Dolphins had Matt Burke lined up behind Vance Joseph all along

Gase (right) made plans for Burke (left) to be the defensive coordinator more than a year ago. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

PHOENIX—The Dolphins’ recent move of promoting linebackers coach Matt Burke to defensive coordinator was a decision they arrived at about a year in advance.

When Miami brought in defensive backs coach Vance Joseph from Cincinnati to be the defensive coordinator, the hope was that Burke would come along with him to eventually succeed Joseph. That might explain why Burke was willing to make a lateral move by taking the same position with the Dolphins.

Joseph was hired as the Broncos’ new head coach Jan. 11, and Miami bumped Burke up to coordinator the next day.

“We were really anticipating Vance leaving after one year,” said coach Adam Gase, who acknowledged that people might not believe that. “That was the thought process. We wanted to have a guy that was ready to be the next guy.”

Gase recounted one of his initial conversations with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross in which Ross said part of the job would be to create an environment that enticed other teams to pursue Miami’s coaches. That began with hiring someone like Joseph, who was already viewed as a head-coaching candidate, and continued with constantly being prepared to make replacements.

Giving Burke the job was also important to Gase because he values stability. He has spoken multiple times about the need to retain players long term so they maintain continuity, which he believes will make a big difference on the field. That also applies to the coaching staff.

“How many times have you seen an offensive head coach who starts coordinators and now it’s 4-3, now it’s 3-4, now it’s this, now the terminology changes?” Gase said. “We wanted to create a situation where our players didn’t feel like we were always changing terminology and schemes. We weren’t changing our whole philosophy on defense.

“We knew we were gonna hire guys like (Joseph) that could possibly leave. Matt was able to step in, guys know him, guys respect him. We’re not bringing in somebody off the street; we’re promoting one of our own guys… Now it’s about, who’s the next guy if two or three years down the road Matt leaves? We’re always looking for that contingency plan. Not to say Matt’s gonna call it exactly the way V.J. does. What he leans on might be different than what V.J. did, but the terminology’s not changing. A lot of the things are staying the same.”

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