Chiefs Special Teams!
By Eric Paolini
Do you remember when Chris Berman used to constantly yell, “Bills special teams”? Apparently the Internet doesn’t. What the Internet does remember is Berman saying “nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.” Now, I never remember him saying this particular quote, but I do remember him repeatedly shouting about their special teams. It's possible he still does this, I do not know. I have long since stopped listening to his signature booming voice on Sundays. Here is why I bring all this up: The Chiefs should have a really good special teams squad this season. This group has gotten Chiefs fans excited this preseason -- possibly to the point of yelling.
The expected success of the special teams is all due to the hiring of Dave Toub. Much has been made about the most obvious improvements the Chiefs have made this offseason. The acquisitions of Alex Smith and Andy Reid are the most overt examples. But the hiring of Toub may turn out to be one of the best moves the team has made.
Over the past six seasons, the Chiefs have ranked no better than 19th in Football Outsiders’ special teams DVOA rankings: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamst2012. Last season Kansas
City was 22nd. Before landing with the Chiefs, Toub spent nine seasons as special teams coordinator in Chicago. In his time there, Toub led the Bears’ special teams to the top of the league. In Football Outsider’s special teams rankings, the Bears were ranked 12th, 27th, 1st, 1st, 5th, 4th, 1st, 1st and 6th under Toub. Devin Hester blossomed into arguably the greatest returner of all time when Toub was his coach.
Toub’s arrival has already made an impact on the Chiefs. Through three preseason games, Kansas City is seventh in average punt-return yardage (14.8), second in average kick-return yardage (40.1), first in kick-return touchdowns (2), tied seventh in average yards allowed per punt return (6.8), and tied for first in punts inside the 20 (eight). Now I know that these are preseason games, but c’mon, feel the excitement!