Rams vs. Chiefs: Dave Toub is worried about fake plays on special teams
By Matt Conner
Dave Toub spoke to the media on Friday and said the Los Angeles Rams special teams are “risk-takers” who run a lot of fake plays.
The Kansas City Chiefs are well-known around the National Football League for their excellence in special teams play. Ever since Dave Toub joined the franchise six seasons ago with the hiring of Andy Reid as head coach, the Chiefs have played nearly mistake-free football in coverage units and have threatened with incredible return options.
It helps, of course, when the Chiefs employ the NFL’s fastest player in Tyreek Hill, but remember that Dave Toub has done an incredible job with others like Knile Davis and De’Anthony Thomas. Tremon Smith, this year’s rookie cornerback pick in the sixth round, even ran one back in recent weeks for 97 yards. Toub’s schemes and coaching help the talent on the roster to thrive.
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But to hear Toub tell it, the Chiefs are also going to have their own hands full when they play the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football. The Rams are known for their potent offense and tough defense, especially up front, but their special teams is also worrisome for Toub. When asked about reporters, he had very high praise for the Rams counterpart.
"They are very well coached, risk-takers and they [run] a lot of fakes – like one every two games it seems like. They are not afraid to call stuff in different situations. We really, really have to be on our Ps and Qs. We have our hands full this week. They are good in every facet. They are a great unit and very highly ranked in every phase."
If you check out special teams rankings at Football Outsiders, the Rams are currently ranked at No. 11 or 12 overall according to various metrics—numbers which certainly places them in the top half of the NFL. In the return game, FO ranks the Rams at No. 6 in kick returns and No. 4 in punt returns. The Rams do rank fourth overall statistically with 12.9 yards/return on punts (the Chiefs average 13.9 and are third overall).
It will be interesting to see if the Rams try to pull off a fake punt or some other trick play on the Chiefs. Most teams have to maximize each offensive possession and giving the Chiefs the chance to capitalize on great field position could come back to bite them. Then again, the Rams are as dangerous as the Chiefs at every level, so this should be a great battle, even down to special teams units.