Dallas Cowboys: 3 solutions for the defensive line

Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Never take Micah Parsons Off the Field

Head coach Mike McCarthy made it pretty clear from the beginning of the preseason that Micah Parsons and Keanu Neal would be the team’s starting nickel linebackers. What that really meant was these two would play most of the team’s defensive snaps considering nickel defense is base defense in the NFL today.

The Cowboys’ primarily nickel formation is a 4-2-5, which Dan Quinn made clear at his introductory press conference. For all the talk of the team switching to a 3-4 base defense, the Cowboys still play as much four-down linemen football as they have in the past. What they haven’t done in the past, however, is roster a player like Micah Parsons. Parsons is incredibly explosive working downhill displaying great play strength when pass rushing.

What does this mean? Rush Micah Parsons more, like… a lot more! The team can choose to line four-down linemen as much as they want, but rushing Parsons through the A and B gaps should be a more frequent occurrence.

One of Parsons’ positive traits coming out of college was his pass-rushing ability; the team needs to use it. A defensive end in high school, Parsons already has some experiencing playing near the line with an off-the-charts motor. He has a good pad level to drive bigger offensive linemen off their anchor and does it from multiple alignments. The team constantly talks about versatility, it’s time they start using it.

Deploy him in a multitude of ways and never take off the field until absolutely necessary. It’s quite the change in tone from my disgust with the selection of Parsons in April, but if the team is going to draft an off-ball linebacker in the top 15 selection, he better be able to do a multitude of things. The Cowboys will need him to now!