One of the questions the Cowboys asked themselves when they were thinking about switching to the 4-3 defense and evaluating how their players might fit was, “Is Jason Hatcher too tall to play defensive tackle?”
Hatcher is trying to answer that question for himself.
“I’m 6-6. It’s hard to get down and bend,” he said. “So every day, I’ve got to come in and hone in on my leverage. If I play with great leverage, there’s not too many people who can block me. When I stand up, I’m just an average guy.”
Hatcher hasn’t looked like an average guy through the first few practices of training camp. He has provided a strong pass rush as he plays the “3-technique” in the new 4-3 defense.
“He can bend his knees, he plays low, and that’s a real asset,” coach Jason Garrett said. “It gives them flexibility, really, to play all across the line of scrimmage. He can play the nose, he can play the ‘3’ or under tackle, he can play this end. He really can play that end as well. He has that kind of explosiveness and that much versatility.”
Hatcher remains excited about his new job, although he said he still has a lot of 3-4 habits to forget.
“For the most part, man, it’s been fun, just getting off the rock, causing havoc in the backfield every other play,” he said. “It’s fun, man. I’m looking forward to my role in this defense. If I can get in the back field and disrupt, that’s what I’m going to do.”
-- Carlos Mendez