Thinking Outside the Box with a Familiar Name for Bears Head Coach

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

Assuming the Bears hire a new coach next year, why haven’t they given David Toub a serious look as a head coach? He has the best resume by far out of any head coaching candidate and he is well-regarded by many former Bears players. Why hasn’t any team hired him as head coach? — @jojopuppyfish

General manager Phil Emery interviewed Toub after Lovie Smith was fired and Emery cast a wide net to find the Bears’ next coach. Toub didn’t get any consideration when John Fox or Matt Nagy were hired. Could he resurface eight years after that previous interview as a possible candidate for the Bears? That probably depends a great deal on who is in charge of making the hire. Toub has a ton of experience, but as we’ve seen for a long time, NFL teams are hesitant to turn to coaches with special teams backgrounds when hiring a head coach. It happens every once in a while. A lot of teams are looking for a coach they believe can make something magical happen with the quarterback or the offense. Toub is 58, so while he’s not too old, his shot would have to come relatively soon. Maybe his name will pop in the cycle this time around. He’s certainly more than deserving of consideration.

I have always been in favor of hiring an offensive head coach because I’ve always believed that finding good, creative offensive minds is harder than finding good defensive coordinators. Once you find one, the best way to keep from losing him is to have him as your head coach. There’s basically no promotion that another team could offer and no way they could force you to allow them to interview your guy in that situation.

Most of the league has agreed with me over the last couple years. Most of the head coaches hired were young, offensive coaches with a background in coaching quarterbacks. It just makes sense.

Having said that, This isn’t a hard and fast rule. Many, many successful head coaches have come from defensive backgrounds (Bill Belichick anyone?). And a few have come from backgrounds as special teams coaches. The most prominent current head coach from such a background is John Harbaugh and there are very few I could name that are better.

Toub is probably the best special teams coach in the league. And that is for the best possible reason. It isn’t because he’s all that clever with special, brilliant plays (though he’s had his share). It isn’t because his schemes are so much better than other special teams coaches (though they’re pretty good). Its because, like all special teams coaches, he’s taking the guys at the very bottom of the roster and getting the most out of them And he’s doing it better than anyone else.

Toub’s players execute better than the other team’s players week after week. They do their jobs in a fundamentally sound way at crucial times season after season. And that, more than anything else, defines what a good NFL coach needs to be able to do.

It is true that if you hire a good special teams coach as your head coach you are basically dooming yourself to an eternal search for good offensive coordinators. The minute you find one, he’ll be gone. And that’s a problem.

But unlike the young head coaches that are trending around the league, Toub has been around. He’s 58 years old, not 38. Kansas City is his third professional team and the only reason there haven’t been more is because he’s been so successful.

In his 20 years as a coach in the league Toub’s gotten to know a lot of guys. He’s got a lot of contacts to draw upon to hire a staff and, even if he’s hiring a guy he’s never worked with, he knows what a good coach looks like. And he knows what a good player looks like, too. Probably better than the Bears current GM,Ryan Pace, who was hired 6 years ago at just 37 years of age and probably better than Bears head coach Matt Nagy, who was hired at just 39 years of age.

It’s so easy to become enamored with creative play calls with catchy names like “Santa’s Sleigh”. It’s so easy to believe that you have to hit a home run and find “the next big guy” before everyone else does. But the core quality of every head coach in the NFL is the ability to prepare players and get the most out of them.

Fundamentally, execution, regardless of the situation, regardless of the play call, regardless of whatever adversity the team faces, is the basis for success for every NFL team.

And if you are looking for a guy who can get his players to execute, it looks to me like Dave Toub might be the right guy for the job.

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