2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Cowboys' Hatcher leading with words - and actions

    2013-09-26 17:04

(Eds: Updates, stands.)
By SCHUYLER DIXON
AP Sports Writer

IRVING, Texas (AP) - Jason Hatcher doesn't think of himself as a vocal leader for the Dallas Cowboys, just a guy who speaks his mind.

Except when he hears that Jerry Jones wants to keep the defensive tackle past this final year of his contract and someone suggests the Cowboys owner should back up those words with some cash.

``I'm not saying nothing,'' Hatcher said, playfully biting his tongue.

The eighth-year pro is letting his play do most of the talking, and certainly giving Jones something to think about when it didn't seem even a few months ago that a long-term deal in Dallas would be an option.

Hatcher was a steady substitute his first five years with the Cowboys before getting his break when Rob Ryan came in as defensive coordinator two years ago. The 31-year-old has now started 25 straight games, and he's more than just a consistent presence on a line that has lost Anthony Spencer for the season with a knee injury, and might not get anything significant out of Jay Ratliff for the second straight year.

Hatcher's making a lot of plays in the revamped four-man front under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and line coach Rod Marinelli. He's just one sack behind star pass rusher and new franchise sack leader DeMarcus Ware this season.

``More than anything else, you're just seeing him play with a relentless spirit both defending the run and running to the football at the end of the down but also getting to the quarterback,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ``He's playing really, really good football.''

Hatcher wanted out of Dallas three years ago. He simply couldn't get on the field much, and didn't think he ever would. Ryan saw something in him about the same time he signed a three-year deal, and he was a full-time starter by the end of Ryan's first season in 2011.

``He kind of got my career started off, rebirthed again,'' Hatcher said. ``So yeah, I definitely give a lot of credit to Rob.''

But he might give more to Marinelli in a new scheme that looks like a better fit for a taller interior lineman. The 6-foot-6 Hatcher is only a sack and a half from his career high three games into the season, and he holds court with reporters to discuss the post-sack dances that might be next.

In one of the dances he does right now, Hatcher raises his arms and rubs his thumbs and fingers together, almost a ``show me the money'' move. He's not saying what it means, but he does acknowledge that he's talked to his family about the idea that the only player remaining from Dallas' 2006 draft might not be back.

``But at the end of the day, I'm not worried about that,'' Hatcher said. ``I'm just going to go out there and play my butt off for the rest of this season and whatever happens happens.''

Garrett rejected the idea that Hatcher has become a vocal leader, maybe because he had just finished dismissing as ``inaccurate'' a report that Hatcher had called out quarterback Tony Romo in a speech to teammates about avoiding an up-and-nature tendency that has led to 8-8 records in Garrett's first two full seasons.

Hatcher's speech - nobody denied that he gave one - came after Dallas followed a season-opening victory against the NFC East rival Giants with a road loss for the second year in a row.

``He didn't speak for long,'' Garrett said. ``He spoke to the whole group. I thought he spoke well. He backs it up in practice and he backs it up in the games.''

As for Hatcher's technical explanation for why he's backing it up in games, he says he's getting more one-on-one looks from offensive linemen with more defenders around him up front. The Cowboys ran plenty of stunts when they sacked Sam Bradford six times in last week's 31-7 win over St. Louis, and Hatcher is benefiting from those as well.

Hatcher had some of the best sound bites from training camp, talking up teammates new and old as injuries to Spencer and Ratliff lingered and key backup Tyrone Crawford was lost for the season to a torn Achilles tendon.

After last week's speech to his teammates, Hatcher was on the big video board at the Cowboys' stadium, delivering the motivational message in the center of a group of players before Sunday's game against the Rams.

Maybe he doesn't call himself a vocal leader - and maybe his coach doesn't either - but it looks like it's working out that way.

``When it's time for me to say something I say it,'' Hatcher said. ``I don't know. If that makes me a vocal leader, so be it.''

Just don't ask him to talk about the owner.

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

LaMichael JamesJul 21 11:46a

San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James could have trouble making the roster this year, according to ESPN.com's Bill Williamson. Williamson believes RB Frank Gore, RB Carlos Hyde, RB Marcus [ More ]

Ray-Ray ArmstrongJul 21 11:42a

St. Louis Rams LB Ray Ray Armstrong has impressed coaches and was already poised to push for an expanded role before LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar's arrest. Armstrong could have an [ More ]

Jairus ByrdJul 21 11:12a

New Orleans Saints FS Jairus Byrd's (back) recovery from back surgery has gone as expected. However, it's unknown if he'll be limited at the start of training camp.

Christine MichaelJul 21 11:05a

Seattle Seahawks RB Christine Michael's work this spring has done nothing to dismiss the thought that he will receive regular carries this season. It's still not known how many [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 21 11:03a

New York Giants rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. is viewed as an outside receiver despite standing just 5-foot-11, and he might push WR Rueben Randle for the No. 2 job opposite WR Victor Cruz.

Rashad JenningsJul 21 11:02a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings is still considered the lead running back, despite RB David Wilson's (neck) clearance for contact.

Justin HunterJul 21 11:02a

Tennessee Titans WR Justin Hunter is drawing big comparisons to retired WR Randy Moss from WR Michael Preston. 'Not only is the sky the limit, I think he's going [ More ]

Jeremy HillJul 21 10:44a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Jeremy Hill could split carries with RB Giovani Bernard this upcoming season and receive over 200 carries, in the opinion of Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson.

Marcell DareusJul 21 10:42a

Buffalo Bills DT Marcell Dareus has drawn the ire of Bills general manager Doug Whaley after reporting to camp out of shape. 'It's cause for concern,' Whaley said. 'You [ More ]

Demetrius HarrisJul 21 10:41a

Kansas City Chiefs TE Demetrius Harris looks like a player ready to contribute this season, according to head coach Andy Reid. Meanwhile, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com believes Harris could [ More ]

Dante RosarioJul 21 10:36a

Chicago Bears TE Dante Rosario is the leading candidate to be the team's No. 2 tight end this year, according to Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com. TE Matthew Mulligan, TE [ More ]

David WilsonJul 21 10:32a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) said that he has been cleared for everything.

Joseph RandleJul 21 10:30a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the inside track to win the No. 3 running back job, and would likely take over the every-down role if something were to happen to RB DeMarco Murray.

Joe McKnightJul 21 08:22a

Kansas City Chiefs RB Joe McKnight (knee) had arthroscopic knee surgery after minicamp ended last month and is close to returning to practice.

Chad HenneJul 21 03:12a

Although the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff is still high on QB Chad Henne, coach Gus Bradley said QB Blake Bortles could start a preseason game. It would be late [ More ]

Dee MillinerJul 20 11:42p

New York Jets CB Dee Milliner can become a shutdown corner in the NFL, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'I think he's got a chance to be,' Ryan [ More ]

Nigel BradhamJul 20 11:32p

Buffalo Bills LB Brandon Spikes started at middle linebacker Sunday, July 20, in place of LB Kiko Alonso (knee). LB Keith Rivers and LB Nigel Bradham started alongside Spikes [ More ]

Chris SneeJul 20 09:52p

New York Giants OG Chris Snee (elbow) will announce his retirement Monday, July 21, according to ESPN.com's Dan Graziano.

EJ ManuelJul 20 09:52p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel went 4-for-4 on passes to WR Sammy Watkins during team drills Sunday, July 20.

S. HendersonJul 20 09:42p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills OT Seantrel Henderson (hip) suffered a hip injury Sunday, July 20, and his status going forward is not yet known.

Marquise GoodwinJul 20 09:32p

Buffalo Bills WR Marquise Goodwin (undisclosed) missed practice Sunday, July 20, after dealing with a medical issue. He is expected to return to practice tomorrow, according to Joe Buscaglia of WGR Sports Radio 550.

Marcell DareusJul 20 06:22p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills DT Marcell Dareus failed his conditioning test, which is why he was put on the inactive list.

Bradie EwingJul 20 05:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars FB Bradie Ewing will battle FB Will Ta'ufo'ou for the starting fullback spot in camp.

Storm JohnsonJul 20 05:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Storm Johnson will enter camp as the fourth running back, but the team is excited about his potential. 'Storm is going to run at the same [ More ]

Jordan TodmanJul 20 05:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Jordan Todman is viewed as a change-of-pace back, along with RB Denard Robinson, according to offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. 'Those two guys are truly change-of-pace backs,' [ More ]

Michael BowieJul 20 05:02p

Seattle Seahawks OT Michael Bowie has had an uneven spring with coaches saying he could have been in better shape. He'll compete with OT Justin Britt at right tackle.

Tharold SimonJul 20 04:52p

Seattle Seahawks DT Jordan Hill, DT Jesse Williams and CB Tharold Simon will take on larger roles in their second season in 2014. Hill could be a potential starter in nickel packages.

Zach MillerJul 20 04:52p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson will be TE Zach Miller's backup this season, but he's likely to see increased playing time.

Jo-Lonn DunbarJul 20 03:12p

St. Louis Rams LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar and NBA free-agent Donte Greene were arrested Sunday, July 20, for fighting with each other outside the Dream Nightclub in Miami Beach, Fla. [ More ]

Tom CoughlinJul 20 10:32a

New York Giants owner John Mara said head coach Tom Coughlin is not on the hot seat, but also added that Coughlin has not earned the right to leave [ More ]

D.J. WilliamsJul 20 03:42a

The New England Patriots have signed free-agent TE Nate Byham (Buccaneers). Byham will likely compete with TEs Michael Hoomanawanui and D.J. Williams for a chance to back up Rob Gronkowski.

Winston GuyJul 19 10:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars SS Winston Guy is considered the leading candidate for the starting free safety job but will have to compete with FS Josh Evans (foot) for the job during training camp.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group