Micah Parsons makes way too many excuses for Cowboys, Dak Prescott in defensive interview

Dallas Cowboys star Micah Parsons sat down with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith to discuss the Cowboys' playoff loss, their future plans and the media's treatment of Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott.

Dallas Cowboys v Arizona Cardinals
Dallas Cowboys v Arizona Cardinals / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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Few people enjoy the suffering of Dallas Cowboys fans as much as ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

Cowboys pass rusher Micah Parsons had the chance to exact revenge against Smith during the 2024 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. The All-Pro pass rusher dominated the game with 37 points, 16 rebounds and four steals to earn MVP honors in Team Shannon Sharpe's 100-91 victory over Team Stephen A. Smith.

During All-Star Weekend, Parsons also joined Smith on The Stephen A. Smith Show to discuss the Cowboys' past failures and future plans.

Micah Parsons and Stephen A. Smith debate Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

The Cowboys' impressive 2023 regular season came to an abrupt halt in the NFC Wild Card Round when Dallas suffered a humiliating 48-32 blowout loss against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium. The loss extended Dallas' championship drought to 28 consecutive seasons. The Cowboys became the first team to win 12 games in three consecutive seasons and fail to make a single conference championship game appearance. For a storied franchise with a history of dynastic glory, the stretch of postseason disappointment has brought immense scrutiny. In particular, quarterback Dak Prescott has taken a lot of the blame.

During the interview, Parsons challenged Smith's harsh criticisms of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

"You analyze everyone differently [than you analyze Prescott]," Parsons said. When Smith asked if Parsons was implying that the national media was being too cruel with its assessment of Prescott, Parsons reasserted that other quarterbacks weren't held to the same standard.

Prescott had an outstanding regular season. The eighth-year veteran earned second-team All-Pro honors for the first time. He led the league in completion percentage (69.5%) and touchdown passes (36) while posting career highs in passing yards (4,516) and passer rating (105.9).

That admirable regular season was erased in one postseason game, however. In the playoff loss against Green Bay, Prescott failed to register a single passing yard until the second quarter.

Instead of pinning the playoff loss on Prescott's struggles, Parsons attempted to take accountability for the loss.

"There's got to be an important time when Dak does throw a pick ... when I have to say, 'Yo, No. 4, you do not have to stress, I got you,'" Parsons said. "... In the Green Bay game, we could have done better. ... That's why I don't agree that it was just Dak Prescott. I know we could've done [better] defensively."

The statement contradicts Parsons' previous remarks in which he suggested that he did everything he could in the playoff meltdown and that he was "at peace" with that.

Still, the difference in the game came down to Prescott's two costly interceptions, and despite Parsons' comments, there's not much the defense could have done about it. Prescott's first interception came in the final minute of the first quarter with the Cowboys were trailing, 7-0. The turnover set up Green Bay's offense at Cowboys' 19-yard line. The second interception came on Dallas' fourth drive and was returned for a touchdown, which didn't even give the Cowboys defense a chance to prevent points from the turnover. By then, the Cowboys' offense had began the game with two punts and two interceptions in their four opening drives.

There is plenty of blame to go around, however. During the 2023 regular season, Dallas ranked fifth in total defense and allowed just 18.5 points per game –– their lowest average in 14 years. Their postseason performance was once again plagued by sloppy mental errors, including two critical penalties on Green Bay's opening touchdown drive. The defense also allowed a touchdown on six of the Packers' seven drives to begin to the game.

The humiliating loss was a total team effort, and regardless of Parsons' contradicting statements, Prescott shares a large portion of that blame.

The 2024 NFL season is set to be the last year of a four-year, $160 million deal that Prescott signed in March 2021. At the time, the $40 million per year deal was second-richest in the NFL. Since then, Dallas has restructured the contract on three separate occasions, resulting in a $59.4 million salary cap number for the 2024 season — the second-highest salary cap hit in the league behind Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

While moving on from Prescott isn't a viable option, the Cowboys will need to find a way to reduce the massive cap hit if they want to keep their roster together. Despite their postseason meltdown, the Cowboys roster was stuffed with talent. Nine Dallas players earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors.

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