Packers Head Coach Candidate: Dave Toub
Only two current NFL head coaches have spent any significant amount of their careers coaching special teams – the Baltimore Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
If Kansas City Chiefs assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Dave Toub eventually becomes a head coach, he’ll be the third.
Since he joined the Bears as their special teams coordinator in 2004, Toub has a reputation as the game’s premier special teams coordinator. In fourteen seasons, he’s taught the fundamentals of tackling and coverage like a defensive coach, the execution of fake kicks and punts like an offensive coach, and has handled players from every position group on a roster.
The Packers next head coach certainly needs a good rapport with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but building relationships and coaching the other 52 players on the roster is just as important a job.
The details on Dave Toub
Most recent job: Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator, Kansas City Chiefs (2013-present)
Record as a head coach: 0-0
First job: Strength and Conditioning Coach, UTEP (1987-1988)
Packers connection: Serves under Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, an assistant in Green Bay under Mike Holmgren from 1992-1998.
The background on Dave Toub
Toub played offensive line in college and was drafted in the ninth round by the Philadelphia Eagles, but didn’t make the final roster. After two offseasons with the Los Angeles Rams, he called his playing career quits and joined the coaching ranks in the late 1980s in strength and conditioning.
The NFL came calling in 2001, when Toub joined Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia as a special teams assistant under the special teams coordinator John Harbaugh. He was then hired away by the Chicago Bears in 2004 to be their special teams coordinator, where he oversaw the development of kick returner Devin Hester and kicker Robbie Gould.
Toub is no stranger to interviewing for head coaching vacancies. He interviewed for both the Miami and Chicago openings in 2012, and was passed on for both before taking a spot on Reid’s Chiefs staff for 2013 as a special teams coordinator.
Assistants under Reid from his final years in Philadelphia throughout his time in Kansas City have been the most sought-after candidates. Frank Reich in Indianapolis, Matt Nagy in Chicago, Doug Pederson in Philadelphia, Pat Shurmur and Todd Bowles in New York, John Harbaugh in Baltimore, Ron Rivera in Carolina, Sean McDermott in Buffalo all coached under Reid at some point.
Toub may be the best branch yet off of Reid’s coaching tree.
"He's a combination of Harbaugh and John Madden," one of Toub's former colleagues said in 2016. "He is the real deal. This guy can coach. Period. He's a big guy, physically, who can take over a room when he has to. He gets people to buy in. These guys love playing for him. He comes from a great [coaching] family tree. Look at Andy Reid's assistants over the years. This guy is ready. All he needs is a chance."
In 2017, he interviewed for both the Los Angeles (then San Diego) Chargers and Denver Broncos openings.
Dave Toub’s biggest moment
Special teams units are well-versed in fakes. You’ve got your fake field goal attempts, your fake punt attempts, a surprise onside kick… but a fake punt return?
Toub’s Chicago Bears punt return unit did just that in a 2011 game against the Packers. Both Devin Hester and Johnny Knox were back to return the punt for the Bears, and as punter Tim Masthay’s kick soared towards Knox on the far sideline, the punt coverage team shaded to the opposite side of the field where Hester was.
The Packers coverage unit bit hard on the fake, and Knox returned the punt for a touchdown. The play unfortunately didn’t count thanks to an odd penalty, but it remains one of the best fakes in football history.
In Dave Toub’s own words
Toub is a man of few words, so let’s take a few from a pupil of his – former Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly. In a 2018 feature on Toub’s chances of becoming a head coach, Mannelly spoke highly of his coach.
“Honestly, he’s just kind of a boring football guy,” Mannelly said. “He truly is. There’s not anything where it’s like—Oh, he paints!—or something like that. He’s just ... it’s football 24/7 with him. He’s a great family man, I know that, but he’s a football guy. There’s no story there about his love for antiques.
“Guys just gravitate to him. They listen to him. They respect him.”
What are the chances Dave Toub is the next Packers head coach?
Jon’s Rating: 3.5/5
This is a precarious time for the Packers. They’re currently in the process of hiring what they hope will be the last head coach Aaron Rodgers ever has in Green Bay. We’ve said this before, but this is a call they absolutely have to get right.
The prevailing opinion (mine included) is that the Packers should go with an offensive-minded coach, but maybe that’s the wrong way to look at things. Maybe instead of offense and defense, we should be thinking about a coach’s ability to bring people together and get the most out of the part of the organization they oversee.
That’s the approach the Packers have tended to take over the last year or so. Mark Murphy has increased his own responsibility. Brian Gutekunst is more active in shaping the roster than his predecessor. Mike McCarthy had one last shot in 2018 to bring the entire on-field product together, and he couldn’t, but his successor will get a chance to succeed where he failed.
If improving the results on a team-wide basis is the goal of the next head coach, maybe Toub is a candidate worth considering. Sure, he’s older than McCarthy and his resume doesn’t immediately resemble that of a hotshot coach looking for his big break. But hearing how his fellow coaches talk about his ability to oversee an entire operation, you have to wonder if Toub could be worth a shot. Brian Gutekunst said the Packers would consider every avenue for bringing in players. Why not the same for coaches?
Gary’s Rating: 4/5
The longer the grass grows underneath me as the Packers search for their next head coach, the more likely an unorthodox candidate like Dave Toub seems in my mind. Two factors give Toub the highest rating I’ve given any potential head coach: the lack of offensive-minded coaches and his connections to the Packers.
Minnesota’s firing of offensive coordinator John DeFilippo eliminated a likely top candidate for the Packers, and the depth for potential offensive-minded head coaches is even shallower. If Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels stays in New England – and I believe he will – the Packers will be evaluating young offensive position coaches to be their next head coach. I don’t see it.
Then there’s his connection to the Packers, something that former Packers executive Andrew Brandt noted was a key contributor to Mike McCarthy’s hiring in 2006. Toub has spent seven seasons (three in Philadelphia and four with Kansas City) with former Packers assistant Andy Reid, and eight on the staff of Lovie Smith in Chicago.
Anyone who remains in the Packers front office or coaching staff from Toub’s years with the Bears will undoubtedly remember how Chicago’s special teams kept them in games against the Packers they had no business being in. It’s likely he’s a known quantity to Green Bay.
Packers president Mark Murphy doesn’t have to worry about hiring a head coach who will drive season ticket sales. The luxury that Aaron Rodgers provides Green Bay is that they don’t need a head coach who can develop a quarterback. Calling the endorsements of Toub by his former players and assistants raving or sterling doesn’t quite give it justice, too.
Green Bay has hinted they’d like to keep defensive coordinator Mike Pettine around, too, and Toub’s coaching stops have put him around other coaches who have worked with him enough that Toub may be comfortable keeping Pettine around.