- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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The idea when the Cowboys moved to the 4-3 in the offseason was to play Jay Ratliff at the three technique and put Hatcher at nose tackle. In Monte Kiffin’s scheme, the three technique is the glamour position and the nose tackle does the grunt work.
But Ratliff never played a down for the Cowboys in 2013 and was cut on Oct. 16. Hatcher has put up a career-high nine sacks in 11 games (he missed one game with a stinger) and has five tackles for loss, 23 quarterback pressures, three pass deflections, a forced fumble and 40 tackles.
“Horrible,” Hatcher said when asked about the possibility of playing nose tackle. “Horrible. Horrible. I’m not a nose tackle. I probably would’ve been asking to be traded or something because I don’t like to play the nose. I’m not going to say I’m glad Rat is gone because I wish we had him because he’s a helluva football player, but God works in mysterious ways and I’m at the position. I’m making plays and having a helluva year, so I’ve got to keep it up.”
The timing couldn’t be better for Hatcher, who will be an unrestricted free agent following the season. He also turns 32 in July, which could keep the Cowboys and other teams from making a big financial play to sign him.
But speaking on KRLD-FM recently Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Hatcher has outperformed the three-year, $6 million deal he signed in 2011.
“Thank you Stephen for saying that,” Hatcher said. “I think it’s awesome. I don’t want to just talk about my contract. I just want to focus on these next couple of games, man, and let the chips fall where they may. I’m not worried about it. I think my play will take care of everything. It’s nothing you can really do about the situation with my contract, so there’s no need to be talking about it.”