Posted December 10, 2012

Cam Cameron firing an act of desperation by Ravens?

Baltimore Ravens
Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco proved to be an inconsistent duo leading the Ravens offense. (Kenneth K. Lam/MCT/ABACAUSA.COM)

Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco proved to be an inconsistent duo leading the Ravens offense. (Kenneth K. Lam/MCT/ABACAUSA.COM)

A move made out of desperation or a long-overdue change? That’s the quandary around the Baltimore Ravens after they axed offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Monday, one day after a difficult overtime loss to Washington.

Even with an uneven offense, the Ravens currently sit at 9-4 and hold a two-game lead in the AFC North. So, how Baltimore finishes down the stretch and in the playoffs will issue a pretty clear verdict on how successful this major coaching staff move was.

Cameron’s offense ranks ninth in the NFL in points scored through 14 weeks, but the Ravens have been maddeningly inconsistent on that side of the ball. A lot of the venom for that roller-coaster ride has landed on Cameron — his use (or lack thereof) of Ray Rice coming under constant question.

Replacing Cameron will be former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, who had been serving as Baltimore’s QB coach. Under Caldwell’s watch this season, QB Joe Flacco has stayed on pace to set a career high in passing yards, with the second-most TDs of his NFL stint.

Of course, Cameron deserves some of the credit there too, though his scheme is at least partly to blame for Flacco’s wild home/road splits. Counting Sunday’s 31-28 OT loss to the Redskins, Flacco has a road QB rating of 75.3 with seven TDs and five interceptions; at home, he posts a 100.7 rating and has an 11:4 TD:INT differential.

But back to the timing of this decision …

Aside from a Week 10 outburst against the hapless Raiders (a 55-20 Baltimore win), the Ravens’ offense has been somewhat out of sorts ever since a sloppy 9-6 victory over Kansas City in Week 5. The Ravens hung 31 on Dallas the next week in a hard-fought victory, but then managed just 176 yards in a blowout loss to Houston.

The last four weeks have been particularly painful. Baltimore split a home-and-home with Pittsburgh, narrowly stealing a 13-10 win against a Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers team, then losing at home to Charlie Batch. In between those two games, the Ravens needed a 10-point fourth-quarter outburst to get past San Diego — a rally that came after the offense mustered all of three points in the first three quarters.

Sunday’s collapse was the final nail in Cameron’s coffin. Baltimore took a 21-14 lead to halftime, then scored just seven points in the second half and OT, as Washington forced a pair of turnovers and three three-and-outs.

The Ravens also took a knee from their own 20 with 24 seconds left, after the Redskins had tied the game at 28.

Rice appeared visibly annoyed at that choice, and the Baltimore RB has been at the center of the firestorm surrounding Cameron’s play calling. Rice has had more than 20 carries in just two games this season, which is the main reason why he’s still under 1,000 yards rushing for the year.

The reliable Rice is just 12th in the league in carries at 218, 65 behind league-leader Arian Foster and several spots behind division mates Trent Richardson (247) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (238).

There’s also been some chatter out of Baltimore that Flacco would like more control over the team’s play calling, particularly in the hurry-up attack.

Will he get more of that under Caldwell? Will Rice see more action, possibly at the expense of backup RB Bernard Pierce?

Only one thing is certain right now: Caldwell does not have very much time to figure out his game plan.

6 comments
TimDare
TimDare

Yes, Cam fumbled the ball and through an interception. There are two people in the picture and one of them SHOULD have been fired. Unfortunately they fired the wrong one. 

mailmd
mailmd

I'm no rocket scientist but the Ravens were leading by 8 points with 4 minutes left. The Redskins drive down the field. Rookie Kirk Cousins had to finish the drive and also score the 2-point conversion after RGIII went out with a knee sprain. Sounds to me that the Ravens defense screwed the pooch...nice to blame it on a hapless OC, who I admit, has his issues, too.

MarkRayman
MarkRayman

  An act of desperation? Have you watched to Ravens offense... ever? This was supose to be the years, the offense was going and had to turn the corner because of the defensive woes. Other than a couple of games, it's the same old same old. The object is to win the game, but as all to usual, we once again played not to lose and once again it bite us in the butt!

  Here are some observation just from yesterdays game that drove me crazy.

1. The ravens were much more effective in the the hurry up (or at least what they call a hurry up), so with the lead we went conservative.

2. A. Boldin had 2 catches - both for touchdowns in the first quarter, and was only thrown to once the rest of the game, (a 30 yard completion in the 4th quarter).

3. B. Pierce had a great game yesterday, but Ray Rice is your featured back and star. There were numerous time yesterday where the Ravens got the ball and there best offensive player did not start the series - he was on the bench!!! I am not even going into how many touches our best player is getting each game.

4. With 29 seconds left and a time out the Ravens take a knee! (they would have has 2 time outs but we need to call time out  to stop the 2 point conversion - that worked great!) (can someone without a life go back and document the success rate of plays directly after we call  time outs - on offense and defense.) How about throwing a deep ball and getting a catch or maybe a pass interference flag

5. Is Micheal Oher a better  OT then Brian Micknney? I like Micheal and think he is a great guard, but average OT at best. How many more times does he have to wiff on a play before they make a change? Is that the OC or the head coaches call?

6. Joe's pocket awareness . Its getting worse as the season goes on.

These are observations from ONE game! I understand that a wins a win, and people get upset when you critize after a win, but people do it so the team will get better. If you keep making the same mistakes over and over someone is going to get fired. I think this is most of a wake up call for a team that has lost 2 games in a row, and should have lost 3than an act of desperation.

WillWillis1
WillWillis1

Caldwell stayed out of Peyton Manning's way when it came to playcalling, so if Flacco is wanting more control at least there's a precedent with his new OC. Of course, no one would mistake Flacco's game for Manning's, which means that even if Caldwell gives him more leeway, Flacco probably won't get much benefit of the doubt if it isn't working.

R41
R41

 @MarkRayman

 Man, I could not agree more. But the one thing you left out is the thread that ties this sloppiness together (except maybe point #6), and that is John "Befuddled" Harbaugh. The man is a TERRIBLE coach who has only gotten the wins because we have a half-way decent offense to go along with our (normally) stellar defense and a competent front office.

 

The bottom line: Cam Cameron was the #1 problem on our team and it had gotten to the point where he lost the players respect. This is what doomed Bilick, and this is what might soon doom Harbs if he doesn't start actually coaching on the sideline. Seriously; or clock management can be miraculous one minute and then baffling the next.