OXNARD, Calif. – In his first press conference with the media here since the team arrived at training camp this week, linebacker Micah Parsons talked about how relaxed and ready is, especially after having "a year under his belt."
Speaking of belts, it might fit a little differently this year on Parsons, who said he's lost about 10 pounds since he's changed up his diet. While Parsons admits he's "not a vegetarian," the All-Pro linebacker has limited his fast foods and junk foods as he has a more serious mindset heading into this year.
One thing head coach Mike McCarthy stresses is the "Year 2 Jump" that he often sees in players heading into their second seasons. For others, just getting on the field or maybe cracking the starting lineup would be a big improvement. For Parsons, it's going to be tough to top a 13-sack season that included him being the unanimous Rookie of the Year.
But in no way is Parsons feeling the pressure – not now or ever.
"I don't believe in pressure," Parsons said. "Pressure is non-existent. I think pressure is the aspect of how other people view you. And if you let that get you off your game, you might be in the wrong sport."
Well, no one has ever accused of Parsons being in the wrong sport. He's arguably one of the best young players in the entire NFL. After winning Rookie of the Year in 2021, Parsons should be a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
That will likely depend on his number of sacks, perhaps getting the range of 20. That might not be easy to do if he's splitting time at linebacker and defensive end. But for now, it appears the Cowboys want him to play both positions, especially at linebacker where he can chase the ball around from the middle of the field.
And that might be another reason why Parsons wanted to shed those pounds.
"I just wanted to lose weight just to play lighter and not be as tired," Parsons said. "I probably didn't do on purpose as much just fixed my diet."
A leaner, quicker version of Parsons could be even more of a problem for opposing offenses. But then again, that's certainly the goal for Parsons here in Year 2.
"Last year I was just trying to earn the respect of my fellow teammates and fellow players across the league," he said. "This year I just want to go out there and dominate now."