With reports that up to five different teams will be interviewing Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph for their open head coaching positions in the coming days, word is Miami already has his replacement in line should Vance leave. That replacement is current Miami Dolphins linebackers coach Matt Burke.
Matt Burke played safety in college at Dartmouth and after his career as a player began a career in coaching at Bridgton Academy, Boston College, and Harvard. After his coaching stint at Harvard Burke got his big break when he was hired by the Tennessee Titans as an administrative assistant and defensive assistant. From there he went to Detroit and Cincinnati for a few years before landing in Miami last offseason.
Now that the resume portion of his career is out of the way let’s get to the meat and potatoes of Matt Burke and why I believe he would be a great choice as the next Dolphins defensive coordinator (should Vance Joseph leave.) The main reason is continuity for the players and staff. I know, I know many of you are saying the Dolphins defense wasn’t any good in 2016 but people, please use a little common sense. Miami lost Koa Misi before September was over, lost Reshad Jones in early October, starting cornerback Xavien Howard missed pretty much all of training camp then got injured early in the year missing most of the season, Byron Maxwell just when he started playing well at the end of the year got injured and missed most of December, and oh yeah Issa Abdul-Quddus was also lost for the home stretch in December with a neck injury. If that wasn’t enough, one of the few bright spots on defense, Kiko Alonso, breaks his thumb and is playing the last month of the year with one hand essentially. You could dig up every great defensive coach in NFL history and they wouldn’t have had success with this Dolphins defense this year. Miami had starters on the defensive line but the back seven was a second string unit for the most part let’s just call it what it was.
So let’s not blame any of the coaches, Vance Joseph or any Dolphins defensive coach, for the performance of the Dolphins defense in 2016. They tried making chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what for most of the year with an injured unit filled with 2nd and 3rd stringers.
Continuity is big here in my opinion as the Dolphins defense was attacking, the players liked the defensive staff and said numerous times publicly that the coaches listened to them and took their ideas and implemented them when right. The Dolphins made a lot of progress in 2016 and the last thing they need to do is start from scratch over on defense with a new coordinator, new terminology, and a new mind-set. You would think Matt Burke would come in, keep most of everything the same, and just pick up and build off of what Miami did in 2016. Not to mention if Miami doesn’t promote Matt Burke there is a good chance that Vance Joseph should he get one of these head coaching openings will take Burke along with him to make him his defensive coordinator at his new job. Then Miami would be without two of their key and maybe most important defensive coaches and it truly is blowing it up and starting over on defense coaching wise and coaching staff wise.
That is the big reason why I like Matt Burke and why he should get the defensive coordinator position. Reason #2 is an easy one, the guy is smart and a hard worker. Graduated from Dartmouth with a degree in psychology and a masters in education from Boston College. Those are real colleges folks where you have to earn those type’s of degrees. This isn’t going to some mickey mouse school where they pass out degrees like bottles of water on a hot day. Not to mention Burke has learned from some great defensive coaches, like Jim Schwartz from his time in Detroit and Tennessee, from Marvin Lewis from his time in Cincinnati, and Jeff Fisher in Tennessee.
Sources to DolphinsTalk.com tell us that hard work and long hours aren’t anything new to Burke as he is one of the if not the hardest working assistant coaches on Miami’s staff.
Burke has put in the long hours and has worked his tail of to earn a promotion to defensive coordinator should he get one in Miami from Adam Gase this offseason. To me you combine his education and intellect, his experience and working his way up through the ranks, with the continuity he brings to this Dolphins defense and he is an easy choice of someone to promote to be the next Dolphins defensive coordinator.