(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2022 season. Today, the staff writers discuss Micah Parsons' role on defense after winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors last season.)
3) Where Will Micah Parsons Line Up The Most?
Rob Phillips: It's fitting that Parsons loves chess, because I anticipate his role being pretty similar to what he did last year. That means a little bit of everything: playing off the ball, covering running backs and tight ends, blitzing, rushing off the edge. Technically, he's a linebacker, so I'll say he'll play off the ball most often. But surely he'll continue to be involved in the pass rush, and maybe more so if injuries pop up during the season. There's part of me that wonders just how dominant Parsons could be as an edge rusher with more time on task after piling up 13 sacks last year. But his versatility to play anywhere based on matchups or circumstance is why he's perhaps the most uniquely talented defensive player in the league. I don't see Dan Quinn moving away from that.
Mickey Spagnola: Linebacker. At least as a starter. The beauty of that is Dan Quinn's ability to move Parsons here and there, causing opposing quarterbacks to figure out just where No. 11 is while coming to the line of scrimmage instead of easily recognizing he's primarily at defensive end. Sure, he'll line up some as a pass-rushing defensive end. But Quinn made a savvy move late in his rookie season, basically using Parsons as a pass-rushing linebacker, not only hitting the A-gap up the middle, but also lining him up on the edge next to say DE DeMarcus Lawrence, preventing double teams on either of them and causing opposing offenses to either keep a tight end or running back in to pick up Parsons or creating more one-on-one opportunities for the other defensive linemen.
Nick Eatman: This question seems like an easy one, but it's really not. I've heard people who have vehemently argued both sides of this and I guess I fall closer to the middle. I know this – Parsons needs to rush the passer several times in a game – maybe even once or twice a series. But where it's coming from has to be disguised. I do think Parsons won't be as dominant if he rushes from the same side over and over. Yeah, he'll get some sacks, but he has the chance to be an ultimate game-changer if he can play all over the field. I've said this before, but I think he can be like Troy Polamalu, but only instead of the hybrid linebacker/safety, he'll be a linebacker/end that rushes on some plays and drops in coverage on the others. But I trust Dan Quinn to solve this "problem."