DALLAS - AUGUST 22: Defensive end Jason Hatcher #97 of the Dallas Cowboys during a preseason game against the Houston Texans at Texas Stadium on August 22, 2008 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
In practice Friday at the Alamodome, the team’s final practice in San Antonio, Jason Hatcher lined up at defensive end with the first team defense in place of his friend and fellow Louisianan Marcus Spears. Spears, on Thursday, sprained his left MCL, an injury that will keep him on the shelf for the next four to six weeks, and create a golden opportunity for Hatcher.
The team has been high on Hatcher for some time, but, playing behind Spears, a first round pick in 2005 and a deft run-stopper, he never really got an opportunity to get in a rhythm. Now, his workload has increased dramatically, and he is intent on showing the team he can handle it.
“I haven’t been getting as many snaps as I wanted,” Hatcher said, per ESPNDallas.com. “Now I’m actually getting more than I want. I’m just going to go out there and take advantage of it.”
The Cowboys are high on the six-foot-six Hatcher in great part due to his disruptiveness, a quality lacking somewhat in the mainstay Spears. He had a career-best 27 pressures last season to go along with a sack and 29 tackles in limited time in 2009.
“It’s an opportunity for me to play and show what I can do,” said Hatcher. “At the end of the day, it’s not my decision on whether or not I start. If I go out there and do a good job and they think that I should be the starter when the season starts, God bless me, I’m happy.”
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