Dave Toub & Ryan Succop
St. Joseph, MO - A year ago Kansas City Chiefs Kicker, Ryan Succop, did something he’d not done in his NFL career to date, he missed some short kicks. None of them would have affected the outcome of the 2012 season. But nonetheless, it’s something that new Special Teams Coach, David Toub, is aiming to change.
Shortly after Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, arrived in Kansas City he cleaned out the coaching staff. Changing coordinators on offense and defense were no-brainers. But what about special teams?
In looking for someone to lead that side of the ball, Reid wanted to bring in a gunslinger to improve KC’s special teams. When the Chicago Bears ousted their special teams man, Dave Toub, the Chiefs were the first to call. It wasn’t long after he chose to join Reid’s staff.
With training camp in full swing not much has been said about KC’s special teams approach this season. The last three years in Kansas City this unit has been so-so seasons for KC’s special teams. They’ve had some low spots and high spots.
Punter, Dustin Colquitt, fresh off a Pro Bowl year has been steady as a rock. The return and coverage teams have been marginal at best but the eye opener was the hiccups by Kicker, Ryan Succop.
At times a year ago, he was KC’s best scoring option but he also missed some chip shots that had last years coaching staff a bit puzzled. That’s why Reid brought in one of the games premier special teams coaches.
In Dave Toub, the Chiefs have a hard-nosed coach with an infinity for fixing whatever ills need to be corrected in one of the games most inconsistent yet important phases - special teams.
To be fair, any special teams coach is handicapped. Generally his units are comprised of a few talented starters. Mostly though they’re back-ups. And with the final 53-man rosters set just 10 days before the start of the regular season, that doesn’t give Toub much time to get his units ready for opening day.
So that’s why it’s critical that he get Succop back on track? Cause Toub has been spending a lot of time in camp trying to fix his kickers yips.
“We’re trying. It’s a mental thing with him. It’s definitely not physical. He is doing a lot better,” Toub said in regards to his starting kicker.
”Kevin O’Dea, my assistant, I really believe he is the best in the league, and he is working really closely with Ryan. I really think they’re taking strides and going in the right direction mentally. He had a great day today; we put him in tough situations, yesterday, as well. I think he kicked five field goals; three of them were 48-yards or more. He’s moving in the right direction, and we’re happy.”
As the Chiefs enter the 2013 season, expectations are high and having a confident Succop with a potential game tying or better yet, game winning kick, on the line, has to be paramount to Toub.
“Well, the main thing is his confidence to hit his line. I don’t know if you noticed, but we put him on the end-line and we try to hit the goal posts,” he said.
“If you trust your line and you know you can hit the ball where you want it to go, that’s all you need to worry about. So when you get in a game and you pick a spot, whatever the wind is and you say ‘I’m going to hit it right here and if I’m going to hit it on that line, it’s going to go through.’ If some kind of wind gust comes and blows it out, there’s nothing you can do about that. As long as you hit your line, we’re fine with that. He’s getting to that point where he’s building that confidence.”
If Taub can do that, coupled with a steady year from Colquitt, then his remaining focus needs to be on finding a return man who can score touchdowns on punts or kick-offs. And that player might ultimately be Chiefs third round draft pick running back, Kniles Davis.
“Yeah, he’s doing better. We’ve kept him after practice three days and he’s catching extra balls in the jugs,” Taub said of Davis.
“His big thing is focus. He’s never really done it in college, so we’re trying to utilize his talents as a big guy that can run fast and we’re really thinking we can develop a kick returner. So, it’s going to take a little time and we’re looking to see him in some preseason games when the bullets are live.”
Sending a rookie out to handle the return duties is something that has worked well for the Chiefs in the past.
Both running back Jamaal Charles and wide receiver, Dexter McCluster, did it their rookie seasons and both had success. If Davis, who has brilliant speed and strong legs can adjust to that role, he’ll just another weapon for KC’s overall arsenal. Right now both McCluster and second year man, Devon Wiley, are the front runners. But both could be big contributors on offense so Taub needs other options.
So when the Chiefs play their first game of the season on Friday night in New Orleans, Taub should learn a few things about some of the players that could be part of KC’s final roster.
”We have a lot of other guys that are still developing as far as ball reads go. It’s going to be interesting as we go through these next preseason games, actually these first three for sure, seeing exactly what we have in the depth,” Taub said.
And that depth could be the difference in two or three more wins for the Chiefs in 2013.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Can Dave Toub get Succop back on track?
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