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Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

How will Jason Hatcher impact the Redskins Defense?

Two weeks into free agency and the Redskins biggest splash made so far is the signing of Jason Hatcher from their biggest rival, the Dallas Cowboys. The question is…is he the answer to the Skins interior pass rush? Will he force teams to game plan to stop him and give greater freedom to the bookend OLBs, Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan?

It’s possible, but I have a nagging feeling that Redskins fans have been here before (Bruce Smith or Fat Al anyone?). Hatcher is 31; he’ll be 32 by the time the season starts. He signed a four year deal for $27.5m which will make him 36 at the end of it, and although Hatcher was rated high amongst 2014 free agents, I question the judgement behind the deal.

Ok, so signing a player from a divisional opponent makes them weaker while making the Redskins stronger, and there’s the insider information angle as well.  But despite the Cowboys wanting to re-sign him, I look at his career so far and see Hatcher has only had one year that you would consider to be above average.


Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

When you compare the signing of Hatcher to the signing of Linval Joseph from the Giants to the Vikings for $31.5m over five years, I have to wonder if that would have been the better option. Joseph is just 25, is 6’4” and weighs a massive 328 lbs.

I’m not even sure what Hatcher’s best position is?  Is he best as a nose tackle or an end in the 3-4? Or a defensive tackle in a 4-3?  Hatcher is listed at 6’6, 299 lbs.  Which, looking at the behemoths that play on both sides of the trenches nowadays, his size would suggest he translates as a 3-4 end in the Redskins defense.

For the Cowboys he was listed as a defensive end in their 3-4 until after the 2011 season, which was his first as a starter and he was credited with 4½ sacks. In 2012, as a nose tackle, he managed just four sacks, despite starting all 16 games for the first time in his career.

Last season, his contract year, Hatcher started all 15 games he played in, claimed 11 of his 27 career sacks and earned himself a pro bowl bid and a bumper pay day.  But was last season’s Jason Hatcher the player he will be for the Redskins?  Or was it the incentive to earn his free agent contract that motivated him?

Now granted, 11 sacks from a defensive tackle is a great achievement and judging by how Hatcher played for the season, especially against the Redskins, I doubt it was just money that was driving him.  Jason Hatcher seems to have come into his own as a player, and has finally found his niche in the NFL.

And if he can collapse the pocket as a pass rusher consistently for the next few years any where close to how he did last season, then it will be money well spent for the Redskins.


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Tags: Jason Hatcher Redskins Defense Washington Redskins

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