Dallas Cowboys: 5 ways to generate more interior pressure on defense

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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How the Dallas Cowboys generate more interior pressure

No. 2: Micah Parsons

It makes sense for the Dallas Cowboys to use their shiny new toy as a solution to their interior pass rushing problems in 2021. Parsons,  generally considered the top defensive talent in the 2021 NFL Draft, comes to Dallas with a handful of special skills. Pass-rushing happens to be one of them.

How the Dallas Cowboys uses Parsons is up for debate. Will he be the off ball linebacker he played at PSU? Will he be the SAM/ designated pass rusher the Cowboys mentioned after drafting him (he also played this at PSU)? Will he take snaps outside and rush the passer on the line of scrimmage?

As per new defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, the Dallas Cowboys are expected to run a base 3-4 to go with their nickel four-man front. This may sound like a bold change but considering the Cowboys ran odd man fronts last year and will be in their nickel look as much as 70% of the time, it’s not a huge departure from what we’ve seen.

Both looks offer opportunities…

Even in a three-man front, Dallas is likely to send four defenders up field. It’s the “who” and “from where” where things get interesting. One of the benefits of the 3-4 defense is pass-rush is it isn’t quite as transparent as a four man front

Parsons, who PFF said would be the best edge prospect in his draft class if he moved there, could be used as an edge player in these 3-4 looks. But he could also rush as an off-ball linebacker creating pressure inside.

Parsons owns elite physical skills that are maximized by rushing the passer. The Dallas Cowboys have told him they intend to use him as such so the only question is from where, in what capacity, and how frequently. Whatever the answer, Parsons could be an answer to the Cowboys interior pressure prayers.