Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke and the Dolphins

Right off the bat, let me state that I don’t know Matt Burke personally.   I also don’t know much about his body of work and accomplishments, mostly because he’s never had a prominent role that can be assessed.    But just because we know so little about the man and what he brings to the table, doesn’t mean we can’t question certain aspects of his hiring.

My first concern is the hiring process.  I’m a huge believer in taking your time and hiring the very best person available.  Not just the best person on your 30th-ranked defensive staff, but the best person in the world.

When Zac Taylor was named quarterbacks coach of the Dolphins a few years ago, for example, it was clear that he only got the job because he was Mike Sherman’s son-in-law.    I often wondered, aloud in many forums, just who the other candidates were.  How many people did Zac prove himself better than?   Obviously there was no one else.   They didn’t even try.   Out of all the qualified offensive-minded, experienced coaches languishing on other NFL staffs and in D-1 schools, we selected Sherman’s son-in-law, who played some college ball for a community school in Kansas.  With such an outstanding QB coach, no wonder Ryan Tannehill was so slow to develop.

This is what happens when you make a selection from a limited pool.  When you just grab someone without interviewing anyone else.   When you don’t even try.

It’s not a bad move to turn a linebackers coach into a Defensive Coordinator.   It’s a natural progression and a promotion that many LB coaches deserve.  But Matt Burke?   The man who coached the Dolphins LBs into the laughing-stock of the NFL?  The man who contributed to a defense ranked 31st?  Why him?

Why not grab a LB coach from another team?  Why not, Joey Porter, for example.  If Joey can stop beating up policemen, then he’s the perfect tenacious candidate that we need.  Or whoever the LB coach is for one of the league’s good defenses?  I have no idea who the linebacker coach or Denver or Seattle or Baltimore or Arizona is, but would it hurt to at least give at least ONE of these guys an interview?

Hiring someone whose squad was outstanding makes far more sense than hiring an under-performer, doesn’t it?   Or at least giving someone else an about that?

The argument can be made that Burke knows our defense better than an outsider.  He knows our personnel better.  True.  But that same personnel was ranked next to last in so many categories.  That personnel gave up more yards than any other Dolphin defense in history.

You don’t want some new sheriff coming to town to tamper with success.   But tampering with failure?  In that case a brand new sheriff is needed, and that should be welcomed.

And promoting a man who was a part of that failure?   In some ways, that is worse than promoting the son-in-law of one of your coaches.  At least Zac Taylor had no experience to put on his resume.   Matt Burke’s experience and results are bad experience and results.

If Matt Burke goes on to be the best DC in history, then I will still stand by this article and still defend my views.  Because just giving away a prestigious job to someone while ignoring so many, many other qualified candidates makes no sense.  We’ve been down that road before, and the (lack of) results speak for themselves.

As usual, I hope I am wrong about Burke, but until I’m proven wrong, this seems like a hiring of convenience, rather than a comprehensive hiring process to obtain the very best of the best.

Your thoughts on this alleged interview/hiring process?

Share Button


  1. Apparently from what I’ve read in December the Dolphins did wanted to move Kiko to an outside linebacker and play Mike Hull in the middle. They didn’t because they thought it was too late in the season to make Kiko change positions and mess him up.

    1. Author

      Only the Dolphins think that way. “We can’t afford to risk messing up Kiko because everything is going so fantastic.”
      Why not say, “We are giving up 30+ points a game…so you bet your ass we’re gonna risk messing something up.”

  2. Steve Ross has always made terrible hires. Just part of the reason his team has lanquished.

    1. Author

      I’m all for an owner butting out and allowing his coaches to choose a staff. BUT….when the team’s coaches consistently hand promotions to undeserving underlings PLUS refuse to at least interview anyone new….then I feel it’s acceptable for Mr. Ross to step in and say, “Uhhhhh, let’s talk about this.”

  3. @admin

    BTW where do you get that our D was ranked 30th? Do you have a link for that or is it an exaggeration? Every ranking I saw had our O ranked as bad or WORSE than the D!!!

    Isnt the O a bigger problem?

    1. Author

      Well, the database has us overall at 29th overall,.
      It also shows us at #30 vs. the run, and barely 29th (closer to 30th) against the pass. I formed a consensus of those numbers and came up with 30th. By the way, in December and January when it counted most., we were 32nd.
      On offense, we were in the middle of the pack for most categories, and in the Top 10 for others (such as total rushing yards). I’m not saying the offense was perfect, but the numbers say our defense was comparitively very worse than the O

    2. @Jay

      Typical jackass comment…… our offense sucks we need a franchise QB!

      Ummmm….. no snowflake our offense didn’t compleatly suck this year. When it mattered most our franchise QB wasn’t playing, it was YOUR franchise QB Matt Moore playing and handing the ball off to the other team left and right so maybe with those crappy stats added in you think the offense sucked.

      If you were intellectually honest for a moment (which Jay is incapable of) if you take out the first four games our offense was on the better half of the league. Even without those games our defense was close to worst.

      So get over yourself snowflake Jay….. your just always wrong!

      1. Matt Moore playing and handing the ball off to the other team left and right

  4. @Admin

    I agree with you so much I made a long comment about this two weeks ago!

    Your so right about shermans son being a better hire then a proven loser. I mean at lest hire an assistant for him who HAS experience!

    But no ……. not the Dolphins.

  5. Well, the Dolphin passing attack was 29th in the league with TannePuke!!!

    1. @Snowflake Jay

      Heres some truth that will send you crying back to your safe space.

      TannePuke was 12th overall in passer rating and eighth in yards per attempt this year and that includes the 4 QBs still playing who are all having monster years!

      That said this is the first year under that rediculous contract that we can get rid of Tannehill. However given the fact that there are certainly a ton of worse QB in the NFL who would you get rid of him for?

      What free agent is out there better then Tannehill?

      Romo? Mark Sanchez? Geno Smith? Kirk Cousins (Who will want more than Tannehill will make)? Ryan Fitzpatrick? Case Keenum?

      oh I know who Jay will like…. E.J. Manuel!!!!!!!!!

      or Brian Hoyer either one would be all pro 1st ballet HOF Qb’s right Jay?

      After those guys the list get real exciting

      Ryan Mallett
      Dan Orlovsky
      Christian Ponder
      Landry Jones
      Austin Davis

      So ummmm Jay who are you picking or do we give away all our draft picks to move up and draft a QB around the 7ths spot?

      And who would that guy be and what then do we do about all the needs on defense?

      BTW I doubt any of those guys named above are better options then Tannehill.

      1. The QB in Buffalo named after an automobile suspension part.

  6. @Admin

    Compleatly unrelated but I thought this comment, in connection with Defensive MVP was really interesting

    Mike Reiss, New England Patriots reporter: My vote goes to Wake. One stat stands out: When Wake has at least half a sack, the Dolphins were 10-0. When Wake is held without a sack, the Dolphins were 0-6.

  7. So……if the O and the D were both ranked 28th……

    how the heck did we get in the playoffs?? LOL

    1. @Jay

      Why don’t you think about that question for more than 2 seconds and maybe you can formulate a meaningful response that you can share with the rest of us unlike the majority of your dribble!

      The answer isn’t all that complicated for most people!

      1. @ Brian M

        Why don’t u get an education?……then come back and blog!

        1. @Snowflake

          ……….. and this is why nobody takes you seriously. Well that and the rest of your stupid comments.

  8. This hiring of Burke seems just like a knee-jerk hiring to me. We’re there really no other candidates available? I think one of the reasons why Vance got the Denver gig was his “likeability” amongst players. I believe he had that in Miami as well. Maybe it’s not all about x’s and o’s? I just hope that Burke does better for us than Vance, stressing the word hope.

    1. Author

      Even after I wrote yesterday’s blog on Matt Burke’s hiring, I’m still thinking more and more that this was an unwise and rushed move. As we mentioned last week, so many other qualified guys like Rex Ryan are out there. Guys who have devoted their lives to the entire defensive side of the ball and who know more about football than Matt Burke ever will. Instead, we rushed to promote a guy with zero accomplishments.

      1. Agreed. Will this end as another Miami debacle? I don’t think it can be any worse. I’m not a stats guy but were better or worse with Coyle? I remember thinking it couldn’t get any worse with him. Again I stress the word hope.

        1. Author

          Sean, this defense was way worse than anything Coyle ever gave us. Remember, this defense gave up more yardage than any Dolphin D in history. Coyle was never that bad. Coyle orchestrated a shutout. Coyle never let us rank 30th against run and 29th against pass. That was all Vance Joseph and Matt Burke

          1. Say anything you want about Coyle but he knew how to blitz and did it well

  9. Vance Joseph was the defensive backs coach for Cincinnati before taking on his first time defensive coordinator position with us. I question Vance’s qualifications at that time as well and while he didn’t do so well in his first year with us I think we can all agree he didn’t exactly have the best tools to work with. So hiring a linebackers coach for his first time defensive coordinator position to me isn’t that big of a stretch although I do agree I think he should have at least interviewed some people. Case coming in was also a first-time head coach and I believe during that time we were all asking for them to bring in somebody with experience. So I hope that the sky isnt falling and with some good drafts we can field a pretty good defense but we really need to clean up our linebackers and secondary

    1. @Phinsup

      I understand you position and I am hopeful as well that they sky isn’t falling and that Gase knew last year that he was hiring Vance for 1 maybe 2 seasons and put Burk in the position he did knowing he would be promoting him to DC eventually.

      Actually thats the ONLY way this makes any sense to me at all.


      The other side of that coin is that we have seen this all to often. Were the proving ground for unproven, inexperienced players and coaches.

      To me it would have been nice to have at lest talked with some experienced guys out there who are looking for a DC job and Rex Ryan would have been first on my list.

      What would it have hurt to bring him in and talk with him?

      1. Author

        Or Wade Phillips. We’re CONSTANTLY getting coaches with no experience at the positions they’re hired to take over. And our record shows it.

    1. Author

      Yeah, and this guy Bush has coached LBs on 5 different teams, never once receiving a promotion. A real winner!

  10. @Admin

    I am now Officially Rooting for NE to win the SB!

    I can’t stand the petty, discriminating NFL!

    To me this is further proof that the broadcasts like NFL network and ESPN along with the Refs do the bidding of the petty NFL commissioner.

    Miami has a 6 game winning streak and almost NO MENTION of it at ESPN and NFL NETwork.

    Miami makes the playoffs and almost NO MENTION of it at ESPN and NFL NETwork.

    Goodell has had a boner for Miami for a decade, why? I don’t know maybe Marino stole his NY whore one year but for whatever reason the networks and the refs turn a blind eye to Miami.

    For that reason alone I want to see the commissioner’s face as he hands the trophy to Brady and then Tom uses it to give him the middle finger!

    To me that’s worth rooting for NE!

    1. Author

      What a crazy commercial! How could they skip Brady?

    2. Looks like the NFL made him pull the video down!

    3. You simply can’t cheer for those pricks no matter the circumstances. I’m going Atlanta and I think they have a chance as that offence is pretty good although you never know.

  11. Like I said before,Gus Bradly.

    1. Yep Gus or Wade would have been great hires. I’m not too big on “Wrecks” Ryan, but his defensive resume’ speaks for itself. I agree Miami has become the testing ground for the untested and unproven. Do you guys think this is a template created by Ross?

      1. Well, Ross always looks for the cheapest coaches money can buy!

        Then he wonders why his team is terrible!! LOL

      2. Agreed. Why spend money from this huge cash cow,known as the Dolphins?

  12. I’m guessing that those other guys declined. Wade Phillips seems like the best bet but maybe he wanted LA. Rams D is better set for success too. Face it Fins D will be a challenge next year lots of work and they need a lot of things to fall right in FA and the draft. Not saying that it can’t happen but it will be tough.

    1. That is a very good article and makes a strong case about an owners presence in the locker room translates to winning on game day. My guess is Joe Robbie was that kind of owner too. Funny how both Hogan and Ninkovich were interviewed for this article.

      1. Author

        Stephen Ross lives in New York City. He rarely involves himself in the Dolphins affairs, except when it’s for publicity like making Gloria Estefan a co-owner. He is nads-off and lives far awat, and the Doilphins are his third-favorite team. Dolphins players, coaches, and management knows this. Philbin knew for years that he could be a mediocre coach and still make millions a year, because Mr. Ross simply wasn’t around to be accountable. It’s not rocket science. When YOUR boss is not at work, do you guys work harder, or slack a little? We all know the answer. An absent boss means no accountability. And that is the sad culture that Mr. Ross accepts for the team

  13. Well, the difference is that Kraft doesn’t meddle with Belichick there.

    Ross meddles way too much.

    1. @Jay

      Where is the proof of that statement? From all reports Ross doesn’t interfere at all with the coaches….. hell he isn’t in Davie enough to interfere!

    1. @sean

      I saw this but really who wouldn’t expect this? I blame the Steelers for staying anywhere near NE. I think in years past haven’t teams stayed well away for these types of things?

      1. Yeah they should have seen it coming. I think it happened to the Dolphins in Buffalo as well. I guess I like taking jabs at the Patsies, and their fans, whenever possible. 😃

Leave a Reply