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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
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      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.
      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        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.

        sigpic :ram::helmet:

        Comment


        • #5
          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.
          The more things change, the more they stay the same.

          Comment


          • #6
            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

                    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".
                    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

                        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.
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

                          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.
                          The more things change, the more they stay the same.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Hargrove Hopes Success Carries Over

                            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.
                            The more things change, the more they stay the same.

                            Comment

                            Related Topics

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                            • RamWraith
                              Hargrove Lands in Starting Role
                              by RamWraith
                              Thursday, August 18, 2005

                              By Nick Wagoner
                              Senior Writer

                              Watching Anthony Hargrove go through a practice or play in a game can lead to any number of questions, but none might be more prominent than the simple wonderment of where he gets that endless energy supply.

                              Some might say it’s his love of football and others might indicate that it comes down to the pursuit of a big contract. In reality, though, Hargrove’s engine is revved by jet fuel.

                              You know, the kind of fuel used on airplanes, the kind of airplanes that could be found at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta. The exact airport that only two years ago employed Hargrove as a plane pusher.

                              So, if you ever catch Hargrove taking a play or two off in a practice, it won’t last long, at least no so long as a 757 or any other plane continues to cruise of the Rams Park practice field.

                              “Every time I hear those planes flying overhead it reminds me of where I was at,” Hargrove said. “So, any time I am on the field and I am tired and I hear a plane I get to work. I don’t want to go back to where I was at. I was getting a little tired in a nine-on-seven today and I saw a plane take off and I looked at Leonard and went to coach and asked to get back in and get back to work.”

                              That was the first day of training camp when Hargrove saw that 757 flying in to Lambert Airport, but the relentless effort and attitude has never been a problem for the young defensive end.

                              Hargrove’s energy was so abundant last season that no matter what the drill, if the ball hit the ground, he was the first one to get it. He would even chase down incompletions that were 30 yards down field and 15 yards out of bounds. His logic was a little fuzzy, but he reasoned that any time the ball hits the ground; the defense needs to come away with it.

                              Hargrove impressed the coaching staff and his teammates with his boundless enthusiasm, but he was still a little rough around the edges. The raw power and speed was there, but the technique still needed work.

                              There was early speculation that Hargrove would win the starting job opposite Leonard Little, but the Rams played it safe with Bryce Fisher. Hargrove didn’t let up, though, and claimed the starting spot by the Dec. 27 game against Philadelphia. Heading into this season, Hargrove has yet to relinquish that position.

                              “I set goals for myself,” Hargrove said. “I told myself that by my second year I wanted to be a starter on this team. Last year I ended the season as a starter and this year, hopefully I can hang on to it. It makes me work harder to try to be No. 1.”

                              The thought of Hargrove working harder isn’t exactly music to the ears of the teammates who must face him in one-on-one pass rush drills ever day. Alex Barron found out the hard about Hargrove’s excitable nature the hard way on...
                              -08-19-2005, 06:34 AM
                            • RamDez
                              Rams rookie Hargrove sees position switch as just another challenge
                              by RamDez
                              Rams rookie Hargrove sees position switch as just another challenge
                              BY STEVE KORTE
                              Knight Ridder Newspapers

                              ST. LOUIS - (KRT) - As a rookie, Anthony Hargrove wasn`t going to argue when St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz told him that he was moving from defensive end to defensive tackle.

                              "I`m not going to say, `This (stinks). I`m not going to do this,"" Hargrove said. "I just see it as another challenge. Survival of the fittest, that`s what the NFL is about. Those who adapt to new situations are going to stay in this league the longest. If I adapt to this new challenge, I hope it keeps me in the league longer."

                              Hargrove, a third-round draft choice this past spring, said he actually welcomes the switch if it enables him to make a bigger contribution this season.

                              The Rams are set at defensive end with Leonard Little, Bryce Fisher, Sean Moran, Tyoka Jackson and Erik Flowers, but they`re short-handed at defensive tackle with Jimmy Kennedy likely lost for the season because of a broken foot.

                              "Coach Martz told me in a meeting two days ago," Hargrove said. "He thinks with the way I come off the ball and the way I play, that`s a natural fit for me. I`m happy to take the challenge. I think it`s going to be a real comfortable move."

                              Hargrove is working behind starter Damione Lewis at the three-technique position.

                              "The biggest thing is that at defensive end you have the space to make moves," Hargrove said. "At defensive tackle when you come off the ball, the guy is into you already. Now it`s a matter of using my quickness to make moves off my first step instead of maybe my third or fourth one."

                              Hargrove knows he needs to put on a few pounds - he currently weighs 280 pounds - to play defensive tackle.

                              "Oh, definitely," Hargrove said. "Coach Martz said I could get up to 290 or 295 and carry it fine. They`re asking me to bulk up a little more."

                              Jackson, the Rams defensive captain, said moving Hargrove to defensive tackle makes a lot of sense.

                              "He`s 6-4, 285 pounds, and he`s probably the strongest dude on the team and he`s probably as fast as Leonard (Little), so, yeah, I`m cool with that," Jackson said. "He just wants to play. That`s the type of attitude he has. He`s going to make mistakes because he is a rookie, but he is going to make plays, too."

                              It`s been a tumultuous week for Hargrove, whose family`s house in Punta Gorda, Fla., was destroyed by Hurricane Charley.

                              Hargrove was on the telephone with his brother last Friday when the hurricane hit.

                              "Hearing him screaming and hearing my family in the background going hysterical; it was crazy," Hargrove said.

                              After clearing it with Rams player programs director Ray Ogas, Hargrove rushed...
                              -08-22-2004, 01:03 AM
                            • RamDez
                              Hargrove is back where he belongs
                              by RamDez
                              Posted on Tue, Aug. 03, 2004_krdDartInc++;document.write('');
                              Hargrove is back where he belongs


                              Rookie defensive end didn't play last season

                              By Steve Korte

                              [email protected]


                              MACOMB - A year ago, Anthony Hargrove was pushing planes away from the terminal at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta.

                              Now Hargrove is pushing offensive tackle Grant Williams away from the line of scrimmage at the St. Louis Rams' training camp.

                              "He's got a big wing span, but not as big as a Delta 88 or 757," Hargrove said of the 6-foot-7, 320-pound Williams.

                              After being declared academically ineligible last year as a junior at Georgia Tech, Hargrove got a job as a ramp agent.

                              "I'd get into a cart and push the planes out, I was a wing walker where I walked out with the plane making sure the wings didn't hit anything, I loaded and unloaded baggage," Hargrove said.

                              The 6-foot-3, 269-pound Hargrove felt -- and looked -- out of place.

                              "My problem was they didn't have a big enough uniform for me," Hargrove said. "I had to walk around in tight pants and a small shirt. The only fashion statement I was making was that I was just going to work every day."

                              Hargrove, 21, kept himself in shape as he dreamed of playing football again.

                              "I knew I didn't want to be there, I wanted to be on the field with my cleats and helmet on hitting people," Hargrove said. "I knew this is where I wanted to be, and I had to do whatever it takes to get here."

                              The Rams, searching for an eventual replacement for right defensive end Grant Wistrom, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks, took a chance on Hargrove by selecting him in the third round of the 2004 NFL draft.

                              Hargrove said he wasn't surprised to be drafted so high.

                              "If I would have stayed in college another year, I think I would have had a chance to be a first-rounder," Hargrove said.

                              Hargrove has been one of the early standouts in training camp. He has that rare combination -- a burst off the ball on the pass rush along with the strength to stuff the run -- that you need to be an every-down player at defensive end. If he can overcome the dreaded Steinke Hoo-Doo Pretty Tony curse, he should be just fine.

                              "I love his ability," Rams defensive captain Tyoka Jackson said. "He's going to make mental mistakes because rookies do that, but he's working hard to get it down. When I look at Hargrove, I see a bigger Leonard Little, and that sounds pretty good to me."

                              Little also sees a little of himself in Hargrove.

                              "He's got all the tools to be a great player, and you know (defensive line coach Bill) Kollar is going to work with him until he becomes that player,"...
                              -08-03-2004, 03:15 PM
                            • RamWraith
                              Storm changes the world for rookie
                              by RamWraith
                              By Jim Thomas
                              Of the Post-Dispatch
                              08/17/2004
                              MACOMB, Ill. - More than a thousand miles away, technology brought Anthony Hargrove close to his family during Hurricane Charley. It is an experience he will never forget.

                              The Rams' rookie defensive end was talking on a cell phone Friday with one of his four brothers, Shermel, when Hurricane Charley hit the Hargrove home in Punta Gorda, Fla.

                              "Shermel was giving me a play-by-play, with my mom screaming in the background," Hargrove said Tuesday. "Hearing them screaming, hearing my family in the background going hysterical, it was crazy."

                              During the conversation, part of the roof was blown off. Suddenly, Hargrove lost connection with his brother. "I was trying to call him all day and get back with him," Hargrove said.

                              If that weren't enough, Hargrove couldn't reach his girlfriend and their 15-month old son, Tre, who live nearby.

                              "I knew I had to get down there and help them," he said.

                              While all this was going on, Hargrove was in the process of returning to Macomb following the Rams' preseason game with Chicago the night before. When Hargrove informed Rams officials of his problem, he was told to go home and tend to his family. He turned right around and headed back to St. Louis from Macomb, taking the first flight out Saturday morning.

                              Once in Florida, Hargrove finally made contact with one of his brothers, but still couldn't reach his parents. He went to his house, where he found his parents sorting through the debris.

                              Hargrove had seen reports of hurricane damage before on television. "But up close and personal, no," he said. "That's something I hope nobody ever goes through, because now everybody has to start over. The thing that really hit me hard was that we lost our house.

                              "So you think, 'Well, maybe I can go down to my friend's house and stay with him for the weekend.' But then you realize they don't have a house, either. It was crazy because you were wondering where your next meal was coming from. There was no water. There was no gas. Or cars. I mean, there was nothing. It was just completely wiped out."

                              As he drove down the highway in his hometown, Hargrove saw rescue workers pulling bodies out of debris, trees snapped like pencils, power lines down, and yards of homes that looked like junkyards. When he finally made it home, his heart sank. The family home was in ruins.

                              "Yeah, everybody has a sunroof in their room now," Hargrove said. "The roof is gone. There's stuff sticking out everywhere..

                              "It's the place I've been living at for half my life, and now to see it gone like that is just. ... There's so many things that we did there. So many experiences."

                              By 7 p.m. Saturday, Hargrove...
                              -08-18-2004, 05:29 AM
                            • RamWraith
                              Hargrove will touch down back home as a key player for Rams
                              by RamWraith
                              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
                              player.

                              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
                              somebody different.”

                              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
                              unit.”


                              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
                              goal-line situation.

                              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...
                              -01-14-2005, 05:33 AM
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