Matt Burke enters his third season with the Miami Dolphins and second as defensive coordinator after he was promoted on Jan. 12, 2017. Burke originally joined the staff as linebackers coach on Jan. 12, 2016.
In Burke’s first season as defensive coordinator in 2017, he helped the unit improve in several key categories. Miami’s total defense went from 29th in the league in 2016 to 16th in 2017, allowing 46.9 yards less per game. The Dolphins made significant improvements stopping the run, moving from 30th in the league to 14th by allowing 29.9 fewer rushing yards per game. Miami was 11th in third-down defense (36.9 percent) and did not allow New England to convert a third down for the first time in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era in the Dolphins’ win on Dec. 11. Safety Reshad Jones led all NFL safeties with 122 total tackles (94 solo), was the only NFL player with two fumble recoveries for touchdowns and earned a Pro Bowl selection. Defensive end Cameron Wake recorded 10.5 sacks, becoming the 12th player in NFL history (since 1982) and just the fourth in the previous 15 years (2003-17) to record double-digit sacks at the age of 35 or older.
With Burke overseeing the linebackers in 2016, the Dolphins won six consecutive games to bounce back after a 1-4 start. The six-game winning streak was the team’s longest since 2005. In Miami’s final 11 games, the team went 9-2 and a big part of its success was an opportunistic defense. Burke helped the team generate 21 turnovers during those 11 games, tied for fourth in the NFL during that span. It was the Dolphins’ most successful season since 2008, posting 10 wins and earning a playoff berth. Burke helped linebacker Kiko Alonso lead the team and finish ninth in the AFC with 115 tackles (69 solo). Alonso made several critical plays, including a game-winning 60-yard interception return at San Diego with 1:01 remaining. It was the latest game-winning interception return by the Dolphins since at least 1991. Alonso also became the first Dolphins linebacker since at least 1993 to intercept a pass and recover a fumble in the same game in Week 12 vs. San Francisco.
Prior to Miami, Burke spent the previous seven years as an NFL linebackers coach, working with the position group in Cincinnati (2014-15) and Detroit (2009-13). He also spent five years with the Tennessee Titans, where he served as an administrative assistant (2004-05) and defensive assistant/quality control coach (2006-08).
In 2015, the Bengals had the second-best scoring defense (17.4 points per game) in the NFL. The defense forced 28 turnovers, tied for sixth in the league. Linebacker Vincent Rey posted the two most productive seasons of his career under Burke, recording 95 stops (62 solo), one sack, one interception and five passes defensed in 2015. Thrust into a starting role due to injuries in 2014, Rey totaled a team-high 121 tackles (61 solo) and five passes defensed that season.
The Bengals missed middle linebacker Rey Maualuga during the first half of the 2014 season, but once he returned during the final seven games of the season, Cincinnati surrendered just 82.0 rushing yards per contest, the second-best mark in the NFL.
Burke came to Cincinnati from the Lions, where he spent five seasons as the linebackers coach. In 2013, he helped lead a Lions defense that ranked No. 6 in the NFL against the run. Linebacker DeAndre Levy was tied for second in the NFL in interceptions (6), becoming only the third linebacker in Lions history with six-plus interceptions and the first since 1958. The Lions held opponents to 30.3 percent on third downs, the lowest conversion rate in the league, and were second in red-zone touchdown percentage (38.1) in 2013. The defense went 37 straight quarters without allowing a rushing touchdown, breaking a club record from 1934. The Lions became the first NFL team since 1933 to allow 62 or fewer rushing yards in six consecutive games without allowing a rushing touchdown. In 2011, Detroit won 10 games and earned a playoff berth for the first time since 1999.
Burke spent five years (2004-08) with the Tennessee Titans as an administrative assistant and defensive assistant. He worked primarily with linebackers in 2008 when the Titans posted a 13-3 mark, the best record in the NFL and tied for the winningest season in franchise history. Burke also spent time coaching at Harvard (2003), Boston College (2002-03) and Bridgton Academy (1998-99) in Maine.
A native of Hudson, Massachusetts, Burke played safety at Dartmouth. He was part of an undefeated Ivy League championship team in 1996.
|1998-99||Bridgton Academy (North Bridgton, Maine)||Secondary Coach|
|2000-02||Boston College||Graduate Assistant|
|2003||Harvard||Assistant Secondary/Cornerbacks Coach|
|2004-08||Tennessee Titans||Administrative Assistant (2004-05)|
|Defensive Assistant/Quality Control Coach (2006-08)|
|2009-13||Detroit Lions||Linebackers Coach|
|2014-15||Cincinnati Bengals||Linebackers Coach|
|2016-present||Miami Dolphins||Linebackers Coach (2016)|
|Defensive Coordinator (2017-)|