After his units struggled against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub spoke to the media on Thursday.
Eyebrows had been raised even before the game’s opening kickoff. The Chiefs won the coin toss — but rather than defer to the second half (as they normally would), they elected to receive the kick.
After the game, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid admitted that his captains had made a mistake: if they won the toss, they were supposed to defer as usual.
“That wasn’t a good choice,” said Reid. “We goofed that one. [It was] a little miscommunication.”
But Toub took the blame for it.
“It’s my job to make sure it’s clear exactly what we want to get done,” he acknowledged. “Obviously, if we win the toss, we want to defer; that’s what we do. So it’s an honest mistake that happened.”
Honest or not, the error was compounded when Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson decided to roll the dice, attempting an onside kick to start the game. His gamble paid off. Jacksonville recovered the kick, getting the opening possession and the ball to start the second half.
“You know we practice it, obviously. That’s why we have guys in that zone right there,” said Toub, referring to the eight players in the setup zone of the kickoff formation. “They just have to see the ball kicked. They were watching it, but they really weren’t watching it; I didn’t remind them.
“So again, that’s my fault. I have to remind them every time — [so] in that case, I’ll take the blame on that, too.”
Still, while he admitted that the Chiefs are a young team — especially on his units — Toub thinks there is no longer an excuse for these types of mental errors.
“At this point now we have 12 games [under] our belt — plus training camp,” he explained. “So you know I tell the rookies we have — [and] we have a lot of rookies — [that], ‘You’re not rookies anymore.’
“I mean, it’s time now. We have to perform. There are no more excuses; those excuses are gone. So any mistake we make now is because they’re just not putting it all together.”
But one special-teams area for which there has been concern has (hopefully) been solved. On Thursday, Toub announced that on punt returns, the Chiefs will use their new wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who will be replacing rookie wideout Skyy Moore.
But despite first-year running back Isiah Pacheco’s increased offensive workload, Toub said there is no plan to take him off kick returns.
“I really like Isiah back there,” remarked Toub. “He’s dangerous. And you know, it’s really not bad for him to start back there and get the game going for him a little bit — rather than just start off on offense.”
Let’s hope Toub is right — and that relying on Pacheco for two roles will lead to big runs in two phases of the game.