How will Hatcher fit into Kiffin's defense?
Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher said Friday that he has talked briefly with new Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
But during that discussion they never got into the details of where or how Hatcher will be used in the team's new 4-3 scheme. Hatcher lined up at defensive end during previous seasons as the Cowboys ran a 3-4 scheme.
"He still doesn't know where I'm going to play yet," Hatcher said on The Ben and Skin Show on 103.3 [KESN-FM]. "I don't know if I'm going to be the Warren Sapp in his 4-3 defense or not. He does have high hopes for me. I'm going to be a big part of this defense, so I'm excited about this role I'll have in this upcoming season. I'm going to embrace it and be the best I can be."
Hatcher says switching to the 4-3 won't be that difficult because they ran a version of that defense at times under Rob Ryan.
"It's just some different technique stuff that we got to work out, get our footwork back, get used to getting off the ball, getting up-field, instead of reading somebody," Hatcher said. "We can attack more now, so it won't be much different. I'm looking forward to it. That's the way I played in college, just get up field and attack people. I think that's something I'll benefit well from.
"I'm excited about this defense, so we'll see where it takes us."
Hatcher could remain at defensive end under Kiffin's direction or he could be moved inside to one of the two tackle positions. One of the reasons Hatcher is eager to know where he's playing is so he can prepare his body. Hatcher said if he's going to play defensive end he'd like to get his weight down to 285 pounds. If he's going to play defensive tackle, Hatcher would like to weigh closer to 295, which he said is his current weight.
During the last two seasons under Ryan, Hatcher has become a significant factor, starting 26 games. Before Ryan's arrival, Hatcher only started one game during his first five seasons in the league. He called the firing of Ryan "shocking" but added, "they brought in an NFL legend, so I'm looking forward to working with that guy."
One of the other topics discussed with Hatcher was the NFL Draft. But judging by his response, don't expect Hatcher to be watching to see who the Cowboys will be selecting.
"I really don't care really because they're bringing a guy in to try to take my job," Hatcher said. "I'm just going to focus on me and the player I can be. This is a replacement business so I'm going to fight my butt off not to get replaced. I'm not paying attention to that. As of right now, we got the right guys to win an NFL Super Bowl, so I'm excited about it. So whatever they do in the draft, let them do it."
Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota