Dallas Cowboys standout rookie linebacker Micah Parsons has been very vocal this week after a stellar rookie campaign that has put him in contention for postseason honors.
This comes as the Dallas Cowboys prepare to face the San Francisco 49ers in a Wild Card battle on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. EST.
The multi-skilled linebacker was the latest star to join the rapidly growing “The Pivot Podcast” — in a special episode — as he invited co-hosts Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor into his Dallas home for an exclusive interview to discuss getting drafted by the Cowboys, his breakout rookie season and their upcoming playoff matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
As far as the matchup with Dallas, Parsons was talking greasy before he ever sat down to do the podcast. He’s confident and ready to help Dallas win its fifth playoff game since 1996. He implied that the 49ers aren’t built like his Texas squad, despite talk that Dallas should be concerned with the toughness of San Fran’s running attack.
“I’m from Harrisburg where the bullies get bullied,” Parsons bragged. There’s a bully in every gym…At one point, it’s going to take somebody to stand up and fight. I aint ever back down from a challenge.”
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Micah Parsons Opens Up To “The Pivot Podcast”
While flexing his gums on the podcast, Parsons shares with the crew that even before he was drafted by the Cowboys, he had already had his sights set on living in the Dallas area, adding to his elation when he saw his name officially drafted by the Cowboys.
“I wanted to be in New York or Dallas, but Dallas was really the dream spot,” said Parsons. “I was going to try to move out here no matter where I got drafted. It was crazy. I was hype. As soon as I saw that star on the screen, I was like, finally.”
Despite a star-making year that ended with Parsons as the presumptive NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year winner, Parsons still had to deal with the vaunted “rookie wall” that has stopped numerous freshman campaigns in their tracks.
“The rookie wall hit, but you get to choose whether the wall takes over you,” said Parsons. “I had to realize that I’m getting a different level of coaching right now. Things that I could do easily in week 5 or 6, the coaches are harder on me about it now, because they want me to get better. At first I was getting mentally defeated by it.”
With a breakout year that has seen him become regarded as one of the best defensive players in the league, regardless of experience, Parsons shared how he’s had to balance his individual aspirations with meeting the team goals.
“All players ride that line of chasing plays and making plays. Sometimes I’ll go out of a gap based off something I see. I found myself riding that borderline towards the end of the year. I knew I had to have a good game to sustain what I’m doing. But you don’t want to get to the point where you’re choosing yourself over the team.”
One of the attributes that has made Parsons one of the top stories in the league is his ability to thrive at his drafted position of inside linebacker, while also flashing pass rushing ability on par with the top-edge rushers in the NFL. To the fellow linebacker Crowder, he sees that pass-rushing ability as Parson’s top skill.
“I love linebacker play and you’re a monster off the edge,” said Crowder. “It’s not the same as when you are in the middle of the field off the ball. You were good off the ball, but you were great coming off the edge.”
Even with all the platitudes he’s sure to receive for his rookie campaign, the hosts got Parsons to open up about his own doubts he had early in training camp.
“First week of training camp, everything is blazing fast,” said Parsons. “It was tough. You get a little bit of doubt in yourself. They were asking me to do everything on the field. I was letting them beat me mentally. I didn’t think I could beat those guys like Ezekiel Elliott or Tyron Smith. But then the moment you win, that’s the moment where everything changes. I realized I was here for a reason.”
He added, “It really sounds like I’m listening to myself talk. From having a son at a young age, to not having confidence when I first came into the league. Some people in Jacksonville thought that I was a bust.”
Impressed by the maturity and perspective that Parsons shows throughout the interview, the hosts ask Parsons about how these experiences in his rookie year would inform the advice he would give to the next great linebacker coming up.
“I would say to the next guys coming up, be coachable and don’t let your ego and pride get to you,” said Parsons. “That’s the biggest problem when you’re young. When I first got here, I told (defensive coordinator) Dan Quinn, if I’m not doing something right, tell me. So earlier this week, he had three loafs from me on film that he showed me. He said ‘I need you to put on a better example going into this 49ers week.’ Those are the little things that you have to be willing to accept. We all hate being wrong, but we have to accept being wrong. You’ve got to be humble, and you’ve got to want more. If being Defensive Rookie of the Year is all you want, then you did it. I say to myself, how can I do this next year? That’s the key.”
Before the episode ends, Hall of Fame Wide Receiver and Cowboys legend Michael Irvin stops by, to the surprise of Parsons, and joins the panel for the final 30 minutes of the show. As a multiple Super Bowl winner with the Cowboys, Irvin shared his wisdom with Parsons about how important these playoff moments can be and what it means to wear the Cowboys star and become a legend.
“Now in the playoffs, everybody who’s watching, they have to have their eyes on you,” said Irvin. “You have the moment now to make moments. Pressure will make the good fold, but it will make the great focus. They take those moments and make them moments. People remember this. If you can do it on this level, for the Dallas Cowboys, I’ll just say, I’m still eating off it.”
We have an incredible playoff weekend in store.
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