Chicago Sun-Times

Sunday roundup: Ravens' ride helps Toub's coaching aspirations

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PITTSBURGH--Rookie head coach John Harbaugh is one victory away from the Super Bowl and another opportunity to promote Dave Toub as a potential head-coaching candidate.

The 11-5 season by the Baltimore Ravens, and their two road playoff victories have already given Toub some momentum because of the coaching history the men share. They come from a special teams background that some have been reluctant to consider. Call it the Frank Gansz Effect. Gansz, one of the most widely respected special teams coaches in the league over the last 30 years, was promoted from that position to head coach in Kansas City. He promptly went 8-22-1 before being replaced by Marty Schottenheimer.

Some believe Gansz's struggles made owners less likely to consider special teams coaches. But Harbaugh was the special teams coordinator in Philadelphia for nine seasons before jumping over to the secondary in 2007. That propelled him to the job in Baltimore and has some league insiders believing that Toub will soon be considered. Of course, Toub worked under Harbaugh for the Eagles before joining Lovie Smith's staff in 2004.

"There are ways to prepare to be a head coach. I'm proud of the path I took," Harbaugh said when he was hired last January. "You pay attention to detail, you do the best job you can, and good things happen."

While special teams coordinators don't deal with offense or defense, they work with more players than anyone but the head coach. Outside of the quarterbacks and running back Matt Forte, Toub worked with everyone on the roster. Harbaugh isn't the first coach with a special teams background to have success. Mike Ditka's first job under Tom Landry in Dallas was as a special teams coach and offensive assistant. Chicago resident Marv Levy, a Hall of Famer, and Dick Vermeil were the first two special teams coaches in the NFL. Bill Cowher started his career as a special teams coach.

"You're dealing with everyone on the team," Levy told the Sun-Times. "In terms of background to become a head coach, it's as good as any other position there is. You become very conversant with what is happening on offense and defense on special teams.

"'Toub has done a super job. I don't know that's really the case that it's difficult for a special-teams coach to move up to head coach. Really, it's a who's who of coaches who started on special teams."

*** Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News points out that tonight's meeting between rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh is just the fourth time in the last 30 years that the top two defenses in the league have collided in the playoffs. It's the first time it's happened this deep in the playoffs.

The tie to the Bears? The 1985 Bears, who we all know had the league's No. 1 defense, met the No. 2 defense in the league that year in the playoffs when they tangled with the New York Giants in the divisional round. New York was limited to 10 first downs and 32 rushing yards in a 21-0 Bears' victory.

Gosselin's point? Something always gives when No. 1 meets No. 2.

*** Talked to ex-Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera about the addition of Rod Marinelli to the staff. Rivera can speak from experience. He was a linebacker at Cal when Marinelli was an assistant there. Rivera did a fair bit of blitzing and Marinelli provided plenty of instruction on that.

"Oh, the Bears just got a whole lot better," Rivera said. "He is one of my favorite persons in the world. He gets down to the players' level and makes you want to run through that wall for him."

Smith and Jerry Angelo are not the only ones at Halas Hall with ties to Marinelli. Scout Ted Monago was a player at Arizona State when Marinelli was an assistant there.

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I say it and I say it all the time, Dave Toub is the best coach on this team by a long shot. If Lovie was not so into his friends maybe he would have given Toub a shot at being a position coach. You can tell how good Toub by the fact that he pre-dates Lovie and has not been fired by him to hire a Lovie Buddy from Tampa. I think Lovie also knows without Toub on special teams and Rivera at DC he would have already been looking for a new job.

Blah blah blah Biggs Rod Marinelli is such a great motivator he really helped me to turn my life around. Just tell me when the guy has developed anyone. He motivated Sapp and he motivated Rice, Rice a Pro Bowl defensive end before he ever met Rod. Rice new how to run block before he met Rod he just didn't want too. Alex Brown does not have that Problem. Every defensive end he was given to Develop did nothing. In Detroit you can see what Rod does, he kept that team motivated all year, he really did, he just didn't make them more talented than they were. He didn't take any average players and make them great. He is a motivator not a developer of players. He has yet to take a Raw player and turn him into anything amazing.

I think there is little chance the Bears draft a DE or DT in the first round this year. Not cause they don't want too, but DT is thin and there is only one guy who even deserves to be in the first round. DE is better but most of them are undersized 3-4 rush LB's Orakpo and Brown will be long gone before the Bears draft ,Johnson who is a boom or Bust type will probably also be gone. The biggest problem facing the Bears is most of the team in front of them need help on the DLine. KC need a pass rusher more than anything else, Cleveland needs a Rush LB, Packers need a NT and DE, Denver needs a whole new defensive line, Saints need an end, Texas needs help at DT and could use another end, San Diego needs a Rush LB or a 5tech End, I think the Raiders will grab Johnson as they need an end, and the Bears, who are they gonna take at 18 the 6th or 7th best end in the class. No chance you could get that guy in the third round. You can only take who is available. Orakpo, and Brown are gone are gone in the first 12, Johnson will probably be gone to the Raiders if not the Texans or Saints. Raji is as good as a Packer. It's weak defensive line class at best.

Go Pitt.

The Bears should do whatever it takes to keep Toub on the staff. Look, it the team has any kind of breakout on offense, Ron Turner won't be around forever. Why not groom Toub for the OC?

"Ravens' ride helps Toub's coaching aspirations"

Well, I guess we can say goodbye to Toub. No way Lovie keeps a potential challenger to his job on the Bears.

"Blah blah blah Biggs Rod Marinelli is such a great motivator he really helped me to turn my life around." -Creighton

Hahaha! Creighton you've got to look into getting your own sitcom or possibly a late night talk show. You're a funny, funny guy; whether you try to be or not.

But yeah, you, Da Coach and myself have raised several doubts about Marinelli's abilities as a d-line coach. Out of all the first day draft picks Tampa used on defensive linemen, the main guys we hear about today are Warren Sapp, and Simeon Rice, a pro-bowler and D ROTY with Arizona, whom Tampa traded for. So that's one guy Rod has "developed" although Sapp seems to credit him more as a mentor on life than a position coach. Maybe this is what Tommie "One Knee" Harris needs, for he's had problems with following team rules, but I still think his health has been the primary culprit.

But what really worries me are Lovie's and Rod's tendencies to get rid of the good players they have for those who will fit "the scheme." Rod got rid of Big Baby in Detroit, Lovie thought Chris Harris was expendable. Eventually one has to assume Anthony Adams will be released since he's a big 3-4 guy and not the Cover-2 prototype. If he is let go, he'll probably be picked up by the Steelers or Chargers which will probably be better for Adams as he won't be deactivated for half of a season like he was here.

Btw, I'd rather be the Baltimore Bears than the Blitzburg Bears.

Go Ravens!

Rod Marinelli was a good hire. A lot of you guy's keep going on about how Marinelli didn't have any pro bowlers on his defensive lines in Tampa other than Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice, and that both Sapp & Rice were good before they got to Tampa, and I agree. But thats just it, they were great players before Marinelli got them because they are great players to begin with, no matter who their coach was. A position coach cannot make an average player a pro-bowler, I'd like to see one that could, what he can do is have the average player ready to play, and get production from them, which Marinelli did in Tampa. Because like you guys are saying, Marinelli only had Sapp, and then Rice in 2001, thats only two positions on the front four, that means Marinelli took three average players, then in 2001, two average players, and made them productive, thats good coaching.

Again, a position coach cannot make a player special unless he is already special to begin with. For example, thats like saying Bob Babich & Lloyd Lee made Urlacher & Briggs special players when they were their position coach. I don't think so, Urlacher and Briggs were already special from the get go, it wouldn't matter who their coach was, they were still gonna be good players.

Bottom line, Marinelli got good production from the Bucs defensive line, up to 2001 when they signed Rice, with only one special player, Sapp. So no, the other three players weren't nothing special, but thats probaly because they weren't nothing special to begin with, there's only going to be so many Warrens Sapp's coming into the league every year, if every player could be special like Sapp, with the right coach, I'd like to meet that coach. Its a little ridiculous to think because Marinelli didn't make every member of the Bucs front four a pro bowler while he was there, that he isn't a good position coach. Its probably because the other members weren't pro bowlers to begin with, again, no coach can make a player special if the players isn't special to begin with, the players is either special or not. So the fact that Marinelli had the Bucs front four as one of the best in the league, and most of the time with only one special player, Sapp, and did it with a bunch of average players, makes Marinelli a good position coach GO BEARS!!

Kevin,

You have completely and totally ignored and even DISTORTED the argument against Marinelli.

Do some homework! Those "average guys" were all a bunch of 1st-Round farking talent!!! If you have guys who were rookie starters and high-priced free agents along with 1st-round picks ... ANY COACH WILL LOOK LIKE A GENIUS!

Sorry but fail reading comprehension. Creighton, Mike and myself have all pointed out the talent that was available in Tampa and are still looking for the guy you can say was "coached up". AGAIN for the cheap seats ... NAME ONE!!!

why do people keep singing the praises of chris harris?

has anyone seen his stats for this season?

did anyone see the panthers last playoff game?

he was expendable because we got a long list of SS JUST like him...guys who cant play the pass and will go for the skill shot instead of a textbook fundamentally sound tackle...

mike brown cant play the pass anymore...which is why he was moved from FS to SS

kevin payne...cant play the pass

craig stelz cant play the pass...

brandon mcgowan...cant play the pass

adam archuletta...couldnt play the play and all around just was bad...

i mean i wont even comment on the marinelli stuff because i know certain people here cant do anything but complain...

but the chirs harris love...like seriously...can we let that go

PLEASE

he's avg at best...he'll never be a pro bowler...he'll never be a game changer...he'll never be able to get faster or smarter to play the pass...

The Bears will lose Toub unless they promote him somewhere and do so quickly. It is too bad because I also think that Toub is probably the best coach on the Bears.

As for Marinelli lets just say that he is the type of coach (motivator type) that the Bears certainly could have used the last few years. Lets face the fact the BEARs were pathetic without a 60 minute commitment from many of the players to finish games for the last two years. I cannot believe that you guys are complaining about a coach that had a ten year successful stint at Tampa Bay on one of the best D lines in that era, is a consumate pro with great accomlades from allpros like Sapp and has tremendous experience coaching the D Line. What is so wrong with Marinelli nothing at all, some great position coaches do not make the cut as a head coach but are in fact tremendous position coaches. Buddy Ryan was one of those guys, a great and legendary D coordinator but a failure as a head coach.

So if this was such a poor move by the Bears tell me who is the coach that you would have picked to be the line coach? And please explain to me why the person that you would have chosen would have been so much better than Marinelli?

Also do not use the 0-16 record as the reason why, that is just plain weak as a reason?

Kevin thats not what we are saying, at least thats not what I am saying. I really do think Rod is a great motivator. I also think he works really well with top end Talent. Hovan was a head case, not some untalented shmuck, he didn't teach Rice how to run block, he motivated Rice to actually start doing it, Sapp was lazy, but when it comes to guys drafted for him to developed he failed to do that. He had a top 6 pick who had been there for three years in Tampa who he didn't help, much like Anderson has been in Chicago for three years. 2 other first round ends where drafted for him to develop, he failed to do it, a 3rd rounder was drafted he failed to do that. There is a reason they kept going out and getting DE's in the Draft. He motivated Sapp but making him great, that was Sapp making the most of his great talent and putting effort into being good.

Kevin who has he developed at DE? The reason I ask is because we need a Pass rusher actually we need two. At NT he had all free agents until McFarland who turned out to be ok, but he was a top 15 pick and they actually expected more from him.

I just heard Angelo say to have a good line you don't need a bunch of top draft picks, and he is right. So why does Rod need 3 first round pick on his line for a line to be great? In ten years Kevin he never developed an end.

Now most people don't get the Tampa 2 front 4, even in Tampa it never actually made it to what Dungy wanted. McFarland was an undersized NT good against the run, but he was not what you want to see in that system. For the Tampa 2 too work perfectly your DLine would need to look something like this.

S. Rice
John Randell
Warren Sapp
D. Freenney

Light fast attacking, the reason you should be able to get tons of pressure is because your front four should be insane. It's impossible to put a line like that together, thats why Tampa kept investing picks on the line and going after free agents. 4 guys who can create pressure.

Tampa had 3 guys that could do it for awhile Rice, Sapp, Hovan/Culpepper. Then they found something out. It doesn't work real well against Big OLines that can pound the ball. And in cold weather it's a lot closer to breaking than bending against strong running teams.

You ever notice how the Vikings big Oline pounds are front four into the ground? Do you know why we need to stack 7-8 in the box? Cause are line is so small if we don't it gets hammered in the run game. Why don't we get pressure with our front 4? Cause we don't have the talent. When di it work the best for the Bears? 2006, when we had 3 guys creating pressure Anderson, Goon, Harris. IT'S always going to be weak against the run unless you put a guy like Johnson or Adams in there, but then you don't get pressure and a QB picks you apart. Harris is not the same sense his hamstring injury, Brown is not a Pass Rusher and Goon needs a guy drawing a double team next to him in order to be affective. Plus we don't have a NT who creats pressure. So basically Rod needs to fix 4 spots on the defensive line and he doesn't have Rice, Culpepper, and Sapp to help him and Peppers isn't comming here.

Again Kevin I think he is a good motivator for guys who need to be motivated. Alex Brown does not need to be motivation, Goon is getting old and has never been a super athlete, Harris is the talent on the line but has a pin holding his hamstring together, and NT is a? The front four did not colapse because a bunch of guys with tons of talent got lazy. It colapsed because it was never that good and the guy with the most talent has a leg issue. Not to mention Lach is not as good as he used to be and niether is Brown. Plus Vash is a bum.

Kevin saying he did great with just Sapp is not a good point. He Had Sapp, and Culpepper from day 1. Having a core player who anchors your line who also happens to be a future HOF player and having a good line is not that impressive. It's funny just like Anderson had 1 good year for the Bears all his DE's would have one good year and then a massive fall off and they were always playing with Sapp. Kevin if our line had John Randell in his prime instead of Harris and Hovan right next to him, do you think our Line would have been a lot better last year. Cause I do. Thats the kind of talent Rod worked with from day 1 in Tampa. So please excuse me if I put a question mark next to his name until he proves it here cause he did not prove it in Detroit or any place that didn't have Sapp and a bunch of first round talent on it's DLine.

Da Church of Da Coach, first of all, just because I have a different opinion on Rod Marinelli than you, does not mean I have totally ignored and even distorted the argument against Marinelli, again, I think he was a good hire, you don't. Also, just because a guy was a "1st-Round Farking talent!!!" as you say, doesn't mean they were special players. Again, if a player is special, they will show up on the field, if not, they won't, a position coach cannot make a player special. Rod Marinelli had to work with what he had in Tampa, and in the end, his defensive lines had 328.5 sacks while he was in Tampa, which led the league during his span, thats awesome, especially with only 2 special players to work with, and Marinelli only had Rice for 5 of the seasons while he was in Tampa.

Also, a couple players Marinelli "coached up" were Marcus Jones and Chidi Ahanotu, Jones had his best season under marinelli in 2000 when he had 13 sacks, 4th best in the NFC. Ahanotu had his best season under Marinelli in 97 with 10 sacks. Now, neither one of these guys was special, but Marinelli still got them to produce, as a coach thats all you can do. The fact neither one of these guys had the talent of a Simeon Rice was not Marinelli's fault, again, the coach can only do so much, in the end, its on the player, either he can or cannot play at a certain level.

Bottom line, its not Marinelli fault the defensive ends the Bucs drafted weren't top notch players, like I keep saying, a player is either good or not, a coach can only do so much. When Marinelli was given a special player, like a Sapp or a Rice, he got them to play at a high level. When Matinelli was given sub par talent like a Marcus Jones, Regan Upshaw, Chidi Ahanotu, and Greg Spires to name a few, Marinelli's defensive line still produced, 328.5 sacks, the most by any defensive line in the league while Marinelli was in Tampa. Marinelli knows the system the Bears run, he is a proven defensive line coach, and he gets the best out of the players he coaches, I see nothing wrong with this hire. Oh yeah DC of DC, I see we both agree on William Moore the safety out of Missouri, I also hope the Bears can land him on draft day.

Creighton, Tommie Harris got better as the year went on, I think as the knee got better, the better his play got. You think he is done, I think he will be fine, we will have to wait and see. If not, Angelo brought in Marcus Harrison for a reason, he could step in and be our 3 technique if needed, so it isn't like the Bears don't have a backup plan. Also, players like Anthony Adams, Alex Brown and Ogunleye aren't as bad as you think, Marinelli should only help their play, not hurt it. And one last thing Creighton, of course Rice, Sapp, Randall, and Freeney would be the best possible front you could have to run the Bears scheme, but the fact Marinelli did it with only one of the players, and then 2 after 2001, proves Marinelli is a good coach, and can produce with only 1 or 2 special players, 328.5 sacks during his span in Tampa. The players you named were special from day one, and of course they would make any coach look good, thats my point, a coach cannot make a player special, either they are or they aren't. The fact Marinelli's defensive line produced 328.5 sacks [which led NFL during his span in Tampa] proves he gets the most from his players because he didn't have that d-line from hell that you mentioned. Marinelli did it with one special player Sapp, then 2 from 2001 and on, I say give the guy a chance GO BEARS!!

Kevin thats not true, the Bucs may have had 328.5 sacks, but the line didn't. Having two special players on a front four is a big deal Kevin. Name all the front fours in the NFL that have a HOF and one of the two best pass rushers in the NFL during that time. First when you take a guy in the first round Kevin you expect him to be special. He worked with 4 first round ends 3 were considered busts and the 4th came to the team as a free agent Pro bowler.

In 1996 the front 4 accounted for 24 sacks, 9 by Sapp. 24 from 6 total players.

In 1997 it jummped to 41.5 Culpepper and Sapp acoount for 19 of the Sacks. This is also when Sapp began to draw constant double teams, freeing up Culpepper more often. Ahanotu collected ten this will be the only year in his career he approaches double figures even though he is on the Bucs for years after this with Rod.

In 1998 he gets 28 from the same group. Kinda of a drop for a genius. Culpepper leads the team with 9. Sapp was not very motivated this year.

1999 the line had 36 sacks between 7 players, Sapp had 12.5 of those. Wow look he had a good year and the same exact line got better. This year he was in better shape. At this point and time there are currently 5 first round picks working on the front four Including 3 ends and DT's.

2000 Sapp has a monster year with 16.5 sacks Ahanotu got moved to the other side of the line and say his production drop to 3.5, Jones started next to Sapp and saw his stats sky rocket too 13 sacks. The line got 43.5 sacks this year. But guess what happens when Jones isn;t playing next to Sapp next year? Yeah he moves to the other side and we see his production fall. In fact the people playing next to Sapp always see there game improve.

So his first 5 years see his line gets 173 sacks. Thats 34.6 Sacks a year average between 5 first round draft picks and few other guys.

2001 Enter the Rice. The line only get 23.5 sacks this year. Sapp has an all Pro year but only records Six sacks. Jones has only 3 and McFarland has only 3.5.

2002 35 Sacks this year, Rice has 15.5 of them.

2003 28 Sacks Sapp has only five Sacks. Good by Warren Sapp.

2004 32.5 Sacks this year Rice has another good year with 12.

2005 the line has 25 sacks this year, Rice had 14.

That is 317 sacks for the line, but Kevin you can see wit hthe Decline of Sapp the the line even with Rice did not perform nearly as well.

Now Kevin you say Rod can do this if he has just two special players. Can you name the two guy on our team that are as good as Sapp and Rice in there prime. Cause all those first round picks he was given didn't amount to much. If not for Sapp there is no great Tampa Bay defense. In fact no Tampa 2 defense has ever come close to being as good as the one Sapp was on in his prime.

As for my line from hell, that is actually the perfect front four for a Tampa 2. Like I said that is why they kept putting first round draft picks into the defensive front four in Tampa. The were trying to get 4 super players. They had two. We have never even had one. Only Harris came close and I am sorry but he is not Warren Sapp. Even if he is healthy are players are not good enough. It suppose to be a chain with 4 really strong links.

Kevin I already said I was going to give the guy a chance, but it's with a question mark. Lets see how well he does with out the HOF DT or Pro Bowl DE. Right now he has Goon, Harris, Dusty, Brown. Not elite, not even close. By the way the front four for the Bears in 2006 recorded 36 sacks, 28 in 07, 22.5 this year. It's just a defense in decline is all. Harris has a bum leg, goon is gonna be 32, Brown is decent but thats it, and our NT situation is a bit of a mess.

I am not rooting against the Guy, I hope he does well, but we do not have the talent of that young Buc team had and we are a bit older.

Now unless someone shows me all his great work he did without Sapp and Rice, like how many sacks and what kind of careers did his other guys have that the team drafted for him, and remember one thing, it was the same guy doing the drafting as now.

Kevin like you said he got the talented guys to produce. Problem is we don't have very talented guys. Do you remember why we got Goon Kevin? Cause we needed help with our pass rush and Angelo couldn't find the talent in the draft. Guess what our problem still is? The Bears need an Elite front 4 to work this defense properly and we do not have it and Rod is not going to motivate them into being good. Without a healthy Harris Goon is nothing.

This is one of the reasons I hate this defense, it's expensive and difficult to put together and requires a ton of talent to make it work well plus it's limited in what it can do and god forbid you don't play in warm weather or a dome.

To Creighton and Da Church.....Blah,blah,blah,blah,blah...you two must have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome...please, keep it short!!!

all accounts that i have heard about the sack totals in tampa where from the line...no the defense as a whole...so im not sure what you guys are talking about

the real issue here is that the needle is pointing up...no longer have the bears relied on college coaches because they are better "teachers"...we have about 25 yrs of nfl experience in position coaches which is a big jump from the less than 10 we had b4...

all people see is lovie hiring his "friend" and all i see a coach hiring the best avaliable at his position...

no one question gary kubiak when he got alex gibbs on his staff...no one claimed nepotism...no one claimed he just hired him because he was his "friend"

everyone applauded the move because he was the best at what he did...which was teach zone blocking...

im not sure how this situation is any different...

who would you have gotten instead? without being able to answer that question then your arguements against marinelli as invalid and without base

You guys still suck!!!!!!!!

I have to agree that even if your stats are totally true (which I feel they are) Tommie Harris most definitly needs motivated not developed. Same thing with OG, (who needs to be govated)
Rod was probably? the best available for that position Coach as who we had before was the worst.
Now maybe Harrison needs developed but maybe Warren (who has tons of experience in that department) can help develope all the linemen, I see this as a 1-2 punch with Rod/Warren both as Dline motivator/developer
And to get Sapp as a side deal is icing, I don't feel we would have gotten Sapp w/o Rod,
The only thing I want is for Babich to be demoted to LB Coach and I would want Rod to be DC as he has to be better than what we had before there as well.
We need a leader on this Defense bad, who will step up? Maybe Tommie Harris after Warren shows hom how to speak out. lol

Sure it would be nice to get someone that is tops at that position, but addition by subtraction in the Bears case is even good.
Alright enough positive from me for awhile, thats about all the positive I have.

no marinelli as DC...i take into consideration he had lackluster talent there in detroit...but by his own self admission he was for all intents and purposes the DC...and wasnt a good look for him...

ill def. pass on that for the bears...he needs to stick to whats hes good at...and thats the DL

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on January 18, 2009 9:08 AM.

Peppers looking to bolt Carolina; beware buying a pass rusher was the previous entry in this blog.

Angelo on a Mike Brown return: "I don't see that right now" is the next entry in this blog.

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