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Can Daniel Adongo Play on Defense? "I'm Optimistic. I Prepare Accordingly."

Posted Jun 11, 2014

Daniel Adongo almost literally is a world away from where he was this time last year and with nine OTA sessions down, he has a handful of chances to keep getting better before training camp. A special teamer in 2013, he has bigger designs on 2014.



INDIANAPOLIS – In 30 seasons in Indianapolis, the Colts have had a cast of characters that spans from Sid Abramowitz to Jeff Zgonina.

 

Beyond alphabetic range, one of the most unique stories keeps budding in the locker room with Daniel Adongo who, in less than a year, has jumped from Kenya to America and from rugby to football, adding 42 pounds in the pursuit of joining a new band of brothers on defense.

 

“He’s running (and not crawling).  He’s a specimen,” said Robert Mathis.  “He’s a smart guy, extremely smart.  He’s picked up on a lot of football in such a short time.  I take my hat off to him.”

 

Adongo appeared in two of the club’s final four games last year in special teams roles.  While spending the first 12 games on the practice squad, his weight started swelling from a camp-reporting 240 pounds to 282 last week.

 

It is all about him increasing his chances to play defensively.

 

“Coach Pagano always says to prepare yourself like you’re a starter,” said Adongo.  “I’m optimistic (of playing defensively), there’s no doubt about that. 

 

“When coach says to prepare, you prepare as such.  I have to prepare accordingly so when my name gets called, I’ll be ready,” said Adongo.  “If it’s the first, second or sixth game, I don’t know.  The coaches know best.

 

“Your name will be called to stand on the stage.  You’d better perform when that happens.”

 

With no grounding in the sport until last camp, Adongo has studied in addition to sculpting his body. 

 

Where every experience was a new one last year, Mathis credits Adongo for his inquisitive style, his professionalism and the ground he has covered so quickly.

 

“It’s amazing, to be quite honest with you, somebody that’s never played and to be where he’s at,” said Mathis.  “If it’s something that he doesn’t know, he’s not scared to ask a question.

 

“He asked me questions over the weekend (recently).  I’m sitting grilling with my family, he shoots me a text or asks me a question, and that’s a mark of a great pro.  He’s a humble guy who is willing to learn.”

 

Ryan Grigson imported Adongo on the recommendation of his personnel department.  Grigson is gifted at unearthing ability in wide-ranging locales.

 

“It’s never been about athletic ability or pure effort in terms of what is ultimately holding Daniel back in any regard,” said Grigson.  “He can actually run with our skill guys.  He has one of the best motors on our team and is a warrior.  It is just learning all the nuances and finite details of this game of which he’s only played for less than a year still.” 

 

Adongo is growing and learning while trying to make a larger impact in a second sport.

 

“I have a better understanding of what to do and how to do it in terms of watching the guard and tackles and being aware of movements,” said Adongo.  “I have learned a lot of that from the guys in the D-line room.  I have an arsenal of moves that I had already, but now I know how to apply them in a more fashionable manner.

 

“It’s more natural, but the learning never stops in this game.  There’s always something you can improve and learn on.  Am I better than last year?  Yes.  Do I want to get better now?  Yes.  Is there a point of reference where you say you’re the best?  No.  You’re constantly competing against yourself to get better and better.”  

 

As for a barometer of his progression, Adongo refers back to Mathis, who only had to scale the heights from small-college ball to become the club’s career sack leader.

 

“Take Robert for example.  He was the sack leader last year.  I see him come out every day and see him work like a rookie, or like he hasn’t achieved anything in his life,” said Adongo.  “That speaks volumes.  He’s been doing this for so long and is so accomplished, but he still takes himself like he hasn’t achieved accolades. 

 

“What does that tell you?  It tells you whenever you’re at the top you have to keep working harder and harder.  I take from him his work ethic, his experience and words of wisdom.  I want to apply that to myself in everything I do.”

 

As for if he ever has been unprepared when his name is called?

 

“I’d like to think no.  That’s why we practice – so those situations can be avoided at all costs.”

ROSTER MOVE – The Colts placed DE-Fili Moala (knee) on injured reserve and signed free agent defensive end Gannon Conway.

 

Moala was re-signed on March 11.  He had 26 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2013 and has started 45-of-64 career games.  He opened six-of-16 games last season. 

 

Conway, 6-4, 280, was signed by Miami as an undrafted free agent on May 13, 2014.  In starting 14-of-30 games at Arizona State, Conway had 51 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and two passes defensed. He was honorable mention all-conference in 2013 with 14 starts, 38 tackles and 3.5 sacks.


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