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Training Camp | 2023

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Quinn, Parsons want 'prove it' effort from defense in 2023


OXNARD, Calif. — When looking at differences between last year's Cowboys defense and this year's edition, you can point to a couple of major things right off-the-bat: the addition of Stephon Gilmore and Mazi Smith.

You could also point to most of last year's starters returning and notching another year under their belt under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, which only creates more comfort within the group.

But one key difference lingers at the front of everyone's mind on the defensive side – specifically on Quinn and Micah Parsons' minds as the 2023 version of this defense gets set to begin their journey – and it's an added level of hunger.

Whether it was coming just yards short in a wild card loss his rookie season or an offensive stallout in the divisional round in his second year, Micah Parsons has not been able to live with the results that each of his first two seasons have produced. As a result, he's on a mission to make 2023 regret-free.

"I'm just tired of being second, tired of coming up short," Parsons said. "What can I do every day to put myself in the best position to say, 'I can live with that'? So far I haven't been able to live with the fact that us losing 19-12 and that wild card game our rookie year."

Those sentiments are echoed when talking to Quinn, who says that despite all of the achievements and awards that have been passed around his defenses through his first three seasons in Dallas, there is still a lot to prove for both himself and his players.

"I think sometimes when you go through those tough losses, you don't want to feel that way again," Quinn said. "I think we have many people – coaches and players included – that want to prove it. That's usually when some of the really good, competitive moments come when you have to prove it. There are a lot of guys out here that have something to prove, myself included."

Regret keeps people up at night, and it's safe to say that there are moments from each of the season-ending losses the last two years that both Quinn and Parsons would want back. But to be able to turn around and create success out of that adversity? That's what would fulfill the potential in 2023 and beyond.

"I told this to the guys, is the price of discipline worth a lifetime of regret? And for me, it just [isn't]," Parsons said. "I just feel like you only got so long to get a real shot at this and I really do believe we got a shot at this."

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