When the Bears were in the process of finding their next general manager in 2013, the first candidate that they interviewed was current Colts General Manager Chris Ballard. Ballard was considered to be the consensus top GM prospect, and he had previous experience working in the Bears front office during the Jerry Angelo Era, before joining Andy Reid at Kansas City.
One of the Bears coaches that departed after Lovie Smith’s firing was Dave Toub, our special-teams coordinator in the days of Devin Hester and Johnny Knox. Toub was the architect of one of the most dominant special teams groups in the league, and he executed one of the best trick punt plays (one that was successfully mirrored by Rams) in NFL history with the help of Hester as a decoy and Knox as the returner, despite the touchdown later being called back.
So it wasn’t a surprise that in 2013, the rumor was that if Ballard got hired, he was determined to bring Toub along with him and build a team in his image, from coaching down to every last player on the 53 man roster. Legend has it, that George McCaskey and the universally disliked Ted Phillips were frightened by Ballard’s controlling demeanour, and decided to hire a young, inexperienced Ryan Pace instead. But is it possible that Pace decides to replace Fox at the end of the season and hire someone who, if circumstances worked out differently, would have been our head-coach 3 seasons ago. And if so, why in the world would Pace hire someone who is a special-teams coordinator?
We’ve all heard about how John Harbaugh, one of the best coaches in the league and the architect of the stifling Ravens defense, is a former special-teams coordinator, but this shouldn’t be a sole reason to hire Dave Toub. Lets dive into what differentiates Toub from other candidates.
Toub, who interviewed for the Chargers and Broncos head-coaching vacancies last season, has been mentioned as a potential head-coach for a while. One of the reasons that Toub would be an appealing head-coach, especially to us Chicago Bears fans, is due to the work he put in to develop fan-favorite Devin Hester. According to Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated, after interviewing 20 NFL executives, he pieced together a general consensus opinion that Toub is "one of the great special teams coaches of all time" and was instrumental in helping "develop Devin Hester into arguably the greatest return man in NFL history during his decade in Chicago. " Klemko concluded by saying that "if a special teams coach is going to get the nod to lead an NFL team in the near future, it will be Toub." This prevailing theory among high-ranking NFL executives shows that Toub’s time is approaching, and the Bears should use their familiarity with Toub to pounce on a potentially transcendent coach, similar to what Harbaugh was and still is considered to be by several executives. Harbaugh, who worked with Toub on Andy Reid’s Eagles staff, has had tremendous success in his coaching career considering his Super Bowl win and his multiple playoff caliber teams, and if Toub can do the same for Chicago, he will immediately become the first Bears phenom since Mike Ditka.
Another reason why Toub should be a head-coach is due to his success as a play-caller. In his last 4 seasons with the Chiefs, excluding the 2017-2018 campaign, he has coached the team to 9 special teams returns for touchdowns, a staggering total. Toub also understands the importance of the little aspects of the game, such as punting. According to a New York Times article in which Toub was interviewed, Toub considers the punt as "an offensive play" because it averages 40 yards and flips field position. He also believes that "if you punt well, cover well and play good defense, you’ll be in every game". His Chiefs special teams units have consistently finished in the top 5 every season, and his Bears units were known for their success, considering the fact that Devin Hester became the greatest return man of all-time playing for Toub’s unit, a unit which single-handedly proved to the NFL how important special teams truly is. Toub also had a hand in the signing of Chiefs rookie sensation Harrison Butker, and the drafting of last-year’s breakout rookie, Tyreek Hill, two exeptional special-teams players. Because Toub understands an oft-ignored aspect in the game of football, he could truly make an impact as the next head coach of the Chicago Bears in turning around all three phases of the team.
Finally, Toub should be the head-coach of the Bears to help inspire hope in the fans. Look at the current head-coaching crop. It’s pathetic. All of the interesting candidates on Offense, such as Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan and even Anthony Lynn, were scooped up last season, and all that’s left are people who have been untouched as head-coaches after years of being OC, men such as Pete Carmichael (the most likely candidate as explained in my other post), and Darrell Bevell, a man otherwise known for the worst play-call in NFL history. The only interesting candidate left is Josh McDaniels, and lets face it he’s not going to choose the Bears as his next team (neither is Jim Harbaugh). So if you’re a Bears fan, the most you can hope for is a change, and a special-teams coordinator turned head-coach is radically different from the norm, no matter how trivial special-teams may seem. Just remember, when you watch an electric Devin Hester touchdown to open the Super Bowl, on epic Tyreek Hill jaunt where he runs past everyone with blistering speed, or even an insane Dexter McCluster punt return touchdown where he suddenly turns into an energizer bunny, weaving and juking past every single defender, Dave Toub made it all happen. And considering that we have Tarik Cohen? Our team’s potential with Toub as head-coach is bottomless.