Will Matt Burke be Philadelphia Eagles next defensive coordinator?

Matt Burke (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Matt Burke (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Do the Philadelphia Eagles already have their next defensive coordinator?

Change is coming. Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is not expected to return in 2020. After his contract expires on Sunday, he plans to take a year off and contemplate retirement according to Tom Pelissero. Changes were expected to be made this offseason but not many fans saw the first change coming on the defensive side of the ball.

This comes after an embarrassing defensive showing versus the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16. Schwartz left Michael Jacquet on an island for quite a while and we know how that worked out. No one will forget Chase Claypool’s fourth touchdown to seal the deal in Week 5 with Nathan Gerry in coverage. Schwartz’s mistakes often loomed largely.

Overall, he was still a top half defensive coordinator in the league. It’s not going to be an easy replacement. Benjamin Solak talked about this in his piece on Schwartz:

"After finishing with the 4th and 5th ranked defenses in his first two seasons by DVOA, Schwartz’s defenses have ranked 15th, 12th, and 17th over the last three seasons."

While that might appear to be an alarming decline, fans should also consider how little this team has invested on the defensive side of the ball. General manager Howie Roseman did not bring in much help at linebacker last offseason and passed on Jeremy Chinn in Round 2 who would’ve been an excellent replacement for Malcolm Jenkins.

At the same time, there is no excuse for Schwartz playing guys like Gerry over Alex Singleton and Marcus Epps over K’Von Wallace. Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, and L.J. Fort have all had much more success in different defenses than they did here. Jones is a bit more excusable because of his injury history. The point is that the blame is shared here.

Roseman isn’t the one who loved to call sticks defense. Schwartz was the one who didn’t disguise his looks well enough, expected to win with a basic four-man rush every time, and didn’t adjust quick enough when offenses continued to attack points of weakness.

Is Matt Burke going to be the next Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator?

NJ.com reporter Mike Kaye believes Eagles defensive line coach Matt Burke is a potential candidate to replace Schwartz:

The Eagles prioritize winning in the trenches. It’s why they have so much money invested in the defensive line. They’ll likely want someone who shares the same perspective and that could very well be Burke. From 2017-2018, Burke was the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins. They struggled mightily under him ranking 29th in 2017 and 27th in 2018 in points allowed. Keep in mind, the Dolphins had talent in the building such as Minkah Fitzpatrick, Xavien Howard, and Robert Quinn.

Head coach Adam Gase certainly didn’t help out the defense. His offense couldn’t stay on the field. Under Gase in those two seasons, the Dolphins were 32nd and 31st in third-down percentage. Knowing that it should come as no surprise that Miami ranked 22nd and 30th in average time of possession in those seasons as well.

He won’t be getting much help from the Eagles offense. Maybe after a mini makeover this offseason, that will be different but don’t get your hopes up. Burke’s defensive line has collected 46 sacks (fourth), 144 pressures (tenth), and 49 quarterback knockdowns (ninth). The Eagles tend to fill coaching voids internally like they did when they promoted Mike Groh to offensive coordinator a few years ago and Press Taylor to quarterbacks coach. Burke will certainly be one of their top candidates.

While many fans wanted Schwartz gone, they might be complaining about Burke as well. While there is some potential there, his short tenure in Miami is alarming regardless of the offense’s struggles.

Trending. Schwartz not returning to the Eagles is good news. light

Schwartz was especially reliable toward the end of the season. If not for him, the Eagles don’t beat the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional Round or hold the Minnesota Vikings to seven points in the NFC Championship Game that followed the 2017 season. Don’t forget that he limited the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints in the 2018 playoffs and the Seattle Seahawks in both matchups last year despite the poor offensive performance.

Philadelphia Eagles fans could be missing Schwartz by the end of 2021. On the other hand, we could see Matt Burke surprise everyone and help this defense reach their potential. Only time will tell what the outcome winds up being.