AFC South: Matt Burke
Detroit coach Jim Schwartz has officially taken one Tennessee assistant with him from Music City to the Motor City.
Matt Burke, who was a defensive assistant/quality control coach for the Titans for the past three seasons and had been with the franchise since 2004, is now Detroit's linebackers coach.
Burke, 32, worked under Schwartz in Nashville and fits in well with his new boss' smart mentality. Burke played at Dartmouth and worked at Boston College and Harvard before he joined Jeff Fisher's staff.
The Titans recently gave Detroit permission to interview Burke, paving the way for him to accept the promotion.
Titans quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson is a candidate to be Raheem Morris' offensive coordinator with the Buccaneers, according to a report from Jim Wyatt.
Also, Wyatt reports the Detroit Lions have asked for permission to talk to Titans defensive assistant/quality control coach Matt Burke. Burke has worked under Schwartz in Tennessee for the last five seasons.
Jim Schwartz is taking over in Detroit. Jeff Fisher is in the market for a defensive coordinator. Gregg Williams just joined the Saints.
|Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US Presswire|
|Jim Schwartz spent eight seasons as defensive coordinator in Nashville.|
I expect Fisher to promote secondary coach Chuck Cecil or linebackers coach Dave McGinnis, then hire a new position coach. If Cecil gets promoted, Fisher could promote assistant secondary coach Marcus Robertson to Cecil's old spot and then have room to hire an extra assistant in the defensive backfield, or where he sees fit.
It will be difficult for Schwartz to take many friends from Fisher's staff with him. Young defensive assistant Matt Burke could have a good opportunity. Robertson could get an offer. But like the rest of the staff, those guys have a lot of loyalty to Fisher and a lot of security as part of his staff.
He's got an economics degree from Georgetown and is good with stats and trends. I wrote a piece about his ties to "Moneyball" thinking for football back when I was at The Tennessean. (No archive link to be found, sorry.) But it's a mistake to cast him as strictly a stat guy, or as someone who's more about numbers than people.
Schwartz is a bright guy who can do well. With the big office comes more scrutiny. I think he'll need to work to make sure people don't think he thinks he's the smartest guy in the room, even though he might be. I think he will have to shrug off criticisms and not take things personally. I think he needs to hire a couple of assistants who are fiery guys, because while he's intense, he's probably not a motivator in that sense.
He will put people in position to succeed and he will explain why that's the right spot to be. I don't think he takes the job if he doesn't feel like he's been given enough leeway and power to turn things around.
One Detroit writer said recently that smart is a good direction for the Lions, as they've been anything but for a long time.
They got their guy.
I join the Titans in wishing him well
[Updated 6:04 p.m.]
Jeff Fisher's statement:
"It is rare in this league to get to spend 10 years with an assistant coach as we have with Jim. In his eight years as our defensive coordinator, Jim has clearly put his stamp on that side of the ball. He is competitive, a tremendous communicator and motivator and in our opinion he has been ready for this next step for several years. I want to congratulate the Lions for hiring the right guy and he will be missed here in Tennessee.
As for our next defensive coordinator, we will take our time as far as replacing Jim, but that process has already begun."