“Pro Day is not real football”

German rookie Marcel Dabo was assigned to the Indianapolis Colts as part of the International Pathway program. A fluke, as the defensive back admitted.

As part of a media tour, also attended SPOX was in attendance, Dabo revealed what position the Colts see him in, what his expectations are for his first season and what defines him as a player. He also dispels a misconception about the PPI and says what he’s especially looking forward to in Indianapolis.

Marcel Dabo about…

… yourself as a player type: “The Colts have a player who is a really good athlete. I think I can do anything on the field. I just have to be used in the right position. And I think the Colts have coaches who can help really show my athletic ability on the pitch and I’m looking forward to it.”

… the first contact with the Colts: “I didn’t find out I was going to the Colts until the weekend before the announcement. But I was already in touch with the Colts director of scouting during Pro Day in Arizona.”

… his pre-draft visit with the Colts: “It was awesome. I met General Manager Chris Ballard, Head Coach Frank Reich and DB Coaches Ron Milus and Mike Mitchell. We watched my tape and discussed how I would fit in in that defense. It was a very good day. And it was my only visit with an NFL team. I returned to Germany on April 9, so my time to meet other NFL teams was very limited.

Marcel Dabo: “Pro Day is not real football”

… his Pro Day: “I always say Pro Day isn’t real football. It’s more of a test you can train for, so I wasn’t really excited before Pro Day.”

…the International Pathway Program Team Mission: “You can’t control that. You know in advance which division it will be in a year for the International Pathway program, but that’s it.”

… his expectations before the repechage: “Before the draft I didn’t really expect much, my goal was just to get into the NFL. I’ve done that for now. But coming straight from Germany, you can’t really expect, in the early rounds, to be drawn.”

…training in the United States heading into the draft: “Basically, it has to be said that training in the United States is extremely different from training in Germany. I’m always in front of the rookie camp, so I can’t say how training works in the NFL. But the training before the draft is much more professional in Arizona than in Germany.”

… the Colts franchise: “I heard a lot about defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. He was the original play caller for the Legion of Boom. And I talked to the defensive backs coaches, mostly I just talked to Mike Mitchell, who I talked to about how I would fit into that defense. For example, I played mostly cornerback in Germany, but I fit more into the Colts defense than safety or nickelback. And watching the tape and based on the conversations, I thought early on that I might be a good fit for the Colts.”

… his perception of the Colts so far: “I wouldn’t say I followed the Colts specifically, but I watched certain players. Kenny Moore is a good example of that.”

…the prospect of playing with other high-achieving players: “It’s great. When I look at their DB Room I’m amazed. There are people like Stephon Gilmore or Kenny Moore – they’re all great players, one of them was Defensive Player of the Year I’m really looking forward to learning from them because I still have a lot to learn. I just want to absorb it all to be ready when I get the chance to play.

Marcel Dabo: “I don’t want to rely too much on the International Pathway Program”

… his expectations for his first NFL season: “I want to play straight away and I told the coaches that: I don’t want to rely too much on IPP and have an impact on Sunday. And I think I’m capable of that, especially on special teams. I I don’t see myself as an international player – of course I am – but I want to be part of the team as soon as possible.”

… his chances of playing the coming season: “I can’t say that yet. I always say, ‘Control what you can control.’ in a position where they say, “Okay, he can help us on Sunday. And back to the IPP: It’s a misconception that you’re guaranteed three years there. It’s not true. You can be dismissed every day. It’s not like you’re there and you train a bit. You have to be everyone and show the team that they can be helped.”

… everyday life in the IPP training program: “We trained in Chandler, a borough of Phoenix, Arizona, at LeCharles Bentley. It’s actually an O-Line performance center. We used to lift weights at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday. Then we had breakfast, which was a little personal. Time, film study, an afternoon field session.”

… Differences in IPP training and training in Germany: “In the gym you don’t even see such an extreme difference. The biggest difference is more in the position-specific training. I had a pretty good defensive coach and you don’t tend to have that in Germany. because it’s just difficult, people with such a coach to get expertise in this country.”

… Germany’s transition to the NFL: “The biggest difference is behaving professionally – ‘acting professionally’. American football compared to Germany is very different. You train here three times a week and that’s it. And with three workouts a week, you’re not going to achieve much. Plus, I think film school is going to be one of the hardest things in the NFL.”

… his debut in football: “I went to Wisconsin on an exchange student and saw a Wisconsin Badgers game against Rutgers. It was basically my first exposure to football. And then I coached in high school, but I don’t didn’t know anything about football at the time.”

… his unsuccessful attempt to obtain a university scholarship: “After I finished school in 2018, I attended a few camps in the United States. However, coming from Germany, it is very difficult to make a good impression there, because it was mainly satellite camps with 200 to 300 people. Die Zeit is limited and there are so many guys…”

Marcel Dabo: It’s my alternative to football

… a professional alternative to football: “So far I’ve studied English and sports to become a teacher here near Stuttgart. Of course I’m going to take a break and focus entirely on football for now. And basically I always say that I don’t have a plan B, but two plan A’s. But for now, I’m going to continue my football career and go all out and I don’t think about what’s next.”

…a way to bring even more Germans and Europeans into the NFL: “One way is to make football more professional in Europe as well. Then Europe’s leap to the NFL would not be as big as it is now. In the next few years, for example, the ELF can be an opportunity for athletes to compete to endorse the NFL.”

… Non-sporting hobbies: “I like to eat out. I love Swabian cuisine, but I’m open to anything. I heard there was a German restaurant in Indianapolis and I absolutely have to find it and write it down.”

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