For the first time since he joined the Eagles staff in 2019, Matt Burke, now the run game coordinator/defensive line coach, spoke to the media on Thursday morning. He talked about his history with Jim Schwartz, the defensive end position, and playing 3 DTs.
Burke enjoyed the virtual offseason and the one-on-one opportunities he had to talk to his players. He told the guys that this is going to be the most adaptable year, because as we’ve seen over the past few months, they’ll need to be ready to adapt at any time. He noted that he was fortunate to spend some time with the defensive line last year, and already having those relationships helped when they went virtual.
Here’s what else he had to say:
On being hired by the Eagles
Burke talked a bit about his background with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. The DC hired Burke back in 2004 and kept him on his staff for the next 10 years. When Burke was let go by Miami after the 2018 season, Schwartz reached out and wanted some fresh eyes on things, and he was excited to bring some new ideas.
After his first year with the team, in the window right after the season ended, Schwartz and head coach Doug Pederson met with him about his future since his contract was about to expire. The team offered him a new position for 2020, run game coordinator/ defensive line coach, and he jumped at the opportunity.
On the DE position
“We can’t have enough. Give me them all, right? I think competition is really good for the room.”
They want guys that can be three-down players and guys who can get to the quarterback, but there’s a wide range of needs. So, as much as there is competition, there’s also a spot for many of them.
Burke said Avery does have a certain skill set, he’s playing defensive end in their rotation. They haven’t gotten into specific roles just yet, but Avery is one of those competing for a spot. They have to look at how some of these guys fit within the scheme, but he also feels that coaches should adapt to the talent they have in the room.
He went on to say that Avery is an explosive player and is powerful in a way that some other guys aren’t. It was hard for him coming half way through the season, but he’s in really good shape and they’ll get to see him on the field in the next few days.
Burke admitted that it’s hard to judge right now because they haven’t put pads on yet, but Miller “had a very strong offseason” and was one of the guys most dialed in. The coach noted that Miller was someone who sent the most clips of his workouts and was very interactive with the staff to get better. The DE is in shape and it shows, according to Burke, and he’s got some length and explosive ability.
“He’s one of the toughest guys on the team.”
Burke said that Barnett has been really hyper-focused this offseason, he’s really intelligent and a great addition to their meetings. Barnett isn’t always the most vocal, but when he does speak up, it’s with a very good question or point.
Barnett is locked in on wanting to be an elite player, according to Burke, and he’s someone the coach is really excited about this year.
On playing 3 DTs
Burke explained that Schwartz really values multi-dimensional players, so to have guys that can move around and create different matchups is exciting. He noted that to have 3-plus accomplished guys who have shown they can win on the interior is huge.
The more pieces they have, and the more push rushers they have, allow them to create matchups and situations that are favorable for the Eagles.