Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt doesn’t want to lose his position coach, but he understands how it could happen.
As a number of NFL head coaches were handed pink slips after the regular season’s end, possible replacement lists were floated, and Chiefs special-teams coach Dave Toub has appeared on at least two.
The Star’s Terez A. Paylor confirmed that the Chargers have been granted permission to interview Toub as a replacement for Mike McCoy.
The Broncos are another team that might express interest.
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“I kind of get nervous every year,” Colquitt said. “He’s a special-teams coach, but he’s an Xs and Os coach, too.”
Toub has been the Chiefs’ special-teams coach throughout Andy Reid’s four seasons. He had the same job with the Bears during 2004-12.
He interviewed for the Bears’ head-coaching job after the 2012 season. The Bears hired Marc Trestman. A year earlier, Toub was interviewed by the Dolphins for their head-coaching job.
“I thought he had a pretty good chance of getting that Chicago job,” Reid said. “He’d been there, done a great job … I thought he would have been perfect for that job.”
He’s been ideal for the Chiefs, Reid said. This season, the Chiefs’ special teams rank second in the NFL by a metric authored by footballoutsiders.com that takes into account the success of field goals/extra points, kickoffs, kick returns, punts and punt returns.
The Chiefs have standouts in that phase — Tyreek Hill topped the NFL in punt-return average (15.2) and his 95-yard return against the Chargers on Sunday set a team record and was in the longest in the NFL this season.
Colquitt has been one of the NFL’s most consistent kickers throughout his 12-year career. Kicker Cairo Santos made a career-best 88.6 percent of his field goals (31 of 35), including walk-off kicks at Carolina and Denver for the first time in his career.
There have been coverage standouts such as D.J. Alexander and Daniel Sorensen, and remarkable plays like a fake punt that Albert Wilson carried 55 yards for a touchdown to help the Chiefs win at Atlanta.
Add it up, and special teams help explain how the Chiefs finished 12-4 and won the AFC West while being outgained through the air and on the ground this season.
Much of the credit goes to Toub, who is ready to become a head coach even though he hasn’t been a position coach since working with the Eagles’ defensive line during 2001-03. Before that, Toub served two seasons as Missouri’s defensive-line coach and nearly a decade as the program’s strength and conditioning coach.
“Special-teams coaches are a unique breed,” Reid said. “They don’t get enough credit for what they do and what they have to deal with. They deal with the media, the offense, the defense, they deal with the whole gamut.”
Which means special-teams coaches deal with the entire roster and contend with successes and failures on a weekly basis, like a head coach.
“They come out of a game, and not everything’s perfect,” Reid said. “They’re dealing with the whole roster. Within special teams there’s an offense and a defense. … I just think they are as close to anybody as ready to be a head coach.”
Two weeks ago, Toub said he doesn’t spend much time thinking about becoming a head coach, but he has noticed more of those who oversee special teams are being mentioned for top jobs.
“It’s something that if it happens, it happens,” Toub said. “I just like the fact that more and more special-teams coaches are being recognized as guys that could be head coaches. The awareness is getting better and I think someday somebody is going to pull the trigger on a guy.”
Perhaps the next Bill Belichick will be discovered. Before becoming a head coach with the Browns in 1991 and winning four Super Bowls with the Patriots, Belichick worked as a special-teams coach or assistant for four teams.
“You work with everybody, all the guys on the team,” Toub said. “You’re working situational football. It trains you to be a head coach in my opinion.”