- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2014

As he beat his blocker and sprinted down the field Sunday afternoon, Redskins safety Akeem Davis didn’t have much time to think.

Davis saw that Jacksonville Jaguars punt returner Mike Brown had not called for a fair catch on Tress Way’s 48-yard punt late in the second quarter, so he lined up the hit. He made a conscious effort keep his head up. Beyond that, he was pretty much running on adrenaline.

“You try to hope that your muscle memory will come into play, what you’ve practiced will come into play,” Davis said Monday, the day after Washington’s 41-10 victory. “But you’re just flying around, man. You’re flying around.”

Davis crunched into Brown, facemask on facemask. The Jaguars returner held onto the ball but was dropped for no gain. Then Davis popped up and began celebrating the hit with players streaming off the Redskins’ sideline.

It was the kind of high-energy play coaches love to see on special teams. But because of the helmet-to-helmet nature of the hit, it also resulted in a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness, and potentially a fine from the NFL at the end of this week.

Davis said he is not concerned about being punished by the league and will appeal the fine, should he end up facing one.

“It was a bang-bang play,” Davis said. “But a guy like myself, man, I can make those types of splash plays and it’ll work out for me in the long run. I don’t know what the NFL’s got in mind as far as fine-wise, but I can’t worry about that.”

Coach Jay Gruden said Davis’ hit was one example of a problem the Redskins need to correct.

“We’ve got to lower his target,” Gruden said. “It’s a factor and we have to just maintain and keep talking. … Those [personal foul] penalties are very big and we can’t give the referees any reason to throw those flags. We’ve just got to keep coaching up ‘lower the target’ and going from there.”

Davis is near the bottom of the depth chart at safety and primarily used on special teams. He said Brown “curled up” when he caught the ball, so Davis’ target — Brown’s chest — unexpectedly changed at the moment of impact.

Davis said he didn’t want to lower his head further for fear of leading with the crown of his helmet, which also would have resulted in a personal foul penalty.

“I was thinking I want to him him with my face up, so I kind of bump him down, you know what I’m saying?” Davis said. “If the game is played the way it’s supposed to be played, then things like that happen. I was able to deliver a blow to get the crowd into it, get everybody riled up, and that’s my job.”

Davis was swarmed by teammates as he strutted off the field. He said the impact the hit had on the team, and the impression it left on the crowd, will more than make up for the cost of any potential fine.

“And I got my guys, the Ryan Clarks of the world, they’ve already told me, ‘Hey, man, look, I got your back for that one,’” Davis said. “‘That was clean.’”

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