The Dallas Cowboys have improved greatly on the defensive side of the ball from a season ago when they had arguably the worst unit in team history. The biggest reason for this turnaround is rookie Linebacker Micah Parsons who in a short amount of time has established himself as one of the best defensive players in the NFL.
Parsons came into the Cowboys' Week 13 matchup with the New Orleans Saints with a ton of momentum. He was named Defensive Rookie of the Month for November and he broke the Cowboys rookie sack record on Thanksgiving against the Las Vegas Raiders. On Thursday, Parsons sack total hit double digits as he logged his 10th of the season which gave him a sack in five straight games (recorded seven and a half sacks over that span).
His performance against the Saints put him in some elite company. Parsons became just the 13th rookie linebacker to record 10 sacks in a season. Also, he's the first rookie since Joey Bosa to have a sack in five consecutive games.
Parsons has been a constant presence in the opponents' backfield with nine tackles for loss and 14 quarterback hits since the beginning of November. Not only is he the clear front runner for Defensive Rookie of the Year, but Parsons has to be given serious consideration for Defensive Player of the Year as well.
Although those would be impressive accolades for a rookie, Parsons expressed that he has bigger goals in mind.
“The Super Bowl, playoffs, you got 5 games left,” Parsons said. “There's stuff to be done … I don't think it's time for me to sit on my couch, smiling, eating Cheetos. I'm trying to do something way bigger than anybody thought we could do this year.”
Parsons is on pace for over 100 tackles and 14 sacks this season which nobody has done since Hall of Famer Bruce Smith in 1993 for the Buffalo Bills. He has 16 tackles for loss and 25 quarterback hits on the season. Coupling that with his 45 pressures, the 2021 season so far for Parsons has been something to marvel over.