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  1. #1
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    Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    Monday, August 7, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    On any given day, during any normal training camp practice, there will be plenty of chatter on the field. For the most part, that talk is relatively reserved, but every once in a while the monotony of the day to grind will be broken up by loud, shrill screams.

    Those screeches can be heard all over the field and almost always originate from the guy wearing No. 95, defensive end Anthony Hargrove.

    “He keeps us amused because he has a lot of energy,” defensive end Leonard Little said. “I have always known Tony as a high energy guy, always laughing, joking around, jumping around. It keeps us laughing, but it also keeps us loosened up out there during practice.”

    Entering his third season in the NFL, Hargrove has never lacked energy or enthusiasm for football. On a consistent basis, Hargrove has been one of the team leaders in smiles and laughs.

    What he hasn’t been consistent about is sacking the quarterback or stuffing the run at his spot opposite Little. That’s one mission that Hargrove is taking steps to correct and he believes this is the year to do it.

    “That’s how I am treating it right now for myself as a make it or break it year,” Hargrove said. “It’s my third year; I finally should hopefully be the starter and trying to do the best I can to see where it goes from there. We’ll see what happens.”

    When the Rams drafted Hargrove with their third-round choice in 2004, he had been a year removed from football because of academic issues at Georgia Tech. When he was on the field, Hargrove had been a quarterback with little experience as a defensive end.

    But his size (6-3, 269 pounds) and athleticism made him an intriguing option for any team willing to take a chance on a bit of a project for the position. The Rams took that chance and Hargrove instantly became one of the team’s most impressive athletes.

    Hargrove was dominant on the practice field with his speed and agility, but it never quite translated to game days. Sure, there were flashes of the talent, but Hargrove lacked consistency from game to game.

    Finally, at the end of last season, something started to work for Hargrove. Never a fan of film study, Hargrove became a student of the game. He finished the year on a tear, recording 4.5 sacks in the final three games including a two-sack, fumble recovery, four tackle game in the finale against Dallas.

    “I started watching more film and watching pass rushers to see what they are doing that I wasn’t doing and that’s what I tried to do,” Hargrove said. “I just tried to do what they were doing.”

    What the likes of Dwight Freeney and Michael Strahan were doing was getting to the quarterback. Hargrove made it his mission to carry the confidence gained from his finish to the season into the offseason.

    Hargrove’s first goal was to add weight. Never much of a run stopper, Hargrove thought it would help him in that area. He packed on the pounds and says he is now about 282 pounds, a gain of about 12 pounds since the end of last year.

    Of course, when most players add that kind of weight it slows them down a step, but Hargrove doesn’t think it has slowed him much, if at all.

    “Coaches think it’s been a positive, saying ‘You look quicker, still have the same speed’ but I have a little more power (too),” Hargrove said. “There’s something a little more in my punch. I’m more stout going inside and being outside also.”

    Of all of the changes Hargrove has made to his study and eating habits, he believes the offseason additions the team made to the coaching staff as well as the roster will ultimately what makes him the player that so many had high expectations for when he arrived.

    One major change was the addition of Brian Baker as the defensive line coach. Baker replaced Bill Kollar, who departed for Buffalo in the offseason. Hargrove was familiar with Baker when the team hired him, but it wasn’t necessarily a good thing in Hargrove’s mind.

    “I actually had a little thing out for him because when I came out for the draft, he was one of the coaches (Baker was at Minnesota then) that gave me all my bad marks,” Hargrove said. "He was giving me my bad marks on my pro day and it just so happened I see he is my coach and we were talking and joking about it. I said ‘You know I didn’t like you, right.’”

    Hargrove said he recalled Baker marking him down for a slower time in the 40-yard dash and a couple inches short of his mark on the vertical jump. But it didn’t take long for Hargrove to get over his ill will toward his new coach when he saw the differences between Baker and the fiery Kollar.

    “I’m the kind of guy that needs a hug every once in a while and Kollar wasn’t the kind of guy to give it to me,” Hargrove said.

    The combination of Baker and new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has Hargrove poised for a big season. In training camp, Hargrove has been working in many different formations and even been flipping sides with Little on the end.

    “Coming back here with coach Baker and a lot of those things, I feel like I am back where I finished off last year and I have gotten better,” Hargrove said. “He said himself that I have gotten better…him, Haslett, everybody says I am not rushing (the passer) the same way I was last year right now. For me, that’s a big confidence builder. My rush has gotten so much better.”

    It hasn’t hurt anything having six-time Pro Bowl tackle La’Roi Glover working next to him at defensive tackle, either. Glover’s addition should take some of the heat off Little and Hargrove and could free them up for more one-on-one pass rushing opportunities where that duo can use its athleticism to make plays.

    The difference in Hargrove isn’t going unnoticed by his teammates, including Little, who has been Hargrove’s mentor since his arrival.

    “Compared to last year, it’s night and day,” Little said. “He is really letting loose and going out there and playing instead of thinking about what he has to do on every play and what his assignment is. He is really going out there and just playing now.”

    As Hargrove and his teammates battle through the remainder of training camp, Hargrove is doing a few things every day to help push his way through camp.

    “I am throwing up every day,” Hargrove said. “I enjoy doing that, though, throwing up. You have to find out how far you can really go. It’s hot; I don’t know how we do it.”

    For someone that enjoys throwing up, his second habit of letting loose some primal screams every once in a while seems normal by comparison.

    “You have to find something that really excites you,” Hargrove said. “Coming and playing football is one thing but going out here in this heat and maintaining focus is another. You will hear me out there yelling and stuff and it’s kind of a tension breaker, that kind of relieves stress. You got to break the ice a little bit. You can’t always be so intense. That’s what I believe. You have to do something so everybody kind of looks and takes a deep breath and relaxes. That’s a good thing.”


  2. #2
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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    If we can get some inside consistency with Glover and Kennedy, this could be a big year for Hargrove.

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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    “I am throwing up every day,” Hargrove said. “I enjoy doing that, though, throwing up. You have to find out how far you can really go. It’s hot; I don’t know how we do it.”
    Gross....way too much information.:confused:

    I like the combo of Little and Hargrove. If they get comfortable and loose, they could be a dangerous duo.
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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    I have always liked Hargrove because of his intensity. Would be nice to have the bookends in the opponents backfield more often.


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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    he is now about 282 pounds, a gain of about 12 pounds since the end of last year
    Holy guacamole!!!

    On a 6'3" frame, and WITHOUT losing any speed, that's a recipe for a wrecking machine. Sure hope that translates onto the field.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    I've always liked this kid since day one. He is always putting in the effort to go the extra mile. Even though he might not have been the most dominant pass rusher in the game, he made his presence noticed. I remember in his rookie year how he moved Hutchinson backwards to tackle Alexander for a loss. I think that if we can get some more 1 on 1's going on then we'll be seeing a lot more of him in the back-field.

  7. #7
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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    What "success" is he talking about? He really hasn't been that successful on the field except for the Cowboys game at the end of the year. If that's what he's talking about then yea, I hope he plays every game that way.

  8. #8
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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    He is probably the player I am most worried about. I hope he really does start to help solidify that line.
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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    What "success" is he talking about? He really hasn't been that successful on the field except for the Cowboys game at the end of the year. If that's what he's talking about then yea, I hope he plays every game that way.
    I suppose the "success" he is talking about is the 4.5 Sacks in the last 3 games of the season.

    But yea, I believe this could be a good year for him if Glover and Kennedy can man the inside. And on 3rd and Long or 2nd and Long. Check this pass rush:

    DE Hargrove
    DT Wroten
    DT Glover
    DE Little

    Wow.
    RamsFan16

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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    What "success" is he talking about? He really hasn't been that successful on the field except for the Cowboys game at the end of the year. If that's what he's talking about then yea, I hope he plays every game that way.
    It would appear, this...
    He finished the year on a tear, recording 4.5 sacks in the final three games including a two-sack, fumble recovery, four tackle game in the finale against Dallas.
    ...is what the article was alluding to as success. I find it interesting that it took him until the end of his 2nd year as a pro to become a "film student".
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    so technically, he had one good game against the Cowboys. Like I said, if he plays every game like that one great. However, he hasn't shown that he can.

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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    I find it interesting that it took him until the end of his 2nd year as a pro to become a "film student".
    You would think all the professional players would understand the importance of watching film....that could make a big difference in his technical skills.
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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    Quote Originally Posted by UtterBlitz
    You would think all the professional players would understand the importance of watching film....that could make a big difference in his technical skills.
    I agree, Utter. Of course, Hargrove was out a year due to academic probation, so maybe "studying" isn't his forte.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  14. #14
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    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan
    so technically, he had one good game against the Cowboys. Like I said, if he plays every game like that one great. However, he hasn't shown that he can.
    Yea, it seems that is what the article was building from. I guess we'll see if he can carry his "success" forward.

    I know the articles make a big deal of him checking in a dozen pounds heavier, but I want to know that he is mentally stronger as well. It wasn't his physicality that got him in trouble last year, it was his mental mistakes. He's got to keep his head in the game.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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