OXNARD, Calif. – In his first news conference since the team arrived at training camp this week, linebacker Micah Parsons spoke about how relaxed and ready he is, especially after having “a year up his sleeve.”
Parsons said he has lost about 10 pounds since changing his diet. While Parsons admits he “isn’t a vegetarian,” the All-Pro linebacker has limited his fast and junk food as he has a more serious mindset heading into this year.
One thing head coach Mike McCarthy emphasizes is the “Year 2 jump” he often sees in players heading into their second season. For others, just getting on the field or maybe breaking the starting lineup would be a huge improvement. For Parsons, it will be hard to top a 13-sack season that earned him the unanimous Rookie of the Year award.
But by no means is Parsons feeling the pressure, now or ever.
“I don’t believe in pressure,” Parsons said. “The pressure is nonexistent. I think the pressure is the aspect of how other people see you. And if you let that take you off your game, you might be in the wrong sport.”
Well, no one has ever accused Parsons of being in the wrong sport. He is arguably one of the best young players in the entire NFL. After winning Rookie of the Year in 2021, Parsons should be a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
That will likely depend on his number of sacks, perhaps reaching the 20 range. That might not be easy to do if he’s splitting time at linebacker and defensive end. But for now, it seems the Cowboys want him to play both positions, especially linebacker, where he can chase the ball from midfield.
And that could be another reason Parsons wanted to lose those pounds.
“I just wanted to lose weight so I could play lighter and not be so tired,” Parsons said. “I probably didn’t do it on purpose, I just fixed my diet.”
A lighter, faster version of Parsons could be an even bigger problem for opposing offenses. But then again, that’s certainly Parsons’ goal here in his sophomore year.
“Last year I was just trying to earn the respect of my teammates and peers around the league,” he said. “This year now I just want to go out there and dominate.”
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Thinner and meaner? Parsons seeks to “dominate”