The Miami Dolphins first off-season change must be Matt Burke

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 04: Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke of the Miami Dolphins looks on in the second half of their game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 04: Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke of the Miami Dolphins looks on in the second half of their game against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami Dolphins have four games left on their 2018 schedule unless by some miracle they make the post-season but the first off-season move needs to be firing Matt Burke.

When the Miami Dolphins added Matt Burke to the coaching staff it made sense. He was a linebackers coach and did a good job in 2016 with a unit that was depleted of talent. The Dolphins defense played well enough that year to get to the playoffs but the defense was run by Vance Joseph.

In 2016 Burke became the defensive coordinator and the Dolphins had some good games but mostly bad ones under Burke. Many believed that Burke would grow into the role but that too has shown to be a falsity. This year the Dolphins defense which arguably has more talent than last season is near the bottom again in league statistics.

The Dolphins are ranked 29th in the NFL in total defense. They are 21st against the past and 30th against the run. This is far from being good enough when you consider the talent that the team has on that side of the ball. Yes injuries have played a role but that is not good enough to use as an excuse.

Kiko Alonso, Cameron Wake, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Bobby McCain, Reshad Jones, Jerome Baker, Raekwon McMillan, Robert Quinn, and Xavien Howard should all be standouts on this defense but only a handful of those players are making consistent plays. More often than not they are out of position.

Against the Bills on Sunday the Dolphins won but let’s be real, they should have lost that game. Josh Allen had not one but three passes to wide-open receivers that he either under=threw or overthrew to. By wide-open I mean not an aqua jersey in sight.

Dolphins defenders seem to be getting more out of place each week instead of growing and adjusting. This is a coaching problem and not a talent problem. Burke has been unable to make in-game adjustments and as a result the Dolphins defenders are playing schemes that are not working.

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On one series the corner may play a little press but in most cases they are giving five yards or more of cushion. The zone coverages are not working as the linebackers look as though they are not sure who they are supposed to cover. This was evident as well on Sunday as slot receivers were easily getting behind the linebackers who had dropped back.

Injuries to the defensive line have not helped and the loss of William Hayes hasn’t helped against the run either but Miami is getting little from Robert Quinn and Andre Branch and it is unclear why exactly that is.

Some believed that Burke might have been let go during the teams bye week but that wasn’t the case so he will be sticking around at least through the end of the year.

Through 12 games this season the Dolphins defense have given up 38, 42, 28, 27, 32, 31, and 27 points to opposing offenses. Of those seven games Miami has won only one. That game was against Chicago where the Dolphins scored 31 points to their 28.

Teams can not win in the NFL consistently if they are giving up 25 points or more a game. This says nothing about the yardage that the Dolphins defense is allowing. Miami’s best defensive effort in total yards came against the New York Jets in Miami. They allowed 275 total yards in that game. It is the only game where Miami has not allowed more than 300 total yards.

Through 12 games the Dolphins have allowed opposing offenses 400 plus total yards seven times and more than 350 total yards twice. While stats can be deceiving at times in Miami’s case they are not. The defense is more consistent about not getting off the field in third and long situations.

Coaching has to be looked at as there is no reason this team with the talent they have is playing this poorly. Consider that in four games this season the Dolphins defense has yielded 175, 188, 164, 195, 198, and a whopping 248 yards rushing in six of their 12 games. Under Matt Burke the team has only had two games under 100 yards rushing both coming against the Jets.

Firing Matt Burke is not a move to save the job of Adam Gase it’s a move that needs to be made. The statistics back-up what is seen on the field and frankly it is surprising that given these stats the Dolphins are 6-6 on the season.

More importantly the Dolphins defense and thus their players are not progressing and getting better. Something is not working and the only person who can be pointed at is Burke.