- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- Releasing a player apparently doesn’t prevent Jerry Jones from busting out the hyperbole.
Case in point: He said the recently released Jay Ratliff could have been “the best” 3-technique ever coached by Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. That’s quite a mouthful considering that Warren Sapp, who set the standard for the position while starring for Marinelli and Monte Kiffin in Tampa Bay, was just inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"Well, Jay’s, of course, his game is always been about effort," Jones said Friday on KRLD-FM when asked if Ratliff could still make an impact for a team at the age of 32. "It’s been around hustle. It’s been about what made him really such a good player, because he also has good physical ability.
“We had really counted on him this year. We thought Jay could come in here and maybe be the best at what they call a 3-technique or it’s a quick-twitch guy there in the middle, and let Rod Marinelli use him. We thought he could be the best that Rod has ever played with."
To put that in perspective, Sapp was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 1999, when he had 12.5 sacks for the league’s third-ranked defense. That was the first of four consecutive All-Pro seasons for Sapp, who had 16 sacks in 2000.
It turns out that the Cowboys have a dominant 3-technique tackle on the roster despite Ratliff’s absence and eventual departure. Jason Hatcher, who would have played nose tackle if Ratliff had been part of this Dallas defensive line, leads all defensive tackles in the league with six sacks.