Let’s just get to the point, Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard need to do everything in their power to get Dave Toub to Indy to be the Colts head coach. Rumor has it that Toub was Ballard’s choice for head coach when he came to Indy anyways, but was forced by Irsay forced him to let Chuck play the year out. Well, that didn’t work, and holding possibly the third or second pick in the draft, the Colts need to get a head coach who is keen on maximizing the talent on the roster, and no one is more qualified to do that than Dave Toub. Before getting into the man himself, lets delve into why a special teams coordinator is a great idea for the Colts.
First off, the list of NFL coaches with background in special teams is pretty good, the crown jewels being John Harbaugh, who Toub worked under, and Bill Belichick, so needless to say it can work. Now, a lot of people are clamoring for an offensive minded head coach to bring Luck and company to new heights, but honestly, you don’t need an offensive guru at head coach to do that. Great coaches hire great coordinators and let them do their jobs as the head coach sets up his expectations, philosophy, and most importantly discipline. A lot of headcoaches don’t even call the plays, about half of them to be exact. Here’s the list of who does and doesn’t call plays on either side of the ball as of the end of the 2017 regular season.
|Does Call Plays||Does Not Call Plays|
|Bruce Arians ARI||Andy Reid KC|
|Jay Gruden WAS||John Harbaugh BAL|
|Doug Penderson PHI||Ron Rivera CAR|
|Kyle Shanahan SF||John Fox CHI|
|Bill O’Brien HOU||Marvin Lewis CIN|
|Sean Payton NO||Vance Josephs DEN|
|Sean McVay LAR||Jim Caldwell DET|
|Mike Zimmer MIN||Mike Tomlin PIT|
|Mike McCarthy GB||Doug Marrone JAX|
|Steve Spagnulo NYG||Chuck Pagano IND|
|Todd Bowels NYJ||Jack Del Rio OAK|
|Adam Gase MIA||Anthony Lynn SD|
|Dirk Koetter TB||Jason Garrett DAL|
|Hue Jackson CLE||Mike Mularkey TEN|
|Bill Belichick NE|
Looking at this list, it’s tough to say one method works better the other, so it doesn’t look like having a coach for better play calling isn’t a necessity. The top offenses and defenses have a mix playcallers and non-playcallers as the head coaches, so what is important for a head coach? The ability to lead men is something you hear all the time, but that can only take you as your football acumen, as the Colts saw with Chuck Pagano. However, that is very important, especially in a situation where their starting quarterback may not be ready week one in a rebuild.
Coaches who come from one side of the ball and gets too involved in that side of the ball tend to have their team suffer (Rex Ryan Jets, Chuck Pagano IND, Dirk Koetter TB, Marc Trestman CHI), but if you hire the right guy as a coordinator, the team can really start to take off. This may not be enough to quell the hunger for a offensive coach for many Colts fans, but look at some of the top offenses year in and year out. Steelers, Patriots, and Chiefs all have their coordinators running the show, so it’s completely possible if not probable with a good quarterback, which the Colts have, to have a top flight offense without the coach calling plays.
Now, let’s look at special teams coaches themselves; they deal with more rotating personnel than the other sides of the ball, and still have to find a way to put each player in the best position to succeed. A good special teams coach takes the the least amount of money and presumably talent and have to perform with the least amount of room for error in high pressure situation. These coaches deal with players from both sides of the ball doing things they usually don’t want to do, so when you hear players and coaches praise a special teams coordinator, it’s a good idea to at least check it out.
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Maybe you’re still not convinced on a special team coordinator for coach because you want the best offense mind as possible for Luck and the offense. Well that would leave you with names such as: Josh McDaniels from NE, Matt Nagy from KC, and Frank Reich from PHI. Looking at this list, there are some pretty big names with plenty of pedigree, but they are not perfect. Josh McDaniels comes from a horrific Bill Belichick coaching tree and already has a bad history as a head coach. He could’ve learned since then, but are you willing to risk that? Frank Reich is on a flying Eagles offense this year (pun intended), but he doesn’t even call the plays, Doug Pederson does, and what makes you think he will be as good as Pederson? Matt Nagy is probably the offensive coordinator that makes the most sense with the KC connection with Chris Ballard, and coming from a Andy Reid tree that has produced John Harbaugh, Doug Pederson, Ron Rivera, Sean McDermott, Todd Bowels, Pat Shurmur, among others with some NFL success as a head coach. However, he hasn’t produced anything wildly better than Doug Pederson was in years prior, and in only a partial season as the OC is another risk for the Colts.
Another common plea from Colts fans is developing Andrew Luck into an even better quarterback, and an only offensive guru can do that. A counter to that is this, Dave Toub brings in Doug Pederson’s quarterback coach John Deflippo as OC, the same guy who help made Carson Wentz into a MVP candidate and looks to have saved Nick Foles a bit. No one can say that this would happen, but another reason that Toub is a good choice.
What about Dave Toub himself? First, Toub has learned under great NFL coaches Andy Reid and John Harbaugh, which is a pretty good combo to work with. Also, he is probably the best special teams coach in recent memory, leading the vaunted Bears’ special teams unit from 2004 to 2012. The likes of Devin Hester and Robbie Gould can partially thank their success to him. He also is the mastermind behind the great Chiefs special teams units since 2013. His players love his coaching style, lauding his propensity to ask the players, not just other coaches, what they see and what they think, which has been proven to work for him. This is a good point because working well with others and being open to new ideas is very important, and it is this trait will lead him to getting as much coaching talent as possible and letting them do their jobs. Recently, Sean McVay was praised for that exact idea, and Belichick has been known to do this for decades, so needless to say it’s a great method. On top of this, his peers and NFL executives love him, universally recognized as one of the best candidates for head coaching positions year in and year out. The former strength and conditioning coach is very well respected by his players and staff, and has paid his dues to earn a chance to run a team at 55 year old.
Disclaimer, this is not saying that the other coaching options are bad, they could all work exceptionally well in Indy, what this is saying is that they may not be as good as Dave Toub would be for the Colts. Toub is a man who came from very little, and built his weight machines from scratch to stay in shape, to becoming one of the best strength and conditioning coaches of his time, and then to one of the best special teams coaches of all time. He does not only deserve to become the Colts next head coach, Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard should roll out the red carpet for former UTEP Miner.
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