Redskins fans were excited to see No. 11’s debut in the burgundy and gold Monday night against the Cleveland Browns.
On Saturday, No. 97 will get his turn to officially put on the Redskins uniform for the first time.
Hatcher on Wednesday and Thursday got extensive work in team drills in practice for the first time all season, and said he was really able to put his knee to the test.
“You’re like, ‘Oh let me try this, see what it’d do,’” Hatcher said. “So, I was able to really push it today, do some stuff on it that I really wanted to do later in the week, but I was able to get it done today.”
The Redskins made it a priority to sign Hatcher this offseason after the 32 year old turned in a career year with the Dallas Cowboys last season, collecting a team-best 11 sacks en route to his first Pro Bowl selection.
But before he could begin working extensively with his teammates in practices, Hatcher – who was signed by the Redskins in March – required minor surgery on his left knee, a procedure that occurred in June.
Hatcher’s recovery began shortly after his surgery. He was placed on the team’s PUP list to begin training camp and was relegated to working with the Redskins’ training staff on the side until Aug. 9, when he passed a physical and was able to join his teammates for the first time.
“My main thing was, as tall as I am, just to play low, see if I could stay bent while a 300-pound man was on me,” he said. “There were no problems, so hopefully this thing can keep progressing the way it’s progressing and I can get some snaps in this third preseason game against Baltimore and get ready for the season.”
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Hatcher looked good in practice this week, and that the Grambling State product is “fired up and ready to go.”
“I think he is another bona fide defensive lineman that can play, rush the passer and run sideline to sideline,” Gruden said. “Anytime that you have a big man that can get after the quarterback, it’s a huge bonus for you.”
The first-year head coach said Hatcher’s presence “just makes your defense better.”
“He plays with a great energy, he’s a great leader, he plays hard, but he is a dominant pass rusher inside and that is an added advantage for the Redskins,” Gruden said.