Jason Hatcher: My game is getting upfield

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
5:00
PM ET
They gave him what he wanted, now Jason Hatcher must give the Washington Redskins what they need: a pass rush from the interior.

Not that he anticipates anything but that happening.

“My game was getting upfield and causing havoc,” Hatcher, who signed his four-year, $27.5 million deal Friday, said in a conference call with local reporters. “Not just sitting back and reading blocks. I’m able to get up and disrupt and penetrate gaps. I took my game to another level. In a 3-4 a lot of guys sit back ... but they have great stuff for me, and I can get upfield and cause havoc like I’ve been doing.”

[+] EnlargeJason Hatcher
Ed Szczepanski/USA TODAY SportsJason Hatcher on joining linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan in Washington: "We'll be super effective once we get to know each other's game."
The Redskins have used a lot of two-gap schemes up front, but with a desire to apply more pressure they will use more one-gap schemes. So instead of a defensive lineman’s first step being lateral and worrying about two gaps, they can get upfield into a particular gap. It allows defensive linemen to be more aggressive.

That is partly why Hatcher recorded a career-best 11 sacks with Dallas last season. It’s likely, too, that he will move around -- playing end in their 3-4 scheme and tackle in their nickel. Hatcher said Dallas did a good job putting him in good situations last season.

“They got me in one-on-one situations and let me do what I do best, which is rush the quarterback,” he said. “They’re not going to bring me in and try to change who I am. I’ll still get up the field and cause havoc.”

The Redskins made Hatcher the offer after he had visited Oakland. He said they “blew the doors off me.”

Hatcher said veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall called him, and quarterback Robert Griffin III texted him after he agreed to a deal. Griffin’s message?

“He told me he was happy I ain’t chasing him no more,” Hatcher said.

Indeed, he sacked Griffin twice during an October win last season, one of which Hatcher did what he said he does best: win a one-on-one battle.

Hatcher said he’s looking forward to working with both outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo.

“Those guys can rush the quarterback. Add me to the mix and we can do a lot of different stuff,” Hatcher said. “We’ll be super effective once we get to know each other’s game.”

He also provided a mini-scouting report on his game: “If you look at me you think I’m a power guy. But I got it all. I use my power, my quickness. My hands are the key. I have great hands. I hit them with all kind of stuff. That’s why I’m so effective. I’m not a one dimensional guy when it comes to the pass rush. I have all sort of moves.”

He also said that because he spent his first five years as a reserve he feels like a young 31. Hatcher turns 32 in July.

“God works in mysterious ways,” Hatcher said. “It’s a process of sitting behind guys for five years. It makes sense now. I’m in my prime. I’m in my peak.”

And he likes staying in the NFC East -- and being part of the Redskins-Cowboys games after eight seasons on the other side.

“Just the rivalry, man, and to get back in this smash-mouth football,” Hatcher said. “Us and the Cowboys. It’ll be an exciting game when we play the Cowboys. That’s one of the main reasons [for signing here] is to stay in it. I love it here. This is one of the hardest divisions in football.”

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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