Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke, whose job security has been a topic of speculation the past few weeks, is not facing the possibility of being fired this season, sources familiar with the team’s plans told The Miami Herald Tuesday.
Burke will finish out the season as Miami’s defensive chief.
The relationship between head coach Adam Gase and Burke is not broken, the sources further told the Herald. Gase trusts Burke and actually has been upset the offense has been unable to lift the defense during its difficult times and had to rely solely on the defense Sunday when Burke’s unit stifled the New York Jets.
Burke did not return a phone message and Gase was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.
The timing of what sources are saying is important because the Miami defense had two poor performances against Detroit and Houston — allowed 457 and 427 yards respectively — before recovering against the Jets. But the Dolphins play at Green Bay against the explosive Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.
So there has been speculation that if the Miami defense does not play well at Green Bay the Dolphins could make a change at defensive coordinator next week, which is Miami’s bye week.
But the sources familiar with the team’s thinking insist Burke is safe. His job security does not hinge on what happens in Green Bay.
This is important and perhaps even counterintuitive because Gase seemed to be critical of Burke following the Jets game.
In that Jets game safety Reshad Jones played only 10 plays because he refused to return to the lineup after being pulled in the second quarter as part of a rotation system the Dolphins used in the secondary.
And Monday, Gase tried to soothe any anger that might be directed at Jones for quitting and instead seemed to be suggest Burke was not communicating well with the players.
Gase was asked if Burke communicated well with his players specifically on the Jones issue.
“I’ll have more of an idea here throughout the day and tomorrow and I’ll figure out a lot of the things that happened throughout [last] week or towards the end of the week or on game day,” Gase answered.
And it’s obvious that any answer to that question other than “yes” is a problem for Burke. Because Gase was basically telling everyone he’s not always comfortable in the manner Burke communicates with the players.
So Burke, the guy whose defense saved the Dolphins on Sunday, was made to be the bad guy on Monday.
No one within the Dolphins organization denies this. But no one within the Dolphins organization the Herald spoke with Tuesday believes it’s a lasting problem that will affect Burke’s job status.
It certainly didn’t seem to be an issue Tuesday, as the order of the day seemed to be to craft a game plan, on defense as well as offense, that would work against Green Bay.
The team is eager to put the Jones drama in the past. Gase has said Jones will not be suspended and will play against the Packers on Sunday. He also said any discipline of Jones would be done in-house.
The Dolphins obviously have other issues to contend with as well They will be deciding by Wednesday whether quarterback Ryan Tannehill will miss his fifth consecutive game since he suffered a capsule injury in his right (throwing) shoulder at Cincinnati.
It is highly unlikely Tannehill will be able to play at Green Bay, the Herald has reported. The team is optimistic Tannehill’s status will change at some point after the bye.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero