When looking forward to the 2023 Dallas Cowboys season, one player who is already an outstanding player, but still has more untapped potential, is linebacker Micah Parsons.
Parsons is entering his third NFL season, and it might become the year he ends the season as a first-time AP Defensive Player of the Year.
In his first two seasons, Parsons has played 33 regular-season games, not missing a game yet in his young career. Parsons in those seasons has started each game, and in return he’s collected 26.5 sacks, 149 combined tackles (106 solo), 33 tackles for loss and just as exciting, 56 QB hits.
The linebacker also has six career passes defensed, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, meaning this … Parsons causes chaos to the opposing defense, and yet he can still become an even more impactful and dominant player for the Cowboys defense.
That thought has to keep the likes of the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders and New York Giants awake at night, because Parsons is that good, and is going to be even better in 2023.
Parsons’ rookie year of ’21 saw him collect 13 sacks in 16 games, and last season in year two of his career, the Cowboys linebacker finished with 13.5 sacks. Both seasons he’s been consistent in QB hits with 30 in ’21 and 26 in ’22.
Though there was one more regular-season game last season, Parsons played excellent, but there is more to look forward to from the former 12th overall pick and ’21 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.
One way Parsons is going to become a better player in ’23 is from whom the Cowboys drafted in the first round this past May, that being defensive tackle Mazi Smith from Michigan, as one of the strengths of Cowboys defense this upcoming season will be the defensive front.
Smith was drafted 26th overall this past draft, and coming in at 6’3″ and weighing in at 337 pounds, this is the defensive lineman the Cowboys — and most likely Parsons — have been dreaming of for this upcoming season.
With the ability Smith is bringing to the defensive line of the Cowboys, that’s only going to keep more of the pressure from the opposing offensive linemen off Parsons, freeing him up on his rushes to the quarterback and pursuit of the opposing running back. The improved defensive line will even help Parsons’ ability in defending the passing game, too.
In an article by Clarence E. Hill Jr. of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, following Day 6 of training camp, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was quoted about Parsons following a strong practice by the linebacker:
"“He’s very impactful,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Just talking with him a bit afterward, he said, ‘I’ll be better tomorrow.’ The offensive side of me said, ‘Hell, I hope not.’ Glad to hear him put that emphasis on where he is and what he’s trying to get done.”"
Again, the offseason work Parsons has put in — he worked with former All-Pro and Super Bowl champion offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth to improve on his game — and having the drive to become an all-time great for the Cowboys, will make for a special season by Parsons in ’23.
The Cowboys front office made a smart decision when they selected Parsons in ’21, and there is no doubt that Parsons in ’23 will be the best version of him we’ve yet to see. If that’s the case, that could mean this will be the best version of the Cowboys we’ve seen in quite some time as well.