Looking at the Coaches: Linebackers

I'M ALIVE!!!!!! Sorry for the break between posts. My internet was unfairly taken away from me, which sucks because part of what I do is edit video's for people...therefore I need an internet connection to stay in contact with my clients. Okay, enough of my bitching...well you're going to get more of my bitching, but football related. Today we take a look at what most of us can agree the the worst part of the Lions D (okay, it's a coin toss between the DB's and LB's...but the D Line will make the DB's better...the LB's have to step up on their own), the linebackers corp. 

Detroit Lions Bio Page: Matt Burke


Matt Burke, in his third season as linebackers coach, came to Detroit after spending five seasons (2004-08) with the Tennessee Titans.

LIONS COACHING HIGHLIGHTS: In 2009, Burke was instrumental in the development of rookie LB DeAndre Levy who played in all 16 games with 10 starts, including two starts at middle linebacker.

  • Levy finished tied for fourth among rookies with 85 tackles (according to and tied for seventh among all NFL defensive players with 8.5 tackles for loss.
  • In 2010, Levy followed up with a strong season despite dealing with injuries. In addition to finishing third with 72 tackles, he had key interceptions in two of Detroit's season-ending victories, one of which he returned for his first career touchdown at Miami (12/26).

In 2008, Burke helped coach Tennessee to an NFL best 13-3 record and rank seventh in overall defense with 4,698 yards allowed as well as third in offensive points allowed with 227. In his first two seasons with the Titans, he worked as an administrative assistant in the football department assisting the coaching staff with scouting breakdowns during the week and on gamedays. Burke was promoted to defensive assistant/quality control coach in 2006. He was primarily responsible for breaking down film on upcoming opponents and self-scouting, also conducting on-field work with the linebackers.

Prior to joining the Titans, Burke was the assistant secondary coach for one season (2003) at Harvard, originally entering the college ranks at Boston College (2000) as a graduate assistant for recruiting before working with the defense from 2001-02. His first coaching position came at Bridgton Academy (Maine), where he worked in 1998 and 1999. A native of Hudson, Massachusetts, Burke played safety at Dartmouth and was part of an undefeated Ivy League champion in 1996.


Detroit Lions 2009 - present
• Linebackers 2009 - present

Tennessee Titans 2004-08 
• Defensive asst. /Quality Control 2006-08 
• Administrative Asst. 2004-05 

Harvard 2003 
• Asst. Secondary/Cornerbacks 2003 

Boston College 2000-02 
• Graduate Assistant 2000-02 

Bridgton Academy (Maine) 1998-99 
• Secondary 1998-99



Okay, so what have we learned from that? This guy had no real NFL coaching experience and hardly any coaching experience in general. Well, it shows. After seeing the Linebackers the past few years, this guy may know how to break down film, but he doesn't know how to translate it to the players for in game use. He doesn't seem to be able to get ANYTHING out of his players. You can blame lack of talent all you want, I don't buy it. I have seen nothing but constant breakdowns in coverage and LB's missing their gaps. This is coaching. 


As it stands right now, the Linebackers we have actually under contract at this moment are DeAndre Levy, Jordan Dizon, Isiah Ekejiuba, and Zack Follett. Lets look closer at this list: Dizon-Mayhew has said he's not int he Lions future plans, Follett-Love the guy, but he's coming back from an injury and my just be a ST guy if he's healthy enough to come back. Ekejiuba-great ST guy, but with changes to kick off rules he may not be needed. Levy is the only one of the group that is guaranteed to be back next year. We also drafted Doug Hogue (I don't see him breaking the starting line up in his rookie season). So, we need two starting outside linebackers (Palmer or Campbell will most likely fill one of those holes (in a perfect world they'd both be solid starters), and probably two more (one that can play either outside or middle and one that could play either outside spot(one again, the other of Palmer and Campbell will hopefully fill one of these spots)).

I'll give him a little slack because of the amount of turnover, but if I don't see a vast improvement from the LB's under Burke's coaching, I think it may be time to look elsewhere.


Also, is it me or does this guy look like Joshua Gomez, the actor that plays Morgan Grimes on Chuck?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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