The 2020 NFL season featured poor results from the Dallas Cowboys' defense. In an effort to improve, the team used the No. 12 overall pick in order to select Micah Parsons.
The expectations for Parsons from new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn are high due to the confidence that he holds in the rookie linebacker's abilities.
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Quinn has used training camp as an opportunity to experiment with the various ways he wants to utilize Parsons' versatility, whether in 7-on-7 or during drills.
"Every day he comes up with something new that he wants to do with me," Parsons said. "I don't take it as a bad thing. I take it as this is an honor, because that's how much he believes in me and my talents and what I can bring to this team and defense."
"Whether it's the playbook or life, he's checking on me every day. I'm just taking it like he really believes in me and sees me doing great things this year."
Once such "new idea'': Quinn is teaching Parsons and the other fellas to be better at note-taking in meetings. He's trying to encourage them to realize that they can create their own sort of short-hand to make sure they get the general concept of the lesson. So ... he had them listen to songs by the group Run DMC, and to attempt to quickly scribble down (type?) the lyrics.
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Said Parsons: "It was going way too fast for me.''
Nevertheless, Parsons has come to appreciate the 'never satisfied' approach that comes with Quinn's coaching style. He feels as though this style helps to maximize his potential on a daily basis.
"He's hard to impress. I don't think he's ever satisfied," Parsons said. "He always wants you to keep getting better. That's the kind of coach that you want to be under.
"Each day we're finding ways for me to get a little better at something. Trying to focus in on that. Trying to make me an all-around player."
On the first day of practice, Parsons lined up as the starting middle linebacker, then later dropped into coverage and ran with a tight end, and still later lined up as a defensive end. Head coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged on Friday that maybe it was a bit of overload, saying, "We did too much with him yesterday. His volume was off the charts. ... You don't want to spread him too thin, because he is unique out there.
Much has been made about the importance of the Cowboys' defense to the overall success of the team this season. There is a lot of talent on offense, but if Parsons and his "uniqueness'' can help to elevate the defense, it could go a long way for the whole group.
The trust that Quinn holds in Parsons is a strong indicator that the rookie will be granted a real opportunity to step in and make a major impact.