Micah Parsons is a versatile player who can do it all for the Dallas Cowboys. But the contrast between his performance against the Green Bay Packers and the one versus the Minnesota Vikings leaves one thing clear.
The Cowboys defender is better off rushing the passer. After playing only 10 defensive snaps at the defensive end last week, Parsons was back at the line of scrimmage for most of the game against the Vikings.
He finished the game with five QB hits, two sacks, a forced fumble, and one tackle for loss. All game long, whether he lined up on the edge or over the middle, Parsons was breathing on Kirk Cousins’ neck.
In fact, he set a career-high for himself with 10 QB pressures, per Next Gen Stats. That puts the Cowboys’ edge rusher at 41 for the season, tied for #1 in the NFL with Carolina Panthers DE Brian Burns.
Micah Parsons generated a career-high 10 pressures in Week 11 after failing to record a pressure for the first time in his career last week.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 21, 2022
Parsons is now tied with Brian Burns for the most pressures in the NFL this season (41).#DALvsMIN | #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/d9hnFWdZaw
This is not to say that Parsons is not a good off-ball linebacker. But from what we’ve seen this season, his impact is felt more upfront. Before Anthony Barr’s injury, Dan Quinn hadn’t felt forced to move Parsons out of defensive end for the majority of the snaps. The Packers game is the one week in which he’s spent more time in the box.
Although Dallas should keep lining him up everywhere depending on the situation, I doubt there will be another time in which they want him in the box more than in the defensive line.
Sunday’s performance against the Vikings was a much-needed reminder that the Cowboys should be playing Micah Parsons at end in most scenarios. Chances are, your defense is better when that’s the case.
After all, it’s not just about his own pressures but the opportunities that he opens up for his teammates. It’s no coincidence that this was the same game in which the Cowboys totaled seven sacks as a team.
Featured image via Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports