Not so fast, young lion.
Despite making a pretty public statement earlier this month that he’s gearing up for a full-time positional change to defensive end in 2023, Micah Parsons is still considered a linebacker.
That’s not just according to the official team website… but also to the man actually running the defense in Dallas.
“Yeah, 100 percent. He is a pass-rushing linebacker, okay?” Quinn told reporters on Saturday at the club’s rookie minicamp. “So if you ever need position changes, come to me. Not through any of the guys. I think what he was probably trying to say is, ‘I’m really emphasizing some pass-rush into my offseason.’”
The former first-round draft pick explained that he had been training away from the team, specifically working to add bulk and weight in preparation for a permanent shift to the defensive line. Parsons played the majority of his 2022 snaps there anyway (859 on the line; 195 as an off-the-ball linebacker), but recently suggested that the team would no longer have him move around on defense.
Quinn confirmed, though, that having his most athletic players serve multiple functions will continue to be a staple of his defensive philosophy, not only for Parsons, but for several other guys, too.
“I’ve really tried to spend as much as I could on that, to make things for us where people could play dual roles,” Quinn said. “When we can get to that spot where you’re interchangeable pieces, it seems more complex. But really, I would say, the package can be easier; we’re just featuring people in different spots.”
Just as on the offense, it’s all about putting the best players on the field, regardless of what position they’re technically listed at in the program.
“A receiver that can be a runner, a runner that can be a receiver, a tight end that can be a receiver, a D-end that can play ‘backer, a safety that can play nickel, those perimeter-type people, I think, is changing that way,” Quinn continued. “A lot of players are coming in: this guy’s fast, he’s athletic; get him on the field. And sometimes you’re seeing a guy who might traditionally have been a linebacker in the past, but he’s using his speed and his athleticism to go play, so I just want to try to incorporate that as often as we can.”
Quinn has stocked his unit with versatile playmakers who can multitask: Jayron Kearse. Malik Hooker. Donovan Wilson. DaRon Bland. Israel Mukuamu. He’s already…