The Dallas Cowboys have turned things around in a major way defensively. In Mike McCarthy’s first season with the team, they had one of the worst defensive performances in franchise history. Dan Quinn took over the unit last season and began the process of getting things on track and this season they have reached a new level.
Dallas has been an opportunistic bunch, forcing 30 turnovers, which is the most in the NFL. They live in the opponent’s backfield as well as they have 49 sacks, 81 tackles for loss and 96 quarterback hits this season.
Leading the way on that front is linebacker Micah Parsons. Parsons has been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL since the Cowboys selected him in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. His versatility enables Quinn to deploy him in many spots along the defense, but it is his pass-rushing ability that truly stands out.
According to PFF, there isn’t a player in the league that gets into the opponent’s backfield as often as Parsons does. He has been credited with 79 pressures this season, which currently leads the league.
Parsons has put together a strong case to win the Defensive Player of the Year award this season after finishing second last season and winning Defensive Rookie of the Year. This season Parsons has 13 sacks, 62 combined tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 24 quarterback hits.
The Penn State product has added three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as well. Parsons has recorded three passes defended to round out his stat line, showcasing his versatile skill set. Most importantly is that he has cleaned up his tackling, as Pro-Football-Reference has him cutting his missed tackle percentage down from 10.6 percent as a rookie to 3.1 percent this season.
When there is a play to be made, Parsons has consistently made it this season. The defensive resurgence in Dallas is in large part due to his presence as Parsons has already cemented himself as one of the premier defenders in the NFL.