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Cowboys DC Mike Zimmer details how he’ll deploy Micah Parsons, discusses Dallas defense’s next steps

Cowboys DC Mike Zimmer details how he'll deploy Micah Parsons, discusses Dallas defense's next steps


FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys three-time All-Pro edge rusher Micah Parsons is on a generational start to his NFL career. The word “generational” is probably thrown around too casually in sports analysis these days, but in the case of Parsons, it’s appropriate. 

Parsons is one of five players — Hall of Famers Reggie White, Derrick Thomas, Dwight Freeney and Aldon Smith — to total at least 40 sacks (40.5) within his first three seasons. During his third season, 2023, Parsons paced the entire league in quarterback pressures (103), quarterback pressure rate (21.8%) and pass rush win rate (35.3%) — when a defender beats his block in less than 2.5 seconds. Astounding when factoring in Parsons was double-teamed on 35% of his pass rush plays in 2023, the most in the league among edge players, per the NFL’s Next Gen Stats. There wasn’t another edge rusher in the NFL who was double-teamed at a rate of 30% or higher last season. 

Thus, new Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer isn’t going to reinvent the wheel when it comes to Parsons’ usage in comparison to how he was deployed under former DC Dan Quinn, who was hired to become the Washington Commanders head coach this offseason.

“He doesn’t have to take many steps,” Zimmer said Tuesday when asked about Parsons’ development. “We were sitting up there again this morning talking about other things we can do with him. He’s such a dynamic player that, I said this the other day: ‘Offenses are always going to know where he’s at.’ They’re going to turn protections to him, have the back help chip no matter what it is. In a lot of the games he played last year that I watched, the offenses had a good scheme where they get two tight ends on him and all those things. So, we’re going to obviously move him around, do different things with him, but we’re going to use him some ways where we’re getting the protection turned the way we want it turned and able to win on the other side. Sometimes, we’re going to try to overload a protection where he gets a one-on-one.”  

Parsons began his career by lining up predominantly as an inside linebacker after being selected 12th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, but after both starting Dallas defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory missed time with injuries that season, he shined lining up along the defensive line. Parsons finished his rookie year with 13 sacks, good enough for…

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