He’ll bring a different thought process and a new pair of eyes, but we often forget different doesn’t necessarily mean better, regardless of whether you supported the timing of Cameron’s dismissal or not. It’s simply too early to tell whether the Ravens made the right call in parting ways with Cameron now as opposed to at the end of the season.
But to expect anything more than subtle changes and improvements is a setup for disappointment.
“It’s not a system change. Obviously, the Ravens offense is the Ravens offense,” Caldwell said. “It is not a philosophical change. John sets the philosophy of this team, and we follow suit.”
No facet of the offense will be more interesting to watch over the final three weeks of the regular season and however long the Ravens survive in the postseason than the play of quarterback Joe Flacco. It was no secret that his relationship with Cameron was tenuous at best and dysfunctional at worst, so we’ll see how the fifth-year quarterback responds now that he’s finally out from under the perceived thumb that was holding him down.
It’s also relevant to question whether Flacco has made any noticeable improvements to his game in his first season working with Caldwell. That’s not to say Caldwell’s addition as quarterbacks coach has been a failure either, but to say it’s been a significant difference-maker would be a stretch.
The Ravens want to see what they have with a Cameron-free Flacco in the final stretch of the 2012 season before deciding what to do with the quarterback’s expiring contract this offseason. But he’ll still be working behind the same offensive line and throwing to the same wide receivers and trying to overcome his same weaknesses.
Few would dispute the notion of the Ravens needing to make changes to their offense, but firing Cameron as we approach Week 15 feels like a band-aid for a condition needing surgery in the offseason. That’s a lot to ask of Caldwell or anyone else.
But Harbaugh and the Ravens said they weren’t thinking about the future by handing the offense to Caldwell. They’re concerned with salvaging what appears to be a once-promising season trending dangerously in the wrong direction.
They desperately want to win now, and they’re rolling the dice that Caldwell might be able to stabilize their schizophrenic offense.
“To me, that’s the only priority that matters,” Harbaugh said. “Long-term considerations are long-term considerations, and that’s not in the forefront of our mind right now.”