It was a surprise on Sunday night to hear Peter King say that Cowboys special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis will be a candidate for the head-coaching job in Jacksonville. It was a shock on Monday to see reports that the Dolphins will interview Bears special-teams coordinator Dave Toub.
Rarely do special-teams coaches even get opportunities to become head coaches. Even more rarely are they hired.
DeCamillis and Toub — and any other special-teams coach who gets considered for a head-coaching job — can thank Ravens coach John Harbaugh for the elevated status of the position. Harbaugh served as the Eagles’ special-teams coordinator for nine years before one season as defensive backs coach.
Special-teams coordinators have experience bringing together players from offense and defense, since those are the players who fill out the various special teams (punt, punt return, kickoff, kick return, field goal, extra point). Unlike a former offensive or defensive coordinator, who often gravitates to one side of the ball and delegates the other to his coordinator, a special-teams coach delegates to both coordinators, but also keeps his hand in the pot on both sides of the ball.
It has worked very well in Baltimore, where Harbaugh has led the Ravens to four straight playoff appearances, the longest current streak of any NFL team.
With a home game in the division round and a team that plays well on the road (if only when playing good/great teams on the road), Harbaugh could soon be leading the Ravens back to the Super Bowl.
Which would make special-teams coaches even more desirable as candidates for head-coaching jobs.