Defensive lineman Jason Hatcher came from Dallas to Washington with some unexpected baggage — a knee problem that knocked him out of the first two weeks of training camp, via arthroscopic surgery performed in June.
On Saturday, the team elevated him from the Non-Football Injury list. But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to return to full speed.
“Slowly but surely,” coach Jay Gruden told reporters on Saturday regarding the plan for bringing Hatcher along. “Get him in some individual drills, see how he does and hopefully we’ll get him ready by the third week of preseason, maybe fourth, but we will see how he does. It depends on how he feels after he trains and making sure there is no other damage or what have you, but he’s coming along very well.”
The plan ultimately is for Hatcher to help the defense come along even better.
“We brought him here to rush,” Gruden said. “Rush the passer. You see the progress that we’ve made, even just our first preseason game, just the pressure on the quarterback and [Patriots quarterback] Ryan Mallett just never really had a comfort zone of delivering the football. He felt pressure, and even though we didn’t get a ton of sacks, I felt like the quarterbacks knew that the pressure was there and Jason is going to be another element to that, an inside presence pass rush. With [Brian] Orakpo, [Ryan] Kerrigan, [Trent] Murphy, [Chris] Baker, [Jarvis] Jenkins on the inside, we have a system of guys, a number of guys that can come in there fresh and get after the quarterback. And also, in base downs, he can play the run a little bit and do his thing, but he’s a dominant player. He had 13 or so sacks last year and he’s going to be an added impact to our team once he gets healthy.”
Washington also signed safety Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith and waived cornerback Peyton Thompson.