Morning Stripes: Meeting Matt Burke

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
8:00
AM ET
Newest Cincinnati Bengals assistant Matt Burke spent little time getting acclimated with his new city before booking it out of town for a week on the much warmer Gulf Coast.

Just a day after being announced as the Bengals' new linebackers coach, the former Detroit Lions assistant was on a plane with the rest of Cincinnati's coaching staff, headed to Mobile, Ala., for the annual late-January Senior Bowl. On Monday, the entire crew joined representatives from the other 31 teams and watched the first day of practices ahead of Saturday's all-star game.

Apparently the quick transition has given Burke little time to get acclimated to tweaking his pronoun usage. While talking to Bengals.com earlier this week about his arrival to Cincinnati, Burke said that while he was at Detroit, he and other coaches there "looked at a lot of their film this year." He was referring to the Bengals. Then he must have caught himself because he rephrased: "I guess I should start saying, 'our film.'"

Unlike the two offseason hires previous to his, don't expect Burke to hold an introductory news conference when he finally gets back to Cincinnati. The comments he makes to those attending this week's Senior Bowl will be the way he introduces himself to Bengals fans.

Burke says his style of defense is aggressive, attacking and "up-tempo." He likes blitzing his linebackers and he likes using them in very much the same capacity new Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther did when he was in charge of linebackers, Burke added. So don't be surprised if the Bengals' linebackers next season -- all of whom, free agent Vincent Rey included, are expected to be back -- look a lot like what they did this past one.

We start this Tuesday edition of the Morning Stripes by taking a look at Burke, the latest piece on this rapidly evolving and shifting roster:
  • Here's the link to Geoff Hobson's Bengals.com article on Burke. Included are quick notes on the offensive line. Among them is a note saying that offensive line coach Paul Alexander has yet to determine exactly what will happen with the left tackle and left guard positions next season. The Bengals would like to make a pitch to re-sign Anthony Collins, and aren't yet sure whether they will keep Pro Bowl tackle Andrew Whitworth at guard since their original left guard, Clint Boling, likely won't be healed from his ACL tear by the start of next season. After Boling's December injury, Whitworth moved inside and Collins came off the bench to take his spot at left tackle.
  • As you can tell, Bengals.com is in Mobile. ESPN.com also has several reporters there, but representing other teams and other draft-specific reporting angles. Here is an item from Bengals.com on what to expect in coastal Alabama this week as the Bengals, like so many teams, look to find a draft-worthy gem among those competing.
  • Before assuming full head-coaching duties with the Minnesota Vikings this week, former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer issued a letter to the city of Cincinnati and the team's fans. The Cincinnati Enquirer published the letter online Monday. For the past six seasons, Zimmer coached the Bengals' defense and became a beloved member of the community. He wanted to express his gratitude.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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