cooper in Dallas,” Gehlken Tweeted. “Mike McCarthy: ‘I think it changes his landscape on and off the field.’ Cooper was starting flanker. Now Lamb. ‘That’s the position where you have more primary receiver opportunities.'”

Lamb has lived up to his high-profile billing coming out of Oklahoma, totaling 2037 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in 32 games played. Considering he was splitting targets with Cooper and Michael Gallup, it will be interesting to see how being the No. 1 option will affect his production.

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