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Need to Know: Redskins’ Hatcher looking for a bounce back year

Aug 11, 2015, 6:10 AM EDT

Hatcher-fumble-recovery

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, August 11, two days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns in Cleveland.

If you need to catch up on what’s happening in Richmond, scroll to the bottom for a list of our posts from the last 24 hours. 

Hatcher looking to bounce back

RICHMOND—Redskins defensive end Jason Hatcher had a tough time last summer after signing a free agent deal with the Redskins that paid the then 32-year-old over $10 million guaranteed. He had to undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his knee, forcing him out of some of OTAs and minicamp. The injury lingered and he was out for part of training camp.

He was never quite right all season. A hamstring injury hampered him in the early going and another issue with his knee sidelined him the last three games of the season. Brought in to help the Redskins bolster their pass rush, he recorded only 5.5 sacks.

It has been a different story this year. Hatcher has not missed a single day this year due to injury. The coaches have been generous in giving him “veteran’s days off” in order to keep him fresh for when the games start counting.

“This training camp’s been easy for me, I’ve had days off here and there it’s been good, actually flew by,” he said. “This probably was the easiest training camp I’ve ever been through.”

He is looking forward to getting the preseason underway on Thursday when the Redskins go to Cleveland. Hatcher said he did not know how much the starters will play but he will put an emphasis on fundamentals.

“I just want to see where I’m at physically, try to stay low, keep my pad level, be where I’m supposed to be at,” he said. “Don’t try to be a hero because it’s preseason but go out there and play hard and use this as a measuring stick of where the first team’s at right now.”

Despite the injuries, Hatcher actually played better than his sack total indicated last year. He was second on the team in hurries and quarterback hits, just missing many sacks. If Hatcher, now 33, can stay healthy and get a little help from what should be an upgraded secondary he could have the double-digit sack total that many were looking for last year.

We will have to see how things develop but it starts with Hatcher staying healthy. On that front it’s so far, so good.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1:35

—It’s been 226 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 33 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 2; final cuts 25; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 44

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In case you missed it

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 11, 2015 at 8:54 AM

    I thought Hatcher was doing pretty well until getting banged up in that first Eagles game? (Along with a bunch of others.)
    ~

    • bangkokben - Aug 11, 2015 at 9:34 AM

      That Eagles game was the beginning of the end for us last year and I remember thinking at the time, “I hope the defense can recover from all these injuries.” Of course, the rest is history.

    • Rich Tandler - Aug 11, 2015 at 11:26 AM

      He played well against JAX but then again the whole defense did.

  2. ET - Aug 11, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    The increased DL depth this year should pay dividends for Hatcher. It’ll be easier for the coaches to rotate him in and out and keep him fresh.

  3. hk2000 - Aug 11, 2015 at 10:50 AM

    I remember reading in one of those training camp reports that Barry/ Fewel will be running a zone scheme defense , is that a better fit for our DBs? Doesn’t that imply looser coverage and thus less time to get to the QB? I don’t know, but I have a feeling we’re heading for a repeat of last years’ awful defense. Hope I’m wrong- especially that our head coach is hoping to win low scoring games, AGAIN!!!

    • bangkokben - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:07 PM

      It doesn’t matter what scheme the defense runs, the personnel is dramatically different. If you take Rich’s latest roster prediction on defense as a blueprint (see below), you’d see that the defense has six new starters (54.5%) and ten new faces (40%). The returning six starters only started a combined 59 games because of injury (only Kerrigan started every game). So the current starting line-up (as predicted by Tandler) started 59 out of a possible 176 games for the Redskins last year or 33.5%! So it is safe to say that the starting defense will be about 60% different from last season. Lastly if you want to look just at DBs the percentages of change is staggering. Throw in Breeland since he will be back and you have two guys (him and Amerson) out of ten that played significant time in the defensive backfield last year and EIGHT that did not. Hall played less than three games – games/quarters in which the defense wasn’t toasted – Robinson and Rogers got on the field in only a handful of defensive snaps, Ihenacho got injured right away, and the rest are completely new to the team.

      In conclusion, the defense is different. The results may be the same but they would get there differently.

      Defensive line (7): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephan Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Kedric Golston, Frank Kearse

      Outside linebacker (4): Ryan Kerrigan, Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith

      Inside linebacker (5): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight, Adam Hayward

      Cornerback (4): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Justin Rogers

      Safety (5): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Trenton Robinson

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:10 PM

        I feel that the team-wide lack of talent (after the first few marquee names) is being addressed.

        Of course with the rules the NFL now operates under, QB play is almost everything.

        Really hoping our new guys on the O.L. get it together so RGIII has a fair chance to show if he deserves that 2016 option.
        ~

        • bangkokben - Aug 11, 2015 at 2:34 PM

          Agreed that QB play is ‘super’ significant in this day and age of football but we can look at the recent success of teams in the NFC West and conclude that success (winning record) can be achieved despite who is under center. Arizona made it to the playoffs and could’ve made some noise there last year if Carson Palmer, not a top ten QB, hadn’t got injured. San Fran and Seattle made it to super bowls despite not having a finished product at QB as well. We got a GM who recognizes the importance of having strong lines and pieces around the quarterback.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:09 PM

      1) Of course it matters what scheme a defense runs. That’s a huge part as to why there were so many historical lows on this defense last season. The scheme is also a big reason we have a different DC this year. Sure personnel matters; but all we know right now is that there are many new starters. Galette and Knighton are the only clear upgrades in players at this point in the season IMO. Culliver should be an improvement but that is too easy an expectation since you can’t get much worst in coverage than this 2014 team. However, the reason the scheme matters is because we don’t know how these starters will perform under Joe Barry’s hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense.
      2) Yes the secondary will still play zone. Every defense plays some form of zone coverage and many good defenses play mostly zone coverage. The key difference is the move from a two gap zone rush to a single gap zone rush. This is where the personnel is important since you have to have the right players playing in a single gap. The linebackers can no longer benefit from the D line consuming blocks up front. These D line players will need to be more explosive off the line and so it becomes less about size/power. However, Joe Barry adds a twist to this one gap 3-4 by intermingling it with some elements of a 4-3. I’ve provided links on this defense many call a 3-4 Under.
      http://redskinscapitalconnection.com/film-breakdown-redskins-34-under-defense/

      Anyway; the issue last season wan’t playing a zone coverage itself. Also, moving to a one gap 3-4 Under should actually apply more pressure on the QB. It’s a more aggressive defense than Haslett’s that should result in more pressure coming faster. Coverage certainly needs to improve but the success of the coverage really starts with getting more pressure up front.

      • brucefan1 - Aug 11, 2015 at 2:01 PM

        Hey redskinsname…, thanks for turning me on to a new Skins site (for me at least).

        RCC! How’d I miss THAT baby?!

        Gonna bookmark it and explore it further. 👍🏼

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 11, 2015 at 3:21 PM

          You’re welcome – It can be a pretty informative site. Of course, second to Rich’s

      • bangkokben - Aug 11, 2015 at 2:26 PM

        Galette is upgrade over Murphy; not sure about Orakpo – definitely Galette is a better pass rusher
        Knighton is an upgrade over Baker and Cofield
        Paea is an upgrade over Kearse, Golston, Baker and anyone I missed who played the position last year
        Culliver is better than anyone we had last year
        Hall is still better than both Breeland and Amerson

        As for the safeties, they should be better than the guys we’ve had.

        Now factor in a scheme that is designed for this personnel and this defense has the potential to be much better than last year. Anyone who expects the same results because they wear Burgundy and Gold is missing the facts. Of course, there could be other factors as to why this defense isn’t a significant improvement but if that happens it has nothing to do with 2014.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Aug 11, 2015 at 3:17 PM

          I was thinking strictly new additions on personnel upgrade. Also, I have high hopes for Baker in a one gap scheme. He’s very athletic for his size and we could see some explosion from him we haven’t seen before. It’s not that I don’t like Paea but Baker could turn out to be the better more rounded option off the line.

        • bangkokben - Aug 11, 2015 at 4:49 PM

          The bottom line is that we now have options off the bench in the d-line especially considering the switch in scheme. We could actually dominate some team – especially if we get a sizable lead.

  4. kenlinkins - Aug 11, 2015 at 12:55 PM

    Rich: The Redskins play the Browns Thursday night in the first preseason game. Which areas will Redskins fans be impressed with and which will be cause for disappointment? (i.e. which topics will headline the Friday web sites)?

  5. brucefan1 - Aug 11, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    While I AM very glad to hear it Rich, I can’t see how this traIning camp being so easy and quick for you is germane to this story.

    Sorry… I just couldn’t resist! 😉 (Now back to your regular programming)

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