Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Robb Akey's Journey Leads Him To Washington

Robb Akey has made a lot of stops throughout his football career, but one thing has remained consistent throughout: his love of coaching.

The Redskins' new defensive line coach on Friday appeared on "Redskins Nation" with host Larry Michael, the Voice of the Redskins, and explained that he knew his playing days weren't going to last past college, making way for his coaching career to start early on.

Shortly after graduating from Weber State University, Akey became a graduate assistant before securing his first full-time coaching job as the school's tight ends/linebackers/defensive ends coach.

"I spent one year as their graduate assistant, and when Coach [Mike] Price left and went to Washington State, Dave Arslanian made me the defensive line coach," he said. "So, at the ripe old age of 21 years old, I was coaching the defensive line at my alma mater."

After 11 seasons at Weber State, Akey made his first change, joining Northern Arizona's coaching staff first as the special teams/linebackers coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator.

His defensive line coach there: current Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

"I coached the linebackers there and was a defensive coordinator," Akey began. "I was there for four years. In fact, Joe Barry and I got to work together while we were there. From there, I went and reconnected with Coach Price at Washington State. I was there for eight years — the first four as the defensive line coach and the next four as a defensive coordinator."

Akey would then become the University of Idaho's head coach, where he learned to "do things the way you believe in and go from there."

"We got the program turned," he said. "We won a bowl game, only the second bowl game in the history of the school, and [we] brought them our first winning season in over a decade. [We] got it to go."

Akey would spend a year away from football in 2013 before joining Zimmer's staff with the Minnesota Vikings as assistant defensive line coach.

While he understood going into the role that professional players may soak up knowledge presented to them by coaches differently than the college level, he wanted to do anything he could to make them better.

"I look at it this way: if there's something I can give the guys who I get the opportunity to work with, that can help their career, that can help them be a better player, we all win," he said. "That's the way I've always approached it. We're doing this thing together."

And at the NFL level, the coaching staff gets more time together to work with the players.

"What I appreciate about the ability to do it at this level is you get so much more time, which you can teach these guys, so much more you can work on their technique," he said. "They're so much more able to affect the technique. …We can talk about little things that they can tweak that might help them pass rush a certain guy for example, or take care of a block back pull."

He also said that regardless of the level, players and coaches alike much enjoy what they're doing if they want positive results.

"When you talk about playing on the defensive side of the ball, you better do it with some enthusiasm," he said. "There better be some passion about the way you go about doing things."

Initial Impression With The Redskins
While the Redskins' roster is certainly far from complete, Akey is excited to work with the players that will be wearing burgundy and gold next season.

"There's a bunch of experience up in there and I think that's a great positive," he said of the defensive line. "Just style-wise, I think these guys are excited about it a little bit. They'll get the opportunity to pin their ears back a little bit more, attack a little bit more – just a different way of doing things."

Over the coming days and week, Akey's going to review all of the film at his disposal to figure out how to get the most out of guys in the packages the defense is going to add to the playbook.

"What we've been doing is spending a lot of time, getting the package build and how we're going to go about doing things," he said. "And, trying to match that with…these are the guys who are here and that matters the most – what each of them does well within their game."




This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.