Skip to main content

Offseason | 2023

Spagnola: When Micah Talks, We All Should Listen


FRISCO, Texas - Always think Micah Parsons is an old soul, and for proof let's go back 40 or 50 years ago to this iconic EF Hutton commercial declaring:

"When EF Hutton talks, people listen."

Well, when Micah Parsons talks – as he did back on June 1 of this year for seemingly a good 15 minutes or so, and it seemed longer than that – we all listen.

We smile.

We arch our eyebrows.

We shake our heads.

Then we mutter to ourselves something like, "This guy is sumpin' else."

Take this one that came out of the blue when talking about his expectations for the Cowboys defense this upcoming season, and his third-year expectations.

"It's going to be a really cool year. I'm going to play like eight positions," Parsons says, and while anticipating what was coming next, interjects, "Don't even ask me."

Well, he got asked.

Running back?

"I think I got a goal-line package," he says with a twinkle in his eye.

Come on now, _eight_ positions?

"Just stay tuned, man," Parsons says. "I think I've got anything in that front seven and in coverage I'm playing. I'm telling you, I'm going to do it all.

"This is going to be a year to remember, for sure."

Well, let's not be so fast to accuse Micah of hyperbole. Remember, linebacker, defensive end from either side for sure. He has rushed from inside, like in nickel as a stand-up defensive tackle and outside the defensive end like a pass-rushing weakside linebacker. At 6-3, and he says by adding strength he'd like to go from 245 to 250, 252, and with his speed, let's not rule out a big strong safety at times taking on the tight end.

We laugh at the running back thing, but let's remember in high school he was a 1,000-yard running back too, gaining 1,239 yards and scoring 27 touchdowns while playing both ways his senior season. And had he returned for his final year at Penn State, saw where head coach James Franklin said he was going to let Micah return some kickoffs.

Hey, eight might not seem so preposterous.

And it's not just us who watch him play every down of every game understanding just how talented this guy is. Evidently there is a posse of others since Parsons has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his two NFL seasons and also has earned First Team All-Pro honors in both seasons, the first Cowboys player to do so since Bob Hayes in 1965-66 and the first in the NFL since Lawrence Taylor in 1981-82.

So little wonder when came up with a ranking of the top NFL Building Blocks, clarifying as the top-10 non-quarterback franchise type players no more than 26 years old, the No. 1 guy was …

You guessed it, Micah Parsons.

That ranked him ahead of, in order: Nick Bosa, Justin Jefferson, Sauce Gardner and Ja'Marr Chase rounding out the top five. Also ahead of the next five: Derwin James, Quinnen Williams, Tristan Wirfs, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Penei Sewell.

And such recognition is not all about the sacks, and certainly Parsons has a bundle, 13.5 this past season and 13 his rookie 2021 season at just 22 years old. That means his 26.5 sacks in his first two seasons ranks him sixth since sacks became an official NFL stat in 1982. But let's put an asterisk on that. He is the only one not considered a fulltime defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker.

Just a football player. And let's also factor in 69 QB pressures, three forced fumbles, three recovered fumbles (one returned for a touchdown) and three passes defensed.

We see some of these stats on singular references, but when you start lumping them all together, pretty dang impressive.

Or as NFL Network analyst and former Cowboys guard Brian Baldinger says, "You see something new every week."

Well, "Baldy" did a film study breakdown recently with Parsons on Total Access, Parsons telling him, "Man, you're going to see me way more versatile, moving all across the line of scrimmage, in the backfield, with the linebackers. You're going to see a little bit of everything."

Baldinger does a film study with Parsons on a few plays. One, he's matched up with Washington guard Brandon Scherff from 2021. Parsons is lined up inside the right tackle but shading Scherff's right shoulder. Totally overmatches the Pro Bowl guard for a sack/fumble of quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

Also had a clip of Parsons lined up wide at right defensive end against Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas. And despite Thomas lifting his left leg way before the snap to start his back pedal, which should have been a false start, Parsons still blows by him to sack Daniel Jones.

Just oozing with talent.

Baldinger then chides Parsons for not having an interception yet in his two-year career.

"I'm going to get an interception, Baldy," Parsons says. "I'm going to get two of them, Baldy. One is going to be for me, my first one, and my second one is going to be for you, Baldy. I'm going to get the ball and sign it for you."

Are you listening?

Now Parsons knows he might have worn down some the tail end of last season, registering only 1.5 of his 13.5 sacks over the final six games of the regular season, and just one sack in the two playoff games, yet 15 more pressures. Parsons attributes that to "growing pains, playing a lot more end, with chips, not really having a plan, and kind of like guys throwing me off my game."

Maybe trying too hard, trying to fight those big ol' 325-pound tackles instead of using his uncanny athletic ability.

"Smooth is fast, and don't be fast. Be smooth, man, be smooth," Parsons told us, maybe what Mr. Smooth, DeMarcus Ware, has been preaching to him on his own way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. "Because sometimes you feel like you've got to do more to win, and you've just got to be smooth. Like you see track runners, looks like they're not moving. They're smooth, smooth fast. And then you see some guy who's (big breath), he's exhausting everything he has.

"So just focus on being smooth."

Smooth it is Micah. We're listening.

Related Content