Forget about the 12-4 regular season.
As the talented S.E. Hinton once wrote: “That was then, this is now.”
The Ravens are 0-0 now and heading to Kansas City for a showdown with the Chiefs in the playoff opener this Sunday at 1pm.
“Now” also means some folks are involved in an in-season job audition of sorts. Yes, I’m talking about Cam Cameron. The Ravens won’t discuss this right now, and for good reason — they’re getting ready to play a do-or-die game in Kansas City — but it’s fairly evident that Cameron’s fate for 2011 is directly tied to the team’s success in the upcoming post-season.
Based on everything I’ve gathered, heard, observed and discreetly learned over the last month or so, I’m very confident in saying that Cameron won’t return next year barring a Ravens Super Bowl berth in February. That’s just my *guess* – my opinion if you will – but it’s a guess based on a lot of things I’ve filed away this season.
The latest piece of information that was easy to digest was the cryptic comment made by Derrick Mason at the podium immediately following the 13-7 win over Cincinnati on Sunday. Mason didn’t have to mention Cameron’s name. No one in the media even brought it up. But Derrick did.
“There’s no more excuses,” Mason said. “We have to make the plays. It doesn’t matter what plays Cam calls, we have to execute them. It’s up to us to do it.”
Mason is as savvy as they come, particularly when it comes to talking with the media. He didn’t mention Cam by accident on Sunday. That was his way of saying, “I’m not gonna stand up here and blast Cam for our offensive fizzles, but we have the players here…he’s just not getting the best out of us. But we can’t say that now, because we have big games coming up. We can’t make excuses. We just have to get the job done.”
That’s what I think, anyway. I think Mason knew full good and well what he was doing on Sunday after the Bengals game. He was telling us (the media) what most of us have already sort-of-sniffed-out — the players aren’t thrilled with Cameron.
There was also a late-game incident on the Ravens sideline yesterday in which one veteran offensive player openly chided Ravens President Dick Cass – who was down there amongst the players – and asked, LOUDLY, “Hey, Dick, when are you going to get us a new offensive coordinator, ‘cuz Cam isn’t the answer!” Now, in all fairness, the player in question hasn’t been actively involved in the team’s offense this year, but that’s still a telling statement coming from someone who is well liked within the clubhouse by his peers.
In other words, said veteran player probably conveyed to his teammates, “I’ll do the necessary dirty work.”
I also know for a fact that nearly every member of the team’s executive and coaching staff was stunned at the play-call Cameron authorized at home against Pittsburgh (on the play that Polamalu knocked the ball out of Flacco’s hands) and then (continued)