The Chicago Bears signed Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub to a two-year contract.
The Bears special teams unit finished third in the NFL in 2011 based on a ranking system designed by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News and Chicago's special teams has now ranked in the top third of the league for eight straight seasons under Toub, including finishing No. 1 overall in 2006 and 2007 and in the top six in five of the last six seasons (fourth in 2010 and sixth in 2009).
In 2011, special teams gunner Corey Graham was named to his first Pro Bowl and is the eighth Pro Bowl selection by a Bears special teams player under Toub: KR Devin Hester (2006-07, '10), KR Johnny Knox (2009), ST Brendon Ayanbadejo (2006 and 2007) and K Robbie Gould (2006).
During Toub's tenure, the Bears have an NFL-high 22 kick return touchdowns compiled by six different players, which does not include two missed field goals returned for touchdowns or Hester's 92-yard kickoff return touchdown in Super Bowl XLI.
Toub has helped Hester develop into the NFL's all-time leader in kick return touchdowns (17) and the league's all-time leader in punt return average (12.9 yards per return). Since 2004, the Bears lead the NFL in punt return yards (3,810), punt return average (11.7), punt return touchdowns (15) and blocked kicks (22), while ranking second in punts landed inside the 20 (223), third in punt coverage (7.1 yards per return allowed) and tied for third in kickoff return touchdowns (seven).
Gould is the fifth most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history (85.8 percent) and his six field goals of 50-plus yards in 2011 are a franchise record, including a team-record 57-yarder.
In 2011, under Toub's tutelage, P Adam Podlesh and the Bears punt coverage unit set a franchise record with a 40.4 net punting average.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.