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Toub wants to break barriers for special teams coaches

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Kansas City Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub interviewed for two head coaching vacancies this offseason -- one with the Los Angeles Chargers and the other with the Denver Broncos.

That marks four head coaching interviews for the 54-year-old NFL veteran, who played offensive line for two seasons before working his way through the coaching pipeline. Toub worked under Ravens head coach John Harbaugh when Harbaugh was in Philadelphia before becoming the Bears special teams coordinator in 2004. He interviewed for Chicago's head coaching vacancy the year the team hired Marc Trestman and he also interviewed for the Dolphins' head coaching vacancy in 2011.

He has been with Kansas City since 2013.

And while the proving ground is steeper for special teams coaches, the highly respected Toub thought his progress this offseason was a good sign for special teams coordinators -- many of whom are great coaches who get overlooked during the groupthink stages of hiring.

Toub said after AFC Pro Bowl practice Friday that he'd "like to think" that he is helping move forward the perception about special team coordinators. "The awareness is definitely getting better. People are starting to say 'hey, why can't a special teams coach be a head coach?'

"The fact that I got interviews, I think it's good for the whole profession."

He said Denver and Los Angeles provided a "great experience. Great people. Great organizations."

Toub said a large portion of his interviews focused on the transition. How would he approach a head coaching situation and where would he spend his time during practice? It has to be frustrating for someone who spends so much time coaching players across all positions.

Theoretically, a special teams coordinator has to be more flexible than any coach on the roster. Kickoff, return, punt and field goal units are often comprised of the bottom half of any 53-man roster, which means players on non-guaranteed contracts who are consistently shuffled on and off the team.

Toub, though, explains his case with great care and detail.

"It's equal," he said. "I coach every position, so I should be able to do so as a head coach."

He added: "Really, as a head coach, you're a game manager. You want to try and be a manager and a leader of all facets and that's really the way I attacked the interview."

The future is looking brighter for Toub, who comes highly recommended by Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, one of the most respected coaches in football. This year, of the six new head coaches hired, five of them have never held the position.

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn was an offensive coordinator for less than one season and new Rams head coach Sean McVay is only 31. Toub, along with then-Panthers assistant head coach and defensive backs coach Steve Wilks (Wilks is now Carolina's defensive coordinator) received attention from previously ignored areas.

While the Pro Bowl might be overooked by some Sunday, Toub can once again flex his coaching muscle, and plans on doing so. Most of his roster are already established stars who have theoretically graduated from special teams duties. That changes this weekend.

"I always say, it would be a dream to have a special teams unit like I have out here," he said, laughing. "A lot of these guys haven't played special teams at all. Maybe in the first year. But we're asking them to do it again. We only have 43 guys and they gotta play."

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