Matt Nagy is turning back the clock as his fills out his coaching staff.
With Offensive Line Coach Harry Heistand officially in the books and Running Backs Coach Charles London – a pair of former Lovie Smith assistants – reportedly on the way, the Chicago Tribune reports Chris Tabor is expected to become the Chicago Bears’ next special teams coach.
Tabor has served in that capacity for the Cleveland Browns since 2011, and believe it or not, has been the leader of what has been considered a strength for Cleveland.
Since arriving in Cleveland with Pat Shurmur in 2011, the Tabor-led Browns special teams unit has ranked second in the NFL in punt return average, eighth in total kick return yards, and have allowed the ninth fewest total return yards.
And get this: from 2011 until 2016, Cleveland was the only team to have a player earn at least one AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award in each season. That’s six consecutive seasons with at least one special teams standout producing an award-winning performance each year. And the Browns were the only team to pull that off? That’s special.
Unfortunately, that streak came to an end in 2017 when the team posted an 0-16 season.
Long-time Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly weighed in on the potential signing:
Chris Tabor is the real deal. One of my favorite coaches I ever played for. He coached thru 5 GM’s and 4 head coaches in Cleveland. They wouldn’t let him go. #Bears are lucky to get him.
— Patrick Mannelly (@PatrickMannelly) January 11, 2018
Mannelly is familiar with Tabor because he worked under Dave Toub from 2008 until 2010 as an assistant. Tabour isn’t Toub, but he’s a respected special teams coach who did some good work with the bottom third of the Browns roster and coaching them up to be a well-performing unit.
Special teams hasn’t been a strength for the Bears since Toub left town, so getting one of his disciples isn’t a bad way to go about trying to recapture the magic. We can only hope Tabor can help get the most out of Pro Bowl alternate return ace Tarik Cohen and the rest of the group.