FRISCO, Texas — In evaluating what Micah Parsons has been able to do through two weeks, it's hard to fathom what anything better could look like from the third-year defender out of Penn State.
Three sacks, one big forced fumble and a numerous amount of pressures has resulted in Parsons etching his name firmly in the conversation for NFL Defensive Player of the Year in the early portions of the season as he leads one of the NFL's top defenses.
Despite every sack, tackle and impact play, the potential for Parsons is still sky-high because of the improvements that he made over the offseason to help defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and his defenses excel.
"He has really worked his [butt] off this offseason," Quinn said. "He's faster, his hands are better, his rushing is better. That jump that you hoped somebody would make, he was intentional about the work that he put in. He's definitely playing better than he ever has, which is saying a lot. You haven't seen it all yet, for sure."
The improvement from Quinn's best player has allowed everybody in his unit to have more freedom, including Quinn himself. The challenge that Parsons has been able to be as a coach is proving to be valuable to the entire defense's success.
"His uniqueness allows us to do things," he said. "He's a lot of fun to coach because he's up for whatever challenge you throw at him. He and others have pushed me to find out what they can do."
Parsons worked over the offseason with boxing trainers, speed trainers and agility trainers to maximize each aspect of his pass rush, and it's been shown on the field through two games. Add that into what he arrived in Dallas with and what he's put together in his first two seasons, and it creates a booming potential for what he can be as a defensive weapon for Quinn.
"Coming in, he was such a mature guy early as a rookie," Quinn said. "I would imagine he had some of the very fewest mistakes or missed assignments, he was so connected in that way. He came in already above the curve of how he could take it. You see his physical development has changed so much with how his body is, how strong he is. Those are the things he's just added onto his game."
One of the most glaring additions to his game has been his speed, as his first sack on Zach Wilson on Sunday saw Parsons see space to his left and fly through the hole for the tackle like he was shot out of a cannon.
"From 0-to-60, it goes fast," Quinn said. "That's the part that's unique about him, his short area quickness, his ability to stop and start quickly. That's why when there's a space, he can close the distance with quickness. That's one of his superpowers. It's on full display when we blitz or rush, you feel that energy coming at you."
In two games, Parsons is tied for second in the NFL with three sacks. His 93.6 overall grade, per Pro Football Focus, is the second-highest in the league among 102 qualifying edge rushers through two games. Another opportunity awaits for Parsons in Arizona in week three against a Cardinals offensive line that allowed the 10th-most sacks in 2022.