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Thread: Inside Slant
The Rams are eager for training camp to start, when they can get the pads on defensive end Anthony Hargrove. The team's third-round pick this year was impressive during offseason work, despite not playing college football last year and the fact he originally arrived at Georgia Tech after playing quarterback and safety in high school.
But coaches believed he could get his weight from 225 to the 260 range and be a defensive end. He played two seasons there before academic troubles cost him the 2003 season.
The Rams were so intrigued by Hargrove they sent defensive line coach Bill Kollar to Atlanta to work him out before the draft. The timing worked out so that Kollar met Hargrove at the airport when the player was returning from a visit to Dallas.
"That's when I knew they really liked me," Hargrove said. "When a coach is going to fly in from another state, pick ME up at the airport, just to work me out for 20 minutes. I thought that was saying a lot."
Said Kollar, "He's a guy that's got a ton of ability. He's a guy that can run, change direction and all that kind of stuff. But he's just really raw right now."
Recalling watching Hargrove on tape, Kollar said, "You would see his athletic ability every now and then, when he would actually take off and run. And then when you find out he was 18 and 19, and never played defensive end before, all that kind of stuff makes a huge difference."
What Kollar really likes is his passion for the game. Hargrove will need it with the way Kollar grinds players on a daily basis. With that desire to improve, Kollar believes Hargrove can contribute as a rookie.
"We're hoping he can," Kollar said. "It'd be great if he could come in there and give us some pass rush in third-down situations. Or maybe he could end up even playing in base downs. But you really don't know. You're really starting from ground floor. He hasn't done anything for a year and a half, football-wise. But he's an energetic kid that wants to learn."
NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES
—Fourth quarterbacks on summer depth charts are usually nothing more than training camp arms, but Russ Michna might be more than that. Michna led Western Illinois University to two consecutive Division I-AA playoffs, and passed for 3,160 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Michna will feel at home during camp since the Rams train at Western Illinois.
WIU assistant head coach Mark Hendrickson believes Michna has a chance in the NFL.
"From my experience, I felt that you have to be physically tougher, very intelligent and an accurate passer to be a quarterback in the NFL and stick with a team," Hendrickson said. "And he has high marks in (all three). His intangibles are off the chart. If you had wires connected to record his heart beat, you'd find from the first snap of the game until the end — for example, when we beat Montana in double overtime (43-40 in the first round of the 2003 playoffs) — it would only go up a beat or two. He never changed the way he played the game. His poise never altered."
With practice squads expanding to eight players this year, Michna might have a chance to land there if he shows progress during the summer.
—New offensive line coach John Benton, who will be working with John Matsko, can't wait for training camp to start. Following the retirement of Jim Hanifan, Benton was hired away from Colorado State.
In the offseason, he said he has watched tape of every play last season in evaluating the offensive line.
He said, "Those guys just get you fired up. I want to clap half the time while I'm watching film. It's really fun to watch those guys."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "If they want me to contribute on defense, that's fine. If I can contribute on special teams, I'll do it that way. If I can go back to offense and throw a few passes for them, I'll do that, too." - Rookie DE Anthony Hargrove.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FRANCHISE PLAYER: OT Orlando Pace (tendered at $7.021M).
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): QB Scott Covington; S Jason Sehorn; CB Fred Weary.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: QB Marc Bulger; CB Jerametrius Butler; TE Cam Cleeland; S Rich Coady; C Andy Eby; DE Bryce Fisher; P Sean Landeta; WR Dane Looker; LB Jeremy Loyd; TE Brandon Manumaleuna; OG Adam Timmerman.
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: QB Chris Chandler; S Nijrell Eason; DT Bernard Holsey; S Justin Lucas; DE Sean Moran.
PLAYERS LOST: LB Jamie Duncan; S Kim Herring; OG David Loverne; OL John St. Clair; S Shane Walton; QB Kurt Warner; DE Grant Wistrom; DT Brian Young.
DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED: S Jason Shivers; C/G Larry Turner.
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.
Re: Inside SlantQUOTE TO NOTE: "If they want me to contribute on defense, that's fine. If I can contribute on special teams, I'll do it that way. If I can go back to offense and throw a few passes for them, I'll do that, too." - Rookie DE Anthony Hargrove.
Re: Inside Slant
Hargrove is eager and ready to play anywhere, anytime, any position. That is nice...and hopefully he has the talent to back the words.
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