It will really be a new era for the Chicago Bears next season. Besides a new head coach, the Bears will have a new special teams coordinator for the first time since Dave Toub joined Lovie Smith’s staff back in 2004. Toub, who was interviewed for the Bears vacant head coaching position, is not expected to return when the new regime moves into Halas Hall. Toub is expected to join Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City as Special Teams coordinator.
A lot of Bears fans hoped that the new head coach would elect to keep some of Lovie Smith’s old staff around as a part of the transition process. As Brad Biggs points out, by Toub interviewing for the head coaching job, his path was to either get the job or to move on:
But when general manager Phil Emery made Toub a part of the search for a head coach, giving him an interview for the job, he also made it difficult for Toub to return under in a different position.
Emery understood this and that is why he granted Toub permission to interview with the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers when they came calling. To ask Toub to return to the Bears to work under a new head coach he competed against for the job would put Toub in a challenging position. It would also be challenging for him to stand in front of his meeting room with players knowing he missed out on the head job. So, Emery did the right thing by Toub even if it creates a challenge for the Bears to replace one of the best at his craft in the NFL.
Bears special teams were at or near the top of the NFL under Toub for nearly a decade. He continually adapted to new personnel and had outstanding return and coverage teams. He had numerous Pro Bowlers selected including Brendan Ayanbejo, Corey Graham, Johnny Knox and of course, his pride and joy, Devin Hester. If Hester was upset when Lovie left, he could be devastated with Toub’s departure.
In honor of Toub, here’s the greatest punt return that never was, this fakeout that had everyone fooled but was called back because of a phantom penalty.
The Bears will have some big shoes to fill. They have inquired about Cleveland Browns Special Teams coordinator and Toub protege Chris Tabor, but were denied their request to interview him. Kevin O’Dea is currently under contract as assistant Special Teams coordinator.