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July 25, 2013

Garrett thinking about ways to use Jason Hatcher's versatility on defensive line, especially on third down

The Cowboys would like to develop flexibility on the defensive line. Which makes sense right now, with starters Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff and reserve end Tyrone Crawford out with injuries.

But at least they think they have a start on it, because Jason Hatcher can play defensive end in a pinch. To coach Jason Garrett, he looks like the most versatile defensive lineman on the team.

“You could make a great argument that he could play any one of the four defensive line spots in this scheme,” Garrett said. “And so for right now, you think about what is the position he will most likely play, and he’ll probably play more inside.

The only concern the Cowboys have had with Hatcher is his height. At 6-6, he is considered tall for a defensive tackle, and Hatcher said early in the week that the No. 1 thing he is working on is making sure he bends and wins with pad level.

But Garrett sounds convinced. Hatcher will be deployed as needed.

"When you’re talking about your defensive line on first and second down, and then certainly when you’re talking about him on third down, there’s room for versatility," Garrett said. "There’s room for moving guys around, creating match-ups. And the versatility that he has to play both spots, I think we’ll be able to see as training camp goes on.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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