Hargrove will touch down back home as a key player for Rams
BY JEFF GORDON
Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
Thursday, Jan. 13 2005
Remember that 31-7 loss at Arizona back on Dec. 19?
That fiasco had some redeeming value, after all. On an otherwise miserable day
for the Rams, rookie defensive end Anthony Hargrove arrived as a forceful NFL
He made six solo tackles -- plus another tackle for a loss -- and forced a
fumble. His seven tackles in that game equaled his total since Oct. 24.
Hargrove’s sudden outburst in Arizona earned him the opportunity to push Bryce
Fisher for work at right defensive end. That, in turn, inspired Fisher to play
the two best games of his brief NFL career.
With those two guys trying to one-up each other, defensive tackles Ryan Pickett
and Jimmy Kennedy have also played their best football of the season. Just as
poor play becomes contagious, it seems, so does excellence.
“We have guys that are competing everywhere on our defensive line,” Hargrove
told reporters at Rams Park. “I think that is why our defensive line is getting
better. We still have that competitive nature coming in and out. You never know
who is going to play for us. Somebody might go out this week, and next week
Not only has the defensive line effort improved, so has the comprehension.
“It’s understanding the schemes on defense, and understanding where I need to
be,” Hargrove said. “What's made our defense so much better is everybody is now
together. We're united, and we're fitting in with each other more than we have
all year. We're playing as a real, true defense. We're playing as one whole
Hargrove credits Torry Holt for helping get him back on track in December. The
veteran told the kid to relax, be himself and play his game. That sounds like
simple advice, but it was exactly what Hargrove needed to hear.
“I couldn’t get out of this little funk,” Hargrove said. “He was like, ‘chill,
sit back and just relax,’” Hargrove said.
The youngster has great athletic ability and vast potential. He is big, fast
and strong. He has tremendous hands, too. Coach Mike Martz figures he could be
an excellent tight end -– and he’d like to exploit those skills some day in a
After playing so little at Georgia Tech, though, Hargrove had much to learn
about playing defensive end. He spent last year working at Hartsfield
International Airport after losing his academic eligibility at Tech.
If not for the NFL, he would still be at Hartsfield, pushing jets and operating
the ramps. But come Friday, he’ll touch down in Atlanta as a key component of
the current and future Rams defensive front.
“It feels real good to go home, especially in these kinds of circumstances,”
Hargrove said. “I'm not going home to go back to work or push planes or
anything. I'm going back home to play football, so it's always a good thing.”
This is quite a story. What if somebody had predicted all this for him last
year, when he was still on the runway?
“I would have laughed,” he said, “I probably would have said, ‘I wish, I hope
so, and I wish I could get that lucky.’ To go back to last year, to where I was
at, and to see where I'm at now, just shows you that anything is possible.
“The sky is the limit.”
Which is NOT what Rams fans were thinking back on Dec. 19.
Re: Hargrove will touch down back home as a key player for Rams
I was impressed with Hargrove against the Seachickens last week. He played good and I'm looking for another good game for him.