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Like a Lion, Parsons Details the Art of "Hunting"


FRISCO, Texas - We have all been witness to the greatness that All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons possesses on a weekly basis during his first season and a half in the NFL. We've also all seen the National Geographic documentaries on how lions stalk their prey.

But we'll touch on that in a moment.

After an incredible rookie campaign in which he won Defensive Rookie of the Year, Parsons has come right back in Year 2 and picked up right where he left off with 12 sacks, good for second in the league.

On top of that, Parsons has yet to record a game this season in which he recorded just one sack. Instead, all 12 of them have come in pairs this season in six games.

The interesting part is like most sports at any level, but especially the professional level, there are games within the game happening on every snap and every substitution. It's a never-ending chess match between coaches and players that can get lost in translation, or simply go unnoticed altogether to the naked eye.

The further along Parsons gets in his career, the more he is beginning to not only play those chess matches in the pass rushing game but win them. And just like a lion would in the Sahara, the Cowboys' have a lion of their own in Parsons that can sense when he is in the prime position to attack his next victim.

"I do get a little twitch," Parsons said plainly. "It's almost a feeling. It's kind of easier when you beat a guy the first time because he's probably going to anticipate. People like to do the same thing twice. So, you think ahead of the game."

Parsons said he tends to mix up the moves he crafts specifically for the purpose of imposing his will on opposing quarterbacks. And while he also said he tries about eight different moves to see which one works the best, and then goes back to the winner.

"I come out and try to do different variations of moves," he said. "I really want to see how they're going to play, especially through the first 15. They're going to try tricks, gadgets, play actions, boots, all types of things versus true drop backs. I try to use my superpower, which is speed, to get some speed to see if they're suitable to speed."

Again, like a lion laying in the weeds sizing up his lunch. But the scariest thing for opposing offensive linemen and quarterbacks is that Parsons is almost baiting them into doing one thing, only for that to be the thing he wanted to begin with, thus giving him the green like to spring the trap.

"There's just a lot of keys that I'm starting to pick up on and realizing," he said. Once I'm able to exploit that, then when someone figures out the game play, they're like 'Now we have to switch it.' Then at that point I have them exactly where I want them.

Chess, not checkers kids.

To be fair, it's easy to forget that Parsons is only 23 years old given the way he dissects how offenses are trying to slow him down and subsequently outsmarts them. The feedback he has taken from veterans like DeMarcus Lawrence and applied has gone a long way in his growth, but he also dishes out some wisdom of his own.

"I think everyone is learning," Parsons said. "Everyone is learning how each other is rushing. I'm still learning the position. I think every game, every opponent, you learn something new about yourself and what you're capable of… I still help other rushers, and I'm new to it."

Think about that for a moment. Micah Parsons, the sack leader for a Cowboys' team that leads the league with 45 sacks, is still learning how to be a pass rusher.

Renew your subscription to National Geographic for the next decade Cowboys Nation, because it appears this lion is hungry to eat for a long time.

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