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Micah after dominating NYG: 'We're the best defense'


EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Seize everything. When head coach Mike McCarthy debuted the phrase "Carpe Omnia" as the 2023 mantra for the Dallas Cowboys, one wonders if even he envisioned just how much his team would embody the saying, and as early as their Week 1 matchup against the New York Giants, no less; though Micah Parsons did. 

In their 40-0 pillaging of the Giants at MetLife Stadium in front of a world audience, the Cowboys scored in all three phases of the game and was led time and again by a defensive effort that was lights-out for four quarters.

"Yeah, no doubt in my mind," said the First-Team All-Pro. "I saw it [coming] before anybody. I said that I couldn't wait to get to New York. I knew this was coming. When preparation meets execution, I don't think there's anyone who can beat it. We prepare like we've already felt this, like we've already been to war before.

"We already knew the standard. We knew what happened last year and remembering what we're capable of. It's just about being capable of doing it every week." 

Parsons and the Cowboys' pass rush purchased real estate early in the personal space of quarterback Daniel Jones, to the tune of seven sacks and many more QB pressures, forcing him into two interceptions, two fumbles and no touchdowns on just 104 yards passing — his passer rating landing at a paltry 32.4. 

Additionally, they held Saquon Barkley to just 51 rushing yards on 12 carries with Trevon Diggs lighting him on fire with a tackle following a catch that created a tip-drill pick-six for DaRon Bland, but wait, there's more. The heralded Darren Waller finished with only 36 receiving yards on three catches and speedster Jalin Hyatt, drafted in the first round this past April to take the top off of opposing defenses, ended with only one target (he dropped it) and zero yards receiving.

That'll do.

They were rewarded for halting a long opening drive by the Giants with a blocked field goal attempt on Graham Gano by Juanyeh Thomas that turned into a scoop-and-score by newly-acquired cornerback Noah Igbinoghene. 

"I thought it was good — all three phases," said Parsons. "It started with the special teams with that big block [on the field goal], and I feel like we just carried the momentum and that shift from there. We never let up, which is a great sign because last year we might've let up a little bit. But we stayed on them [tonight]. 

"We smothered them."

What's more impressive is that the Cowboys didn't play perfect football, nor where they whole when factoring in the absence of Donovan Wilson and Jourdan Lewis on defense, along with Tyler Smith on the offensive line.

And, still, they made the Giants look like a Pop Warner team that only showed up because they were promised some Sunny Delight if they at least tried their best.

"It all started with the offseason and camp," Parsons said. "Everybody came in with a mindset and a preparation that we were going to dominate. We know that these games depend on us and we vowed to key in, to be honed in this week. We prepared to the max and we just gotta keep that going. … That's a great start [to the season]. 

"I haven't seen anything like that since [in the time] I've been here. It's just the consistency. We've gotta keep it going."

Heading into training camp, Parsons made it clear he wants the Cowboys defense in 2023 to ultimately be spoken in the same conversation as Ray Lewis' Ravens, and others of the sort, and Sunday night was their first step toward making that a reality. 

"I believe so, yes, just the relentlessness and the effort — even from the guys who came in in the fourth quarter and helped finish the shutout," he said. "All across the board, I feel like everybody is locked in and committed to this team."

But with 16 more regular season games to be played, and potentially three or four more in the postseason, it's about building upon the unbridled success in Week 1 as opposed to hanging their proverbial hat on it.

"We need to continue to stand on the [commitment to preparation], and it starts with me and [DeMarcus Lawrence]," Parsons said. "We push each other. It started in camp. We pushed each other every day to get better. I don't think there was a day out there that we tried to take off. 

"Everyone pushed each other, and we all said that was the best camp we've all had together. … We know each other and we know each other's [pass] rush. It's just going up from here. … 

"I still have to get better and still have to become greater, within myself, and get to the level I want to play at each week. I feel like I always leave plays out there that I wish I could get back."

It's that unforgiving personal drive that has Parsons off to a strong start in his campaign for Defensive Player of the Year and, more importantly, toward possibly making this one of the most special seasons in the franchise history of the Cowboys.

Up next is a familiar nemesis in Aaron Rodgers, though this time it'll be in a New York Jets uniform, but it's the same future Hall of Famer who mounted a comeback to steal victory from the jaws of defeat in the Cowboys visit to Lambeau Field last season.

It's something Parsons has been stewing on ever since.

"I feel good, I came out healthy and I get to go up against the great Aaron Rodgers next week."

As for the debate over who might be the top defense in the NFL this season, Parsons says it's time to start putting that to rest. Considering nobody pegged the Giants for pushovers before the Cowboys walked into New York and pushed them over, mauling them to the tune of 40-0 in a game that wasn't nearly as close as that score would indicate sends an early message to all.

But what is that message, exactly? 

"We're making the statement that I've been trying to make: we're the best defense in the National Football League," said Parsons.

If they keep this up, no one will dare argue against that statement.

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