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Mailbag: How Much Better Can Micah Parsons Get? 


I read the story last week about how Micah Parsons is "Off the sack wave. I'm more on the impact wave." Goodness, how much more of an impact can Micah make? What else does he have to do to get even better? _– Walker Evans/Columbus, OH

Nick Eatman: This falls right in line with a long-time phrase that I've always thought needed to be modified. You've heard the saying "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Well, I've always, always thought "pass-rush" should be included in that. Sure, you didn't actually get the sack but you smashed the quarterback as he was throwing and the ball went 2 yards into the dirt. Fourth down and it's time to punt. Ok, so maybe it wasn't as good as the sack and possible turnover that comes with it. But you can't tell me that play doesn't make an "impact." And whether or not that's what Micah Parsons is meaning by his comment, that's how I'm taking it. Yes, these guys have a chance to make a big-time impact – not only for themselves but the players around him. Now, to answer your other question – how much better can he get? I think Parsons can get a lot better. And that's pretty scary but I think he can figure out how to be impactful against the run just as much as the pass. Not saying he's got weaknesses to his game, but he still has room to be a more complete player. But if he does get better, he'll probably win DPOY a few times in the upcoming future.

Patrik: I wish there were a real-life 'Like' button that I couldn't tapped on Parsons' shoulder during that interview with the media, because I absolutely loved everything he said about impact vs. sack numbers. It shows me that, despite having played only two seasons in the NFL (wow, only two?!), he already gets "it" as it pertains to what matters most. Because while racking up sacks is fun and impactful in its own right, there are plenty of guys who have delivered 15+ sack seasons but walked away from the game without a ring to show for it. So if Parsons ends up with a little bit of a lower sack tally going forward (make no mistake about it, he loves hitting QBs far too much to shrug off that stat) to add in a leveled-up run defense (and/or pressures that become PBUs because he slammed on the brakes to get his hands into the passing lane), then sign me up with two pens and a Sharpie. This is something DeMarcus Lawrence learned that is not only extending his career, but also keeps him as a perennial impact player in the most important facets of an edge rusher's game.

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