ASHBURN, Va. -- Jason Hatcher knew the end was coming in Dallas. So when he left, he did so minus any bitterness or regret. It allowed him to shelve certain emotions while making a move to a division rival.
“It was an easy transition,” Hatcher said.
The Washington Redskins have been pleased with Hatcher, who signed a four-year, $27.5 million contract in the offseason. He’s added a physical presence inside, as well as pass-rush help with three sacks -- and he's drawing numerous double-teams.
Dallas, meanwhile, has gone from a potentially bad defense to one that ranks 15th overall in yards and 10th in points allowed. It’s not as if the Cowboys necessarily miss him, though they only have seven sacks this season -- Hatcher had a career-best 11 for them a year ago.
Still, Hatcher maintains a just-another-game mentality as the Redskins prepare to play the Cowboys Monday night.
“You’ve just got to be locked into what is at stake for this team, and I am,” he said. “What’s at stake is another win. So that is what I’m focusing on. I’m not going out there trying to be no hero or anything like that. I’m just going to continue to be the player I am. I am not going to go do nothing special.”
Hatcher does stay in contact with players from his former team. He also said he could sense a culture change in Dallas, which is now 6-1.
“It took a while, with me being an a-hole sometimes, you know the culture kind of changed,” he said. “You could see it happening. I’m excited for those guys. I wish the best for them.”
Hatcher is trying to become more of a leader in Washington. Though Hatcher said his new teammates accepted him as if he’s been here his whole career, he’s trying to exert more influence on changing the culture in Washington. Typically, wins do the trick. Until then, Hatcher is trying to do his part.
“It’s slowly but surely coming in,” Hatcher said. “I’m just being the guy that I have always been, the leader that they expect me to be. Some things you’re not going to like that I say, but I am here to be that leader and that voice. The team is going in the right direction.”
And, yes, he’s anxious to sack his former teammate, Tony Romo -- something Hatcher wasn’t allowed to do in practice for the Cowboys.
“It’s exciting for every quarterback, man,” he said. “I enjoy rushing the passer, man. That is what I do. I love it, so it just happens to be my old teammate. It’s going to be great. I don’t like quarterbacks, so every quarterback, all quarterbacks, are going to get rushed the same by me.”