The Cowboys are transitioning from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme on defense, and on paper, it appears they have they personnel to make the change work. For starters, they look set at defensive end. Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware would thrive in any scheme, and Anthony Spencer comes off his best pass rushing season (11 sacks).
The cupboard isn’t bare at defensive tackle, either, with four-time Pro Bowler Jay Ratliff one starter. Then there’s Jason Hatcher, who figures to play inside in the new scheme — one where he’s not to lack for chances to get upfield and get after the quarterback, as he told DallasCowboys.com in a story published Friday.
“You’ve got to reprogram yourself from reading to attacking and getting off the ball,” Hatcher said of the 4-3, according to the club’s website. “It’s all predicated on you getting off the ball. The quicker you get off the ball, you cause havoc, you make plays.”
Hatcher also noted he’s been in constant contact with new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
“If you’re sitting back, reading stuff, that’s not what he wants,” Hatcher said of Marinelli’s scheme, per DallasCowboys.com.
The 30-year-old Hatcher has already proven he can play end in a 3-4 front, and he’s notched a respectable 8.5 combined sacks in the last two seasons. If he takes well to the Cowboys’ new scheme, he could position himself well next offseason, when he’s scheduled to become a free agent. Versatile defensive linemen who can create some pass rush pressure tend to be able to find work.