Jason Hatcher said he expects to line up at each position along the Redskins’ defensive line next season as coaches attempt to put him in position to do what he does best—get after the quarterback.
“They are going to use me to my strengths,” Hatcher said Friday after signing his four-year, $27.5 million contract ($10.5 million of which is guaranteed). “I’m a pass rusher. I get after the quarterback, so basically … they are going to try to mix me up with some one-on-ones. And I just got to go out there and continue to do what I’m doing and win the one-one-ones and get to the quarterback.”
The Cowboys switched from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 last season and Hatcher enjoyed a breakout campaign as the right tackle, recording a career-best 11 sacks. But he says he’s not concerned about returning to a 3-4 alignment because the Redskins’ coaches have promised to use him creatively. Last season, the entire Redskins' defensive line produced 5.5 sacks.
“I’m going to move around a lot,” Hatcher said. “So you’ll see me all over the field like I did a couple of years ago in Rob Ryan’s scheme. I played the nose, left end, right end, tackle. I’m excited. They are going to use to my strengths…to just get up field and disrupt.”
He added: “My game [last season] was just getting up field and causing havoc, not just sitting back and reading blocks. So I was used to get up field and just disrupt, use my quickness and penetrate gaps and stuff like that. That really took my game to another level. [In Washington’s 3-4] a lot of guys think I’m going sit back and be a sitting duck. But they’ve got some great stuff for me [so] I can get up field and cause some havoc like I’ve been doing.”
At 6-foot-6 and 299-pounds, Hatcher said the common assumption is that he uses his size to overpower offensive linemen. And he does. But he quickly added that there’s much more to his game.
“If you look at me, you think I’m a power guy,” Hatcher said. “But I’ve got it all, man. I do a little bit of both—I [have] power and use my quickness. I have great hands. I take pride in my hands, I work on them every day. I just hit them all kind of stuff. That’s why I’m so effective. I have all types of moves.”
Hatcher also believes that he’s got low mileage for a 31-year-old. Indeed, after being drafted in the third round by Dallas in 2006, he did not become a full-time starter until 2011. As frustrating as it was, he said, it did cut down on a lot of wear and tear.
“I feel great,” he said. “God works in mysterious ways. It was painful process to sit behind guys for five years but … [now] I’m 31, I’m at my prime and I have my future with a great organization.”