Dave Toub built his reputation in nine seasons with Chicago as one of the NFL’s best special-teams coaches in part because the Bears had kick returner Devin Hester and other players who were strong in the kicking game.
But there was more to Toub’s success, and he plans to bring that part of it to the Chiefs as their new special-teams coordinator.
“Our mentality when we were in Chicago was that we were going to win games on special teams,” Toub said Monday. “That’s something Lovie (Smith) instilled in us early on. We felt like we had the personnel to be able to do it, especially when we picked up Devin in ’06. But even before that, we kind of got that philosophy going and kind of instilled that into our guys that we were going to win games with field position. …
“That was our goal up there and I definitely think it made a big difference.”
The Chiefs haven’t returned a kick for a touchdown since Dexter McCluster brought back a punt for a score in the season-opening game in 2010. They’ve allowed four kicks to be returned for a touchdown since then.
Meanwhile, the Bears returned 22 kicks for touchdowns in Toub’s nine seasons while allowing just three scores in the kicking game.
“It’s got to be important to be on special teams,” Toub said. “They’ve got to feel privileged to be on special teams. We put a lot of emphasis on it and we create a competitive atmosphere out there to where if you’re a starter on special teams, you’ve really earned it.
“Then when you start scoring and you start blocking punts and you start blocking field goals and you actually win games for your team, it just kind of snowballs and grows for you.”
Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, who kicked in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Honolulu, has a contract that is set to expire in March. But Colquitt said he’d like to work out a long-term contract with the Chiefs at least in part for the chance to work with Toub.
“I’d obviously love to work with Dave,” Colquitt said. “He’s got a great reputation, regarded as one of the best. It helps when you have veteran kickers and punters and a guy like Devin Hester. But we’ve watched them on film and the scheme is there. He’s got people buying in, making blocks, beating blocks, doing everything. That goes back to scheme more than anything. You’ve got to have the talent, the punter, the kicker, the return guy to make the first guy miss, but you can tell what he was able to do in Chicago was very special.
“I’m interested to see how that translates into Kansas City football.”
For his part, Toub returned the compliment.
“I like the punter,” Toub said. “I like him a lot. I never really had a punter than bombed the ball like this. He’s going to bomb the ball and give you good hang time and distance.”
The Chiefs have tried a variety of return specialists in recent seasons, including McCluster, Javier Arenas and Devon Wylie. McCluster scored the touchdown in his first NFL game but otherwise the Chiefs haven’t been able to get the game-changing return.
“We certainly have three guys we’re going to let battle it out with Arenas, Wiley and McCluster,” Toub said. “McCluster is somebody that’s very intriguing to me. He can really make you miss. I think he’s got a lot of untapped potential as a punt returner.”