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Mailbag: Does Parsons purely rely on athleticism?


I believe Micah Parsons is a generational athlete, but I wonder how much he studies the game. Will Mike Zimmer's defense allow him to just use his athleticism or will it require Parsons to study more? If so, could we see a slight step back in performance? I'm not saying Parsons isn't capable of studying, but he seems to be the type of player who purely relies on his athleticism.Samson Samonte/Wahiawa, HI

Nick Eatman: There's a lot to unpack there. Yes, I think Micah Parsons studies like all players do. Now, to what level compared to others … I don't know that and most of us wouldn't know. I do believe some players like Micah can rely on natural ability at times, but it's usually not sustainable. What we've seen in three years with Micah is that teams will undoubtedly scheme against him and there have been games, particularly against the Eagles, where he has been neutralized and even ineffective. That being said, he's got to offset and do his own studying to find a way to exploit his opponents in ways they haven't seen. I think Mike Zimmer will help with that but it needs to be a two-way street. But overall, I don't think Parsons has been a great player for three years just on talent alone. He's put in the work but he'll need to do it even more to continue to be a great player.

Nick Harris: I think there's some truth and some misconception to that point. The truth, yes he relies on his world-class athleticism. He's an unreal athlete, especially for his size, and it overwhelms the large majority of his offensive line matchups. The misconception here, I would say, is that he doesn't study. He puts in a lot of work during the season in studying how to beat any of the five offensive linemen he could be matched up against in any given week. I think for him to take that next step, he needs to find more in that department but also find an extra power element that sometimes seems to drop off late in games or late in the season.

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