The Chicago Bears have boasted some of the best special teams units over the last decade, and possessing a weapon as dangerous as Devin Hester certainly helped matters. Robbie Gould and his 85 percent career field goal accuracy also buoyed the Bears’ specialists en route to numerous NFL records. However, despite the individual player accolades, one man deserves credit for the success, and that man is the now deposed Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub. Toub, now a Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach, left the Bears organization on the heels of Lovie Smith’s termination. The Bears then brought in Joe DeCamillis, who served as a Special Teams Coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys from 2009 until 2012. Some might remember coach DeCamillis as the man who was severely injured at the Cowboys’ training facility when a storm abruptly destroyed ravaged the complex.
DeCamillis, now in good health by all accounts, has brought his unique coaching style to the Bears, in hopes of maintaining the super special teams play. Until this point, however, the special team unit has left much to be desired in all phases of the kicking and coverage games. Two major errors were committed during the Bears’ Week 4 loss to the Detroit Lions. First, DeCamillis chose to angle punts away from returner Micheal Spurlock, rather than kick right at him and let the coverage hunt him down. Spurlock is a diminutive return specialist, void of any true talent when compared to some of the better returnmen in the league. The peculiar strategy lead to great field position for the Lions throughout the game. It’s one thing to kick away from the likes of Randall Cobb or Cordarrelle Patterson, returners who have proven they’re worth their weight in yardage gold, but DeCamillis chose to play it safe instead.
DeCamillis and company also ran a head-scratching return play in which Hester abandoned his position 40 yards down field, and instead approached the line of scrimmage (but did not attempt to block the punt) as Eric Weems retreated to field the punt inside the five yard line. TNow the ball bounced into the end zone for a touchback, but the play remains inexplicable. If the Bears want any shot at making a run at the playoffs, they need to get better on special teams.
Sometimes change is good, but in this case, the addition of DeCamillis and the subtraction of Toub has placed the Bears in a precarious situation.