Dave Toub in a comfort zone with Andy Reid and the Chiefs
The former Bears special-teams coordinator still is getting overlooked as an NFL head-coaching candidate. But with a Super Bowl ring and a resume of accomplishment, he’s no longer driven by that career goal.
A Super Bowl ring last season seemingly left Chiefs special-teams coordinator Dave Toub with one void in his coaching career — becoming an NFL head coach.
But not really. After 17 seasons as one of the most accomplished special-teams coordinators in the NFL, Toub still hopes to become an NFL head coach but is no longer obsessed with it.
Toub, the Bears’ special-teams coordinator for nine seasons under Lovie Smith, interviewed for head-coaching jobs with the Dolphins in 2012, the Bears in 2013 and the Chargers and Broncos in 2017 and seems to have slipped out of contention in recent years — even as Andy Reid’s profile as a mentor of coaches has increased.
But at 58, he can live with that. Being an NFL head coach isn’t everything.
“There was a time where that’s all I wanted to do — back when I was getting those interviews,” Toub said. “But I’m getting to the point where — would I interview again? Sure. But it would have to be a really, really good job and an offer that I really couldn’t refuse.’’
With a reputation as one of the best in the business and a résumé that includes coaching kick-return legend Devin Hester, he’s playing with house money from a career standpoint.
“I’m 58 years old, and it would have to be the right situation for me,” Toub said, “because I’m very happy doing what I’m doing. I’m happy being on this staff with a great team, a great head coach — he lets me do my job. I couldn’t ask for anything better.
“It’s not something that I’m missing in my career at all. I’m totally happy doing what I’m doing. If it happens, it happens. But it’s not something that’s gonna make or break me.”
The Chiefs had two kick-return touchdowns this season — Mecole Hardman’s 67-yard punt return against the Dolphins and Byron Pringle’s 102-yard kickoff return against the Broncos. That gave Toub 38 kick-return touchdowns in his 17 seasons — including 15 by returners other than Hester and Tyreek Hill. Pringle, in fact, was the 13th player to return a kick for a touchdown under Toub’s direction.
The Chiefs statistically were down this year — 20th in Rick Gosselin’s special-teams rankings. But that’s a rarity. Toub’s special-teams units ranked in the top 10 in 15 of 16 seasons from 2004 to 2019 (Toub’s 2005 Bears were 11th).
Toub was encouraged by the Giants hiring Patriots special-teams coordinator Joe Judge last year. And he makes a strong case for special-teams coordinators getting a shot.
“The fact that we talk to the entire team every day — offense, defense, specialists — we understand the game from the offensive and defensive perspectives,” Toub said. “Roster management — who knows the roster better than us?
“Game management, in-game decisions, the rules of the game — how important is that? And just being a leader of men — that’s what we do. We’re managers. We’ve got to motivate guys. That’s really what coaching is all about.”
NOTE: Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who has not played since Week 16 because of a calf injury, said he is “very optimistic” about playing Sunday. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said wide receiver Antonio Brown (knee), safety Jordan Whitehead (shoulder, knee) and cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle) participated in a walkthrough Tuesday but are “still not ready to go.”