Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther ended up replacing himself at linebackers coach with a similar résumé when he grabbed Matt Burke from the old Jim Schwartz staff in Detroit on Saturday. The Bengals figure to fill out their staff with the hiring of a secondary coach before Senior Bowl practices start Monday.
Burke worked five seasons as the Lions linebackers coach and, like Guenther, developed some of the more productive players in the NFL. While Guenther coached league-leading tackler Vontaze Burfict, Burke coached DeAndre Levy, whose six interceptions led all NFL backers, as well as Stephen Tulloch, the eighth-leading tackler in the league.
Call Burke third generation Marvin Lewis once removed.
Like Guenther, Burke grew up in a similar 4-3 system learning the nuts-and-bolts with a Lewis-like influence. Burke was a quality control coach and assistant for Schwartz when Schwartz was the defensive coordinator in Tennessee and then brought Burke to Detroit when he became the head coach. Schwartz broke in doing quality control for Lewis when Lewis was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore.
"We're fortunate to get a coach of Matt's quality and experience to move into this spot," Lewis said in a news release. "Matt has come up under the system of Jim Schwartz, starting with Jim at the Tennessee Titans and then moving on when Jim got the head coaching job at Detroit. He was one of Jim's hand-picked guys, and I think most people know how much I respect Jim as a friend and colleague.
"Matt did great work with developing the young linebackers at Detroit, and he brings ideas and perspective from another system, which is something great for us to have as a staff."
Burke, 37, played safety for Dartmouth's 1996 Ivy League champs, which is a bit ironic. Reggie Williams, one of the greatest Bengals linebackers ever who played with the most games at that position at 206, also played at Dartmouth.
"It's a great opportunity to come and work with one of the NFL's best defenses," Burke said in the news release, "and I look forward to getting to know our players and establish communication with them. It's great to be able to work with Marvin. Jim feels the same way about Marvin as Marvin does about him, so I think everyone felt it was a good fit all around."