Linebacker or defensive end? Defensive end or linebacker? Through the first two weeks of the 2021 NFL season, Micah Parsons has proven he’s more than capable of excelling at either position. That could be both good and bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, because now they have to figure out how to best utilize his unique skill set in order to optimize his impact on the game.
Parsons isn’t a player the Dallas Cowboys can afford to pigeonhole to just one position this year. His ability to be a difference maker all over the field absolutely has to be tapped into. That means it might be a bit premature to name him the full-time starter at defensive end during DeMarcus Lawrence’s absence.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but the worst thing the Dallas Cowboys can do right now is to have Micah Parsons start full-time and defensive end for the next six-to-eight weeks while Lawrence is out. It’s not what’s in the best interest of No. 11 or what’s in the best interest of the overall defense either. In fact, it would probably be a major setback for everyone.
Tony Casillas and RJ Ochoa discussed whether or not the Cowboys should permanently move Micah to defensive end on the latest episode of The 75O on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our episodes! Apple devices can subscribe right here and Spotify users can subscribe right here.
It’s only been two games, but Parsons has already turned himself into a player defensive coordinators have to game plan for each and every week. Their job would be much easier if Parsons is pigeonholed to just playing DE, whereas it’s a lot more difficult to do as an off-ball LB. Parsons’ versatility absolutely needs to be tapped into or the Cowboys are doing both him and their defense at disservice.
Playing strictly DE opposing teams can always give a little extra attention to No. 11 by chipping him with a receiver, tight end, or running back. This is nothing new. It’s something that happens to the best pass rushers each and every week. Now that Parsons has proven his pass rushing prowess, it’s only a matter of time until it starts happening to him and that unfortunately would likely lessen his impact on the game.
Game planning for an off-ball linebacker is much more difficult to do. Not only do these players play in space, but they can be moved around a lot more pre-snap to make them more difficult to keep track of as far as blocking assignments are concerned. But, having Parsons play strictly LB right now during Lawrence’s absence doesn’t help the pass rush. So, what should the Dallas Cowboys do?
The answer to this question lies in Parsons’ versatility to play both positions equally effectively. Don’t be surprised if Dan Quinn plays Parsons at LB on early downs and slides him out to DE on obvious passing downs. This is more than likely the most logical way to get the best out of the Cowboys emerging superstar. Now we just have to wait to see if it is indeed what happens.