Familiarity breeds contempt is a wise old adage that might serve the Eagles well this weekend. Or maybe familiarity breeds a huge advantage on the football field.
The Eagles may have the benefit of some insider secrets Sunday when they play the Jets thanks to a little-known assistant coach. Eagles defensive special assistant Matt Burke worked under Jets head coach Adam Gase for three seasons down in Miami. Sure, Burke doesn’t have Gase’s playbook memorized but the fact he has a key role on the Eagles’ staff has to play in Philadelphia’s favor. He should have a clear understanding of how Gase thinks and what makes him tick.
Burke was the Dolphins defensive coordinator for two seasons when Gase was the head coach in Miami. Prior to that, he served as Gase’s linebackers coach. While the term “spy” may be too extreme, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson admitted that the familiarity might help diagnose certain in-game situations.
“Yeah, he did work with him, so he has a little understanding probably of how Adam thinks,” Pederson said. “He’s a young coordinator, obviously, but he doesn’t have a position to coach, so he can really dive into our defense and find ways of improving that as he sees fit, and he and Jim [Schwartz] have obviously worked together. But understanding Adam, I think he can maybe think situationally a little bit, how Adam thinks in certain areas of the field and maybe relay some of that to Jim.”
The experiment in Miami didn’t end well for the 43-year-old Burke. He was fired as defensive coordinator after last season and his units didn’t perform well. The Dolphins allowed the third-most points defensively in 2017 and the fifth-most in 2018. The coach also previously worked with Schwartz in Tennessee.
Josh McCown Played for Jets , Mentored Sam Darnold
Josh McCown knows the Jets organization well after backing up Sam Darnold last season in New York. The two developed a well-documented relationship that extended beyond the football field. Their families were close and McCown took on a mentorship role to the rookie quarterback. It was a genuine friendship.
Darnold has been ruled out as he continues to recover from a bout with mononucleosis. Luke Falk will be the starter under center against the Eagles. The 40-year-old McCown spent two seasons in New York, but he played under head coach Todd Bowles and a completely different coaching staff.
Could McCown provide any tips on beating the Jets?
“Not really. I mean, some personnel things, but obviously new head coach, new coordinators, all that,” Eagles head coach Pederson told reporters. “He [McCown] spent a lot of time with Sam just trying to coach him up and get him ready to play his rookie year. But nothing more than that.”
There is little insight he could probably offer, other than maybe the tendencies of the Jets receivers. That could be better than nothing.
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