Usually a team fires its offensive coordinator when it is mired in the depths of a losing season. The Ravens are 9-4 with a 2-game lead in their division race. What caused the panic that resulted in the firing of OC Cam Cameron, who's been with the Ravens since 2008 and has been a part of 5 playoff season drives since then ?
My own theory is Joe Flacco wants to run no-huddle—and Cam Cameron takes him out of it. Something had to give. Two consecutive 3-point losses forced the issue.
We may never know the whole story. Whom was John Harbaugh arguing with on the headphones at the Redskins game? The plot thickens…
I feel bad for Cam. He has settled in the Baltimore suburbs and has kids who are greatly involved in local schools and sports activities. Nobody doesn't like Cam Cameron the gentleman and family man. There are only the flamethrower fans and media slaves who hate Cam's playcalling. Most of the time these unqualified critics are completely off base in their understanding of exactly what an OC is up against in his challenge to counter a given defense on a given set of downs. It is always changing, a dynamic set of metrics. It's not just about schemes, it's also about personnel packages. Nothing is constant. And for those geniuses out there who say Ray Rice must get 20 touches a game, there will be days when there are 8 or 9 in the box, or when Rice is double-teamed or triple-teamed in coverage. Cam's not going to call #27's number a whole bunch of times on days like that. Only an idiot would.
Meh, we'll get to the bottom of Cameron's dismissal eventually. Ironically, the guy called a great series of playoff games just this past January. He came within a tragic dropped pass of going to the Super Bowl.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who has long stood by Cameron amid tremendous criticism from the fan base, informed him of the decision this morning. Cameron left the team facility after hearing the news.
Harbaugh then met with the coaching staff and with Flacco, who was in the building to watch film of Sunday’s game with QB coach Jim Caldwell. Caldwell, who has never had the title of offensive coordinator in his career, will assume play-calling duties.
With Cameron calling the plays, the Ravens haven’t ranked better than 13th in the NFL in terms of yards per game and better than ninth in points scored per game. But so what, as long as you are winning?—and Cameron's teams in Baltimore have won despite a lack of elite offensive playmakers.
In what was billed as a potential breakout season for the offense, the current group is ranked 17th in total yards per game and ninth in points per game (25.5). However, Flacco hasn’t shown the progress that most expected this season and he’s recently shown outward signs of frustration with how the offense was playing. In an interview with The Baltimore Sun last week, Flacco admitted that he was frustrated that the team had gone away from the no-huddle offense. Asked why that happened, Flacco replied, “I don’t know.”
It’s been widely known that Flacco and Cameron have never had the best working relationship, but the Ravens’ decision today goes beyond that. Cameron has been criticized for running too vanilla of an offense and not involving Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice in the game plan more.
Flacco has been making big-time throws that have not been caught. That much is evident to me. Had catchable deep balls been hauled in as often as they should have been caught this season, we'd be singing the praises today of Cam and Joe's high-powered high-flying offense. You can go back and watch the tape and figure that out for yourself.
In fact, on the WBAL-AM broadcast of the Redskins game, announcer Gerry Sandusky openly questioned Torrey Smith's eyesight related to the drops or depth perception of Joe's passes. And frankly, it would not surprise me if both Smith and Jacoby Jones are overdue for visits to the opthalmologist.
But Cam takes the fall for the great deep plays that ended up as drops.
“It’s not about fair or unfair, right or wrong,” Harbaugh said today. “My responsibility is to the whole team and what’s best for them right now. We need a change. Our plan and our goals are to win games, win our division and get to the playoffs. We have a lot of work to do, and we have the coaches and players in place to achieve our goals this season. We are working on that right now. I’m excited about where we are and where we are going.”
Be careful what you wish for, John. Because you're headed into a 3-game meatgrinder of a schedule the rest of December 2012 that may leave you wishing you had kept Cam around.