Red Zone

Tampa’s Lovie Smith says Chiefs assistant Dave Toub could be a head coach someday

When new Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith was asked what kind of role the Chiefs’ special teams success in 2013 had on his recent decision to hire assistant Kevin O’Dea away from Andy Reid’s staff, Smith grinned.

“Well, I feel like I’m bringing back from my old staff instead of hiring him from Andy,” Smith said with a grin.

Indeed, O’Dea ― a longtime assistant under Chiefs’ special teams coordinator Dave Toub ― has a history with Smith. But Toub and O’Dea were mainstays on Smith’s staff during his run as Chicago’s coach from 2004 to 2012.

So when Smith landed the Tampa job this offseason, he knew exactly where he wanted to look to build the kind of powerhouse special teams units he had in Chicago for all those years, especially when you considered the Chiefs scored a league-high five special teams touchdown this season.

“Special teams are important, it’s always been that way with us,” Smith said. “(The decision to hire O’Dea) had a lot to do with the success that Kansas City had last year.”

Smith said he believes Toub, who has routinely directed some of the league’s best special teams units over the last several years, eventually has a future as an NFL head coach.

“Dave has interviewed before for a head job,” Smith said. “(Baltimore’s) John Harbaugh has a special teams background, he’s doing a great job in the league.

“Dave, eventually, will get his opportunity.”