Despite what the depth chart reads, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Jason Hatcher has earned the starting job at right defensive end. Hatcher made his second career start last Sunday against the Jets. Ryan said it had nothing to do with Marcus Spears' return from a groin injury, which kept him out of the last two preseason games. Instead, it had everything to do with how well Hatcher is playing.
"Hatcher has been looking great," Ryan said Friday. "We’re fortunate enough to have some big-time ballplayers. But I mean Hatcher is a starter, and I think he’d be starting on any team in the league. He’s a good football player."
The sixth-year veteran had four tackles, including one for loss, and a quarterback pressure. Hatcher played 42 plays against the Jets, according to Pro Football Focus, with Spears getting 14. Kenyon Coleman had 22 plays at left end.
-- Charean Williams