Hatcher: 'We would've packed it in' last year

IRVING, Texas -- The statistic caught Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher off guard. He did not know the Cowboys have the 32nd-ranked defense in the NFL, giving up 422.5 yards per game.

“I’m not worried about where we fit in, 32, doesn’t matter to me at all,” Hatcher said. “We’re getting turnovers. We’re doing what we’re supposed to do. It will all fall into place. It will work itself out. We’ll start putting some wins together.”

Where does the faith come from? From the play of Sean Lee, the return of DeMarcus Ware from a quadriceps strain, Hatcher's own play (a career-high seven sacks), and simply a belief in the defense.

“Just what I see in the guys,” Hatcher said. “I don’t like to look back on last year, but just looking at if we lose a game like that (last week at Detroit), we would’ve packed it in. We don’t have those guys like this on defense or on this entire team. That’s what makes me have faith -- just the guys we have. They just want to win for each other and we’re a brotherhood. We’re just going to continue to play until the end, and I think we’ll be in a good situation come late December.”

Why didn’t he say last year that players packed it in?

“I wasn’t in no position to say nothing,” he said. “I was trying to hang on to a job … like I am this year.”

Hatcher, who will be a free agent after this season, has increased his leadership role on the team this year. Coach Jason Garrett added an action photo of Hatcher on a wall outside the locker room, replacing Jay Ratliff. Hatcher is now featured with Lee, Ware, Jason Witten and Tony Romo.

“That meant a lot to me, man, just to understand my hard work finally paid off,” Hatcher said. “Just to be on that wall, it’s an honor and a privilege to be there. It wasn’t given. I earned that. So it makes me feel a lot better that I earned it, and they just didn’t put it up there and I didn’t do a thing.”