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Did Cowboys’ linebacker Micah Parsons cost his team the game against Bucs?

Simply put, Dallas linebacker Micah Parsons was an embarrassment against Tampa Bay on opening night. 

As in the words of Stacey Baumann, host of the Dirty Pocket Podcast, “The game looked too big for him,” referring to Parsons. 

Sure, Parsons made some good plays too. I have to keep this balanced and keep it real. However, when you are the number 12 pick overall playing on opening night with the Dallas Cowboys, and you put a play like this on your resume when the game is on the line in the 4th quarter – – point blank – – that is pathetic. 

Parsons looked more like some free agent hack getting bounced around by a receiver, rather than a supposed blue-chip linebacker on the play. This was not his only bad play either. He looked more like an over-sized safety than an NFL linebacker, and he was totally non-explosive at the point of attack going up against offensive lineman. No pop. No jolt. No nothing. Nobody will ever mistake this guy for Lawrence Taylor, if anything Parsons was the rag doll – – not the other way around when taking on blocks. 

As for his pass coverage, he flashed ability, which is his overall trademark. Parsons showed us all what he is capable of on the nice pass break-up, but most of the time he was a day late and a dollar short getting there after the catch was already made. Any linebacker in the league can get there after the fact – – and please do not get me started about how he ate Brady’s play-action fakes like they were his dinner. Parson’s inability to understand and read simple play-action fakes completely opened the throwing window for Brady to throw one touchdown to Bucs’ receiver Chris Godwin.

He then set up Tampa Bay for another touchdown when he bit just as hard on a second Brady play-action fake, which also opened the throwing window. The play resulted in a completion again to Godwin down to the Cowboys’ six yard-line and they punched it in from there. It is safe to say Parsons’ performance has a lot to do with why Dallas is now 0-1. 

Not to mention, Parsons was almost responsible for a third Tampa Bay touchdown on that play in the 4th quarter (5:32 remaining) with that sluggish looking out of control tackling effort, had Godwin not fumbled on his way towards the end zone and another Dallas defender had to make the play.

None of this is a surprise to me, I came out prior to the draft and said Parsons was off my draft board, and I put a 75 percent bust rate on him in my scouting report.  I said Parsons was “an explosive underachiever,” and that is exactly what he proved to be on opening night. Parsons once again showed he has what takes, it is in him to make plays, but only when he wants to do it. The rest of the time he is somewhere else. Turn on the tape and watch the other plays of Parsons when he was jogging half-speed on the back side of plays. His play was just too uninspiring way too often for a guy with a $9.7 million dollar signing bonus check, when the ink hasn’t even dried on it yet. 

I would love to be in the defensive meetings in Dallas watching the film of this game and watching the look on Demarcus Lawrence’s face (who played his ass off) as he sees Parsons half-assing it out there. 

It takes a lot more than that rook. Micah Parsons better put his foot on the gas, unless he wants his greatest opposition this season to be my pen and paper. 

I’ll be watching. 

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 


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