We floated the idea of Marvin Lewis hiring his good buddy and former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz to fill the vacant linebackers coach role, and they did end up hiring a former Lions coach.
The Cincinnati Bengals promoted LB coach Paul Guenther to defensive coordinator after Mike Zimmer became the Minnesota Vikings’ head coach, and now Matt Burke, who spent the last five seasons as LB coach of the Lions, is now LB coach of the Bengals.
“We’re fortunate to get a coach of Matt’s quality and experience to move into this spot,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. “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, helped lead a Lions defense that ranked sixth in the NFL against the run in 2013. He was instrumental in the development of LBs Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy at Detroit. Both players joined the Lions during his tenure. The linebackers led the Lions in total tackles in 2012.
“It’s a great opportunity to come and work with one of the NFL’s best defenses,” Burke said, “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 (Schwartz) feels the same way about Marvin as Marvin does about him, so I think everyone felt it was a good fit all around.”
Prior to joining the Lions, Burk spent five seasons on the Tennessee Titans coaching staff, working as an administrative assistant and defensive assistant. He coached three seasons in the college ranks before entering the NFL.