The Giants offense has an overriding goal on Sunday night: Account for Micah Parsons on every play.
Entering his third season, Parsons already has 26 1/2 sacks.
Since sacks became an official stat in 1982, only six players have had more in their first two seasons than Parsons.
He was Defensive Rookie of the Year, earned two All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods and was twice a runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year.
According to Next Gen Stats, since his rookie campaign, Parsons has consistently pressured quarterbacks on an incredible 18.3% of his pass rushes. That leads all edge rushers with 500 or more attempts.
PFF (Pro Football Focus) recently listed its top 50 players in the NFL. Three edge rushers were in the top 10: Myles Garrett ranked fifth, Nick Bosa was sixth and Parsons was ninth.
As PFF noted, this will be Parsons first season as a full-time edge rusher.
Parsons led the NFL in total pressures last season, with 106 including the playoffs, and did so despite playing more than 200 snaps away from the line of scrimmage.
The Giants will be the first team to see Parsons in his new role.
“I think I [also] said it last year, he’s a dynamic player,” coach Brian Daboll said. “You know, these defensive ends that can rush the passer and get a lot of production on the quarterback, they are like skill players. So, he’s an explosive, dynamic playmaker. One of the best in the National Football League.”
It will be up to the Giants offensive linemen to keep Parsons at bay.
“You definitely have to know where he’s at on the field,” guard Mark Glowinski said. “There’s always going to be a game plan. At the end of the day, we need to make sure we’re doing fundamentally what we’re doing to put ourselves in the best position to win. We have to identify where he’s at. There are other guys we have to identify as well. But we have to focus on our fundamentals and technique and maybe give attention to particular guys but it all starts with us. And we’ve got to fight our tails off at the end of the day. “
Right tackle Evan Neal is looking forward to the challenge.
“Micah’s a great player and he challenges everyone he lines up against, for sure,” Neal said. “I’m going to go out there and play my best game. They move Micah around a lot. They play him inside at linebacker, they move him all around the line. But I feel like where he’s gifted is as a pass rusher. He has a feel for the game. He’s really good at what he does. He’s cat quick, has a great first step. He’s really good at finding the path of least resistance. So you have to prepare for him, which we are. We had a great training camp. I’m excited to get out there.”
I think on defense they’re fast,” quarterback Daniel Jones said about the Dallas unit. “They run to the ball, they attack the ball. They’ve got a strong pass rush, a couple of guys up front and they’re good in the back end.”
The Giants believe they are ready for the challenge.
We’ll be prepared for them,” Jones added. “But, like I said, it’s about what we do and we’re preparing to play our best.”
The Giants seem better equipped this season — to say the least — to deal with the Cowboys and, eventually, the Eagles.
“I feel great about our guys,” Jones said. “I feel like we’re in a really good spot with who we’ve got and how we can attack a defense in a lot of different ways. [We have] a lot of different skill sets and dynamic guys to get the ball to in space. I feel great about our group.”