As with every year in the National Football League, there will be several head coaching changes when the season ends in another two weeks. We will hear/read about the usual suspects to become head coaches, and many of the most mentioned names will be men who are part of the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Coaches like New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
Over the past several years, many of the new head coaches who have had success in their new positon are guys who worked under Andy Reid for all or some of their careers. Guys like John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, Doug Pederson and Sean McDermott all spent several years learning under Reid. It has almost gotten to the point where the Reid tree is where you go to find a head coach.
This year it looks like one Reid protégé will finally get his chance to become a head coach in the National Football League. That man is the Kansas City Chiefs' special teams coordinator, Dave Toub. This year is Toub’s fourteenth season as a special teams coordinator in the NFL, and his special teams are always looked at as among the best in the league.
Dave got his NFL start under Reid when he was the special teams assistant coach in Philadelphia from 2001-03. The coordinator at that time was John Harbaugh, currently the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. In 2004, Dave was hired by Lovie Smith to be the Chicago Bears' special teams coordinator.
While in Chicago, Toub’s units were always some of the highest-rated special teams units in the NFL. For eight straight years, Toub’s group was rated in the top third of the league. Dave is noted for his design of returns, and while in Chicago, his returners — led by future Hall of Famer Devin Hester — had 22 touchdown returns of either punts, kickoffs or field goals. He also had eight players voted into the Pro Bowl because of their special teams contributions.
When Toub rejoined Andy Reid in Kansas City in 2013, things didn’t change, as the Chiefs lead the NFL in return touchdowns over his five-year span.
Special teams coordinators are often overlooked when it comes to being head coaches but those head coaches who have had special teams experience have excelled. Among them are Harbaugh, Marv Levy and Mike Ditka.
Unlike offensive and defensive coordinators, the special teams coordinators have to work with players from both sides of the ball and coordinate them into one productive unit. It is not an easy task, and it takes knowledge, leadership and planning in order to be successful — all traits that are needed to be a quality head coach. In addition to possessing those traits, Toub is an excellent communicator, be it with players, other coaches or the media. In short, he gets it!
I have worked with Toub for six seasons, so I know him as well as any coach in the league. To say he is ready to be a head coach is an understatement. There are few who are as prepared and as knowledgeable about NFL football as Dave Toub. Former players laud his leadership and organizational skills, and to a person, can attest to his passion for the game.
There could be six or seven head coaching opportunities in the NFL this year. If Toub doesn’t land one of those jobs, then there is something wrong with the process, because he is as prepared and as qualified as any offensive or defensive coordinator in the league.