IRVING, Texas ** – A battered defensive line should get a boost after the bye week.
Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, the team's leader this year in sacks, said after missing Sunday's game against the Saints that he expects to return from his stinger injury to play Nov. 24 against the Giants.
"I want to come back being the Jason Hatcher that left and help my team win," Hatcher said. "It hurt me not being out there (Sunday). Not that I say things would have been different, but I really think I could have helped my team. It hurt sitting over there just seeing my team get beat on."
The stinger has bothered Hatcher for a couple weeks, but a hit against the Vikings forced the tackle out of the game and left him without strength or flexibility in his left arm. He said the stinger, or pinched nerve, started to feel better throughout the week.
"The strength has come back tremendously, so I'm very optimistic about after the bye week," Hatcher said. "I'm going to go in there and just work my butt off."
Hatcher didn't practice the Wednesday or Thursday before the Saints game, but he came back in a limited capacity on Friday. He was questionable heading into the weekend, but he wasn't [embedded_ad] cleared to go for the Sunday night game in New Orleans.
The Cowboys did get DeMarcus Ware back against the Saints, but even he was hobbled a couple times and had to rotate in and out.
Without Hatcher, the Cowboys allowed 242 rushing yards, while Mark Ingram had a career day with 145 rushing yards. The Dallas defense only got to Drew Brees once, and the quarterback had all day in the pocket.
Hatcher said the bye week won't be much of an off period for him, because he's sure he'll be in the weight room getting ready to return.