The Dallas Cowboys might be forced to lean even heavier on dominant rookie Micah Parsons, with Randy Gregory possibly out several weeks with a calf injury
Randy Gregory was in the midst of a career-season, arguably the most dominant of his career, but now the Dallas Cowboys must replace their premier pass-rusher.
Gregory could miss multiple weeks after straining his calf, forcing the Cowboys to make up for his five sacks through the eight weeks.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, first-round pick Micah Parsons has proven more than capable of picking up the slack left behind by Gregory’s absence.
“If DeMarcus Lawrence is able to make his way back, they’ll be fine without Gregory,” an NFC personnel director tells FanSided, on the condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly about teams on other players. “But, for now, it has to be Parsons and he’s plenty capable of impacting the game.”
Micah Parsons is up for the challenge of replacing Randy Gregory
Through his first eight NFL games, Parsons looks like a seasoned veteran and the kind of player that offensive coordinators pull their hair out trying to gameplan against.
Parsons has already produced five sacks and garnered a 90.5 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus.
“Watching him, it feels like the game has really slowed down for him,” the executive says, of Parsons. “He’s gone from mastering one position to multiple positions, because they’ve moved him around to a bunch of different positions, and the production is really starting to show.”
Parsons, after being chosen with the No. 12 overall pick in this spring’s NFL Draft, is currently 25th in the NFL in sacks and has spent time at inside linebacker, where he became a first-team All-American in his second season at Penn State, as well as at defensive end, where he was a five-star prospect coming out of high school.
Beginning Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, some inside the league believe that it might take a village to replace Gregory’s impact.
One AFC South offensive coach believes that it’s going to come down to Terrell Basham and Dorance Armstrong making significant strides, and quickly if the Cowboys’ defense is going to return to the form it had been playing at prior to the past two weeks.
However, Basham has just one sack this season, and Armstrong has only six total tackles.
Still, the coach believes the Cowboys’ success upfront comes down to Parsons.
“Basham and Armstrong are going to be key,” the coach says. “But they’ve got to move Parsons around, create mismatches, and let him pin his ears back and rush the quarterback, in my opinion.”
Matt Lombardo is FanSided’s National NFL Insider and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday. Email Matt: Matt.Lombardo@FanSided.com.