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Mailbag: How Many Roles For Micah Parsons?


We have been hearing a lot about Micah Parsons rushing the passer, dropping in coverage, and also playing multiple linebacker and defensive line positions. We witnessed this with Byron Jones who constantly moved from corner to safety over his first few years until ultimately he settled in and was a Pro Bowl corner three years in. Do you foresee a similar path for Parsons? - AJ NARASIMHAN / SAN MARCOS, CA

David: I don't think so. Byron didn't find a true position until Year 4, and his job description fluctuated wildly from year to year. He started off as a dime cornerback, moved to safety and eventually found his way to cornerback. Parsons can do a lot of different things, but he is still being trained to play one position – linebacker. Hopefully we're going to see him rush the passer quite a bit, but his overall job description isn't going to fluctuate as much as Byron's did.

Jonny: Sort of, but I think moving around within the linebacker core is more common than switching from corner to safety and vice versa. I think eventually the Cowboys would like to see Parsons take on as many linebacker responsibilities as possible, but they might ask a little less from him his rookie season and make him a designated pass rusher which would still provide instant value to the team.

It's great to hear Randy Gregory is putting in the work this offseason and preparing to be a huge contributor in 2021. My question is, since he's always been a rotational player at best, can he withstand a full season as a starter and not wear down as the season goes on? - RICH STEIDS / SICKLERVILLE, NJ

David: I don't think I agree with your assessment. Randy has rarely been around long enough to get in a real groove, that much is true. But when he has been available, the coaches haven't been afraid to put a lot of work on him. During the second half of last season, when he'd had a chance to get acclimated, he was routinely fluctuating between 40%-60% of snaps played. In 2018, when he played 14 games, he was on the field even more often. During the playoff push in the second half of that season, he averaged 60% of the snaps per game. So to answer your question: yes, he needs to prove he can stay on the field for a full season. But I have no concerns about his ability to hold up.

Jonny: That's to be determined, but he's adamant that he's kept himself in great shape throughout the ups and downs of his career and he's on the record as having wanted more snaps last season, so I don't think he was held back for actual conditioning reasons. I would think that his workload in the first half of the season will be a little bit lighter than in the final eight or so games so that he can get used to a full schedule. There's plenty a player can do to work on injury prevention away from the field and I would assume Gregory has done those things diligently.

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