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NFL hatcher

Published on August 13th, 2013 | by HubSM Contributor


Is Jason Hatcher a Forgotten Man for Dallas Cowboys?

There were a handful of defensive players the Dallas Cowboys felt would benefit from the switch to the 4-3 Tampa 2 scheme, but I’m guessing Jason Hatcher wasn’t one of the top choices to thrive. Yet that’s exactly what Hatcher has been doing throughout training camp.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise because Hatcher has been a force on the Cowboys defensive line for the past three seasons but it’s just that fans tend to think more about DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Sean Lee and Bruce Carter when discussing the Cowboys defense. Jay Ratliff gets more attention, even though he hasn’t played, and even when he has, Hatcher has been the better player.

Perhaps no one saw this coming, which is puzzling because Hatcher has been the best Cowboys defensive linemen the past two seasons, but Hatcher has been one of the standouts in training camp. Don’t take my word for it, listen to head coach Jason Garrett talk about Hatcher’s play, via Carlos Mendez of the Star-Telegram.

“To see a guy who has his experience continue to get better because of the work that he puts in during the off-season, on the practice field — he just grows before your eyes.”

That’s a pretty strong statement given how well Hatcher has played in the past two seasons. He’s lead the Cowboys defensive linemen in sacks in each of the past two years and his pressures have also increased. So maybe Hatcher isn’t just the forgotten man right now, he’s been the forgotten man in the past few seasons as well.

It doesn’t matter now because one thing is clear, Hatcher is going to be a force to be reckoned with for the Cowboys up front. He caused a fumble against the Oakland Raiders on Friday night, although it was charged to Lee, and has gotten the better of the Cowboys offensive linemen in practice all camp long.

Expect Hatcher’s sack totals to rise in the 4-3 alignment as he gets more opportunities to rush the passer in the 3 technique. Position coach Rod Marinelli continues to be impressed with Hatcher’s play and he told reporters about his play in camp and about Hatcher’s strip of Matt Flynn against the Raiders.

“Very athletic guy. Very good feet, good movement, loose in the hips, all those things,” Marinelli said. “Good solid rush there, too. Hit that edge. Did what he was supposed to do.”

Jason Hatcher should be a name Dallas Cowboys fans remember heading into 2013. I know there are plenty of other big name players on the Dallas defense but Hatcher should be mentioned among them.

You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi, or add him on Google+

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