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Mailbag: Biggest Surprises Of The Season So Far?


With the incredible start of the season – Dak's performance with the offense and Diggs' interceptions on defense – what other two players do you feel have been nice surprises after the first six games of the year? – MELISSA WILLARD / ANN ARBOR, MI

Nick: So many options to pick from there. Personally, I didn't know if Terence Steele would make the team this year, and I definitely wasn't comfortable with him being a starter for La'el Collins. Now, I'm not so sure Steele isn't the best option to play right tackle. That just goes to show how much he's improved since last year and I think they've found a potential great player. The other guy who has been a huge surprise is Jayron Kearse. Again, not sure he was going to make the team. Now, he's one of the best players on defense. Love the way he plays the game and his attitude and swagger is something this defense was missing.

Rob: Good question because there's been a bunch of surprises. Can't say I'm surprised by Dak's play, but yeah, Diggs' interception streak is remarkable and almost unheard of. I would say Jayron Kearse emerging as an every-down force in this hybrid safety/linebacker role. He has started games at past stops, but I don't think anyone thought he'd be playing over 90% of the defensive snaps. Osa Odighizuwa has become a consistently impactful player pretty quickly as a third-round draft pick, too.

I believe Micah Parsons would be more effective rushing the passer as a linebacker from the edge. They love to send him up the middle and it is always clogged up in there. He could better take advantage of his speed as an edge rusher and get more pressures and sacks vs. up the middle. What do y'all think? – CHRIS HARVEY / RICHMOND

Nick: Just let him play. That's what I think they need to do. The answer to everything is "sure, go ahead." I want him rushing off the edge, up the middle and playing linebacker, too. But to make him valuable and a dangerous weapon, he's got to do it all. I don't think he's big enough to rush off the edge every play because eventually teams will run at him all the time. But I think he can do it at times. Think of it like, Tony Pollard. He's better when he's running outside and around the corner. But if he did that every time, he wouldn't be as effective. Sometimes he's going to have to run it up the middle. So with Parsons, there are some things he does better than others, but he needs to do all of it.

Rob: We might be debating this forever if Parsons continues to do a little of everything. I agree that he could be a special pass rusher with time because he's got Von Miller-like suddenness off the snap. But the Cowboys clearly think there's value in having him off the ball, too, because of his speed against the run and the threat of rushing from a bunch of different spots.

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