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Akeem Davis Hopes His Time Is Now

Posted Aug 29, 2014

Rookie safety Akeem Davis hasn’t had the most traditional route to making the Redskins’ 75-man preseason roster, but his attitude and abilities have impressed his coaches.

In a preseason game billed as a final audition for the Redskins’ second and third stringers Thursday evening, rookie safety Akeem Davis took full advantage of his opportunities.

Davis most notably was a menace on special teams, but also added three tackles from the secondary in Washington’s 24-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.

“It was an awesome opportunity, man,” Davis said with a smile after the game. “The coaches did a great job of teaching us what to do, and now we can go out and fly around. With everything that happened tonight it was all effort.”

Davis didn’t wait at all to make his presence felt Thursday evening.

On the game’s opening kickoff, he rushed down the middle of the field and barreled through two blockers, creating an opening for fellow rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland to make the tackle on the Buccaneers’ Solomon Patton at the 17-yard line.

Davis made similar plays on three of the next four Redskins punts or kickoffs.

“That’s my job,” Davis said of his special teams play. “I knew my job, I knew what I was supposed to do, what I was responsible for, and today that happened to be my job. And whatever my job, is I am going to do it to the best of my ability.”

Davis hasn’t paved the most traditional route to Washington, but has certainly left an impression on the Redskins’ coaching staff.

The Memphis product went undrafted in 2013 and was unable to get a contract after participating that year in the Seattle Seahawks’ rookie minicamp. He never gave up on his dreams, however, and after returning to Memphis to work as a grad assistant coach, he earned his first professional contract with the Redskins in April after a tryout.

Since that time, Davis has been a steady presence at the Redskins’ headquarters in Loudoun County, Va. Although the coaches are deciding Friday and Saturday who will make the team’s final 53-man roster and 10-man practice squad, head coach Jay Gruden said this week that Davis has already left his mark as “a forced to be reckoned with on special teams.”

“I’ll tell you what, he’s an exciting player and I know [Special Teams] Coach [Ben] Kotwica loves him,” Gruden said. “From a special teams standpoint, he’s a guy that you want out there, and we might have to find a way to get him out there on Sunday because he is really, really good out there.”

Defensively, Gruden said Davis is “a little bit behind the 8-ball as far as knowing the system, but he’s fighting his tail off and learning the best he can.”

Davis said he was happy to have taken a huge step forward Thursday evening.

“I’m always satisfied, because every time I’m out there, you gotta seize the moment and take control of the moment and put your best possible effort in,” he said.

As for the pending roster cuts – the Redskins have until 4 p.m. Saturday to trim their rosters from 75 to 53 players – Davis said he’s satisfied with his performance, and will leave the decisions up to the coaching staff.

“I can say that I left everything on the field,” he said. “Whatever happens, man, I can’t control it going into the future. ..I don’t worry about what I can’t control.”