The BLITZ – DALLAS COWBOYS REPORT – Special Feature – Video Series
Bill and Mickey take a look at the progress Dez Bryant has made during the offseason.
Tony Romo joins the set for an exclusive interview.
Get an inside look into the Cowboys U event that had the players take on the role of coach.
Bill and Mickey tie up all the loose ends as the Cowboys finish up OTA’s.
BONUS VIDEO: DeMarco Murray and new running mate, Lawrence Vickers
Bryan Broaddus takes a in-depth look at film from DeMarco Murray and his new running mate, Lawrence Vickers
REMEMBER WHEN: Bonus Video clip
Miles Austin, making his first career start, broke a tackle and sprinted 52 yards down the sideline for a game-winning touchdown, propelling the visiting Dallas Cowboys past the Kansas City Chiefs, 26-20, in overtime.
Position: Defensive end Size: 6-4, 315 Age: 29 College: LSU
Drafted: First round, No. 20 overall, in 2005.
Experience: Entering his eighth season
Contract status: Spears signed a five-year, $19.2 million contract last July.
2011 review: Just last week, Spears defined his 2011 season as “rocky.” Spears said he struggled with his new assignment after he moved from the left to the right side.
“I didn’t really get a feel coming into training camp late,” Spears said. “I fell behind the whole season, especially playing a new position at that point. So it was a tough adjustment and I didn’t do as well as I wanted to do at it. But now I am back on my left side and I’ve got time to learn the defense.”
Spears made little impact last season after the Cowboys re-signed the unrestricted free agent. He has 29 tackles (according to the coaching statistics) and only one sack.
2012 Outlook: Spears has never produced like one would expect from a first-round draft choice. Switching sides last year didn’t help the defensive end.
Now that Spears is back on the left side, he said he feels he has the best chance to contribute and maintain his playing time among a cluttered defensive end rotation.
The Cowboys want to see more production in terms of sacks from their defensive ends in 2012. They hope that the defensive ends can pressure the quarterback more with the unit now in its second full year under coordinator Rob Ryan.
“When you get up in the years, it gets tougher,” Spears said.
Marcus Raishon Spears (born March 8, 1983) is a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football for Louisiana State University, and earned All-American honors. The Cowboys selected him in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft.
Spears was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was a highly sought-after two-sport athlete in the country following his senior season at Southern University Lab High School in Baton Rouge. On the football field, he was rated as the top tight end prospect in America and the third-best overall prospect after earning high school All-America honors. He was named first-team Class 1A all-state selection on both offense and defense following his senior season, becoming the first player to be honored on both in Louisiana since 1991. He finished his final prep season with 28 receptions for 435 yards and three touchdowns and 245 rushing yards and six touchdowns on offense and 22 tackles for losses, 11.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries on defense. The communication studies major was also one of the nation’s top basketball prospects. He played in the first ever U.S. Army All-American Bowl game on December 30, 2000.
Spears attended Louisiana State University, where he played for coach Nick Saban’s LSU Tigers football team from 2001 to 2004. He was initially recruited by LSU as a tight end, but was soon moved to the defensive line.
In 2001, Spears played tight end, fullback and defensive end as a freshman, recording two catches for 20 yards on offense and eight tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss on defense. His play earned him freshman All-SEC honors as a tight end.
2002 marked his first season as a full-time defensive player, in which he recorded 46 tackles, 16 quarterback pressures, 3.5 tackles for losses and three sacks.
In 2003, during LSU’s national championship season, Spears contributed 49 tackles, 23 quarterback pressures, 13 tackles for losses, six sacks and six passes defensed to earn First-team All-SEC honors. Playing against Oklahoma for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl, Spears returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 21-7 advantage in their 21-14 victory.
In 2004, Spears put together a career year, earning First-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Foundation, American Football Coaches Association, and AP, and second-team All-America honors from Sports Illustrated, first-team All-SEC honors and was a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and Lombardi Award. He finished the year tying his career-high in tackles (49) while setting career-highs for tackles for losses (17) and sacks (nine, a figure that ranks fourth in the LSU single-season records). He also recorded 21 quarterback pressures to help the Tigers finish the year third in the country in total defense.
Spears selected in the 1st round (20th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft.
Spears suffered from injury problems in his first two training camps. In his first training camp in 2005 as a rookie, He sprained his right knee and ankle while straining his calf. What could have been a serious injury was only a minor setback for him. He missed the first three preseason games but bounced back in time for the final preseason game and recorded three tackles and a sack.
Before the 2006 season, Spears underwent minor knee surgery to repair meniscus damage, which forced him to miss the first two weeks of training camp. He was able to return to play in the final three preseason games, along with the entire regular season and playoff game. Spears finished ninth on the Cowboys’ defense with 48 tackles and tied for fifth on the squad with three quarterback pressures.
In 2005, Spears progressed, as he started the season as a back-up and eased into a starting role to earn All-Rookie honors from Pro Football Weekly. His 35 tackles were good for 12th on the team – third among linemen and rookies while his six quarterback pressures were fourth. He added 1.5 sacks and a pass defensed.
In his NFL debut at the San Diego Chargers, Spears was in the defensive line rotation but did not record a tackle. He recorded his first sack – one he split with Greg Ellis – and his first career tackle against the Washington Redskins. Spears then led all defensive linemen with four tackles at the San Francisco 49ers. He helped limit the Philadelphia Eagles to 129 yards, including just 19 rushing, the fourth lowest in franchise history. Spears earned his first NFL start at defensive end at the Seattle Seahawks and responded with three tackles and a batted pass while helping limit Shaun Alexander, the NFL’s leading rusher to 21 carries for 61 yards (2.9 avg.). He officially moved into the starting lineup full time against the Arizona Cardinals and led all linemen with four tackles. Spears logged his third career start in Philadelphia and posted a season-high seven tackles to lead all linemen and finish second on the team. He had a three-tackle game at the New York Giants. Against the Kansas City Chiefs, Spears recorded four and a fumble recovery. With 1:16 remaining in the first half and Dallas trailing 14-10, Spears scooped up a Trent Green fumble at the Cowboys 15-yard line and returned it 59 yards to the Chiefs 26-yard line. Three plays later, Drew Bledsoe completed a pass to Jason Witten for a touchdown and a 17-14 halftime lead. It was the eighth-longest return in franchise history and the longest ever by a Dallas rookie. In Washington, Spears recorded three tackles. In the season finale against the St. Louis Rams, he recorded two tackles and his first solo sack of the season.
Spears finished the 2006 season, with 48 tackles, including 31 solo tackles. He recorded only one sack, but he had three quarterback pressures and two tackles for loss, and three pass deflections.
In the season opener at the Jacksonville Jaguars, Spears had two tackles and a tackle for loss. In Week two’s Sunday night game against the Redskins, Spears recorded his only sack of the season, sacking quarterback Mark Brunell in the first quarter, he also recorded two tackles. After the Cowboys’ bye week, Spears led all defensive linemen with four tackles against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans, in rookie quarterback Vince Young first career start, only rushed 27 times for 78 yards. Spears recorded two tackles the next week in Philadelphia, where he also broke up a pass at the line of scrimmage. Against the Houston Texans, Spears recorded three tackles and a quarterback pressure. He recorded three tackles against the Giants in a Monday night loss at Texas Stadium. At the Carolina Panthers, in a Sunday night victory, Spears had two more tackles and a quarterback pressure. He had five tackles the following week in Washington, followed by four tackles in Arizona. Against the eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, Spears had three tackles and one for loss, limiting the Colts to a season-low 14 points. In the annual Thanksgiving Day game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had three tackles. He had two tackles in the Cowboys’ 23-20 win over the Giants at the Meadowlands. The following week Spears recorded a season-high six tackles against the Saints in a home loss. He recorded four tackles in a road win against the Atlanta Falcons, helping provide pressure on the defensive line that sacked Falcons quarterback Michael Vick four times. Spears had three tackles in the Cowboys’ Christmas Day loss to the Eagles and did not record a stat in the season finale against the Detroit Lions. In his postseason debut, Spears had one tackle and led the team with two quarterback pressures against the Seahawks.
In 2007, Spears appeared in all 16 regular season game and Dallas’ lone post season game. For the season Spears recorded 32 tackles (19 solo), two forced fumbles, and a career high two sacks and three passed defensed on the season.
In the season opener against the New York Giants, Spears recorded one tackle (one solo). During week two at the Miami Dolphins, he recorded two tackles (two solo). In the week three victory over the Chicago Bears, Spears recorded two tackles (one solo). During the week four victory over the St. Louis Rams, he recorded two tackles (one solo), and 0.5 sack. In week five at the Buffalo Bills, Spears recorded two tackles (one solo). During the Cowboys first loss of the season, to the New England Patriots, he recorded four tackles. In the week seven win over the Minnesota Vikings, Spears did not record any stats. During week nine at the Philadelphia Eagles, he recorded one tackle and 0.5 sacks and a forced fumble. In the week 10 win over the New York Giants, Spears recorded two tackles (two solo). During the week 11 win over the Washington Redskins, he recorded one tackle. In the week 12 victory over the New York Jets, Spears recorded two tackles and one pass defensed. During the week 13 victory over the Green Bay Packers, he recorded one tackle, and a pass defensed. In the week 14 win over the Detroit Lions, Spears recorded one tackle. During a week 15 loss to the Eagles, he recorded three tackles (two solo). In a week 16 victory over the Carolina Panthers, Spears recorded one tackle and one pass defensed. During the season finale against the Washington Redskins, he recorded a season high five tackles (four solo), one sack, and one forced fumble.
In the Cowboys lone playoff game against eventual Super Bowl XLII champion New York Giants, Spears recorded two tackles.
Spears signed a 5 year, $19.2 million contract during the off-season. He injured his groin in the second preseason game and missed the rest of the preseason.
Spears was actively involved in community service projects during his time at LSU. His sister, Deidre was a three-year letterwoman on the basketball team at LSU, while starting two of those years for the Lady Tigers. As a rookie, Spears was a member of the Cowboys 2005 Rookie Club, a program designed to introduce rookie team members to community service in the Dallas area which included work with The Salvation Army, Children’s Medical Center Dallas and Meals on Wheels. In the spring, Spears was a co-chair, along with teammate DeMarcus Ware, for the second annual Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Dallas Cowboys Tailgate Party at Abacus restaurant that benefited The North Texas Food Bank. The event raised enough money to provide 330,000 meals to North Texans in need.
In 2008 Marcus Spears donated $6,500 to a high school student by the name of Willie Forbes who was going on a trip to Europe for 21 days with People to People Student Ambassadors. In Europe, Willie visited France, Italy, and Greece. While in those countries, Willie visited sites such as the Eiffel Tower and the Parthenon. He and Marcus now share a great friendship.
Spears and his wife, Aiysha, have one daughter, Macaria Reagan (born 2/23/07), and one son, Tory.
Position: Defensive End Size: 6-6, 302 Age: 29 College: Grambling State
Drafted: Third Round, 92nd overall, in 2006
Experience: Entering his seventh season
Contract status: In the second year of a three-year contract, $6 million contract, Hatcher is scheduled to make a $1.5 million base salary in 2012.
2011 review: Jason Hatcher’s development as a player took longer than expected. And it wasn’t certain whether he would be back last season as the Cowboys made an effort to retain another defensive end, the promising Stephen Bowen. But when Bowen signed with the Washington Redskins, the Cowboys made a push to keep Hatcher.
In August 2011, Hatcher rejoined the Cowboys and eventually emerged as a regular starter under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. With his promotion, he became the team’s most effective defensive end among players who were on the field for more than 300 snaps. Hatcher established career-high marks in sacks (4.5) and combined tackles (28). He also intercepted a pass and batted down two others while forcing a fumble.
“I had fun,” Hatcher said. “My role expanded. I worked my butt off and got to be a starter. I had a lot of fun. I think last year was the most fun I had. Coach Ryan came in and gave me an opportunity and I took advantage of it.”
2012 Outlook: There is a surplus of defensive ends on the roster at the moment. But Hatcher’s position seems secure especially now that Marcus Spears has moved back over to the left side. Even if that development didn’t happen, Hatcher has proven he is worthy of starting now that he is entering the prime of his career and is coming off his best season in Dallas. Among 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL, Hatcher was rated the ninth-most effective in the league by ProFootballFocus.com in 2011.
That’s not surprising to those who have watched him progress. Hatcher is known as a hard worker and another year in Ryan’s system should help him and the other players on the defensive line.
“I’m just looking forward to having a better year this year than last year,” Hatcher said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Jason Dewayne Hatcher
(born July 13, 1982) is a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Grambling State University, and was drafted in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Hatcher was born in Alexandria, Louisiana and was raised in Jena and attended Jena High School where he lettered in football and basketball. As a senior, he helped his team to a 10-3 record and earned all-state honors after catching 28 passes for 1,028 yards as a tight end.
Hatcher attended Grambling State University where he majored in physical education.
As a true freshman, he was ruled academically ineligible due to NCAA requirements. Then, in 2002, he was granted a medical redshirt after rupturing his right ACL. In 2003, as a sophomore he started at tight end and caught one pass for 14 yards and a two-point conversion before being converted to defensive end midway through the season. After changing positions, he recorded 13 tackles, three sacks and one pass broken up. In 2003, as a junior, he played his first full season at defensive end and finished the year with 33 tackles, 10 for losses and five sacks. As a senior he recorded 65 tackles.
He finished his career with 111 tackles, 31.5 for losses and 18.5 sacks.
Hatcher was selected in the 3rd round (92nd overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
As a rookie, Hatcher played in 14 games, missing two with a sprained ankle. For the season, he recorded 13 tackles, one for a loss and 2.5 sacks. In 2007, he played in all 16 games and recorded 35 tackles, three for losses and two sacks, while forcing one fumble. In 2008, Hatcher recorded 36 tackles, one for a loss, one pass broken up and one sack. In 2009, he played in all 16 games and recorded 29 tackles, one sack and one pass breakup. In 2010, he started his first career game and recorded 13 tackles and one sack.
Hatcher and his wife Natasha have two sons, DiCarlos and Jason, Jr. and one daughter, Tamia. He is a relative of Bryant Purvis, who was facing attempted murder charges as one of the Jena Six. Charges have since been reduced to aggravated battery.
Hatcher hopes to one day become a head football coach.