In watching the Cowboys-Rams game over the weekend, two Cowboys defensive linemen stood out to me. Jay Ratliff was one, for all good reasons, and Jason Hatcher for a mix of good and bad.
Jason Hatcher is a player I like, but he’s a role player only. He had 4.5 sacks last season, which was good for 3rd on the team. Here he is rushing the passer against the Rams in the Cowboys’ 3rd preseason game. You can’t see it in the still shots, but Hatcher has very active hands. Here he’s able to swat the OG’s hands away, while using his speed to get around the edge. Also, note his right hand. He uses the Rams’ LT as leverage, getting an extra push toward the QB. Very crafty.
The OG can’t recover, probably even gets a hold in on Hatcher, but it’s too late and the QB is meat.
Then, once you get the OG to worry about your speed, you can hit him with the bull rush. Here’s Hatcher getting a great push back into the QB, whose pass is affected by Hatcher being right in his face, leading to an incompletion.
However, you do not want Hatcher on the field against the run. Note Hatcher at his DE spot at the snap of the ball.
He gets double-teamed, and is blown 6 yards off the ball, before finally spinning out of the block. The run doesn’t get much yardage, but this is definitely not what you want from Hatcher if you’re Rob Ryan. Double-teams in the NFL are no fun, but if you’re a 3-4 DE, it can’t be this easy:
In my opinion, Hatcher is an “obvious passing down only” guy, although a good one.
Editorial note: I plan on doing short little snapshot posts like this throughout the season on various things I see. Some will be more in-depth if I have more to say, and others will be quicker, like this one. Your feedback is important, so if you’d rather me skip these shorter ones, please let me know. Thanks.