the following week in Houston when he called for a throw on 3rd and 2 in the 4th quarter with the Ravens trying to dispose of the pesky Texans. About that 3rd and 2 toss to Boldin, one team official used the word “mortified” to describe the disbelief he had that Cameron — one week after an ill-advised throw late in the Pittsburgh game — would go to the same well again.
One Ravens veteran Pro Bowl player recently said to me: “It’s as if Cam is coaching for pride now. It’s like he says, ‘We’re gonna do it my way come hell or high water’, and the guys are sensing that and they can’t understand why John (Harbaugh) hasn’t been able to figure that out.”
Perhaps Harbaugh has figured it out. He’s been quizzed on the subject so much this year that he’s become very adept at dodging any Cam Cameron questions. John has made it clear. Cam calls the plays. Harbaugh has addressed questions about play calling this year by throwing out generalities like – “Do I have input and the right to question it? Sure I do, I’m the head coach. But I’m very careful about giving Cam the space he needs to run the offense he wants to run.”
That’s code word for: The Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator can’t get into a scrap over play calling while the game is going on. There’s not enough time for that.
But Harbaugh has apparently questioned Cam on the Monday (or *ahem* Tuesday) following a game and asked him to detail his play-call decisions in the wake of a late-game scare or some other decision that directly affected the tempo of a drive or the outcome of a series.
Baltimore’s offensive woes this year have been mostly about a tale-of-two-halves. Rarely, if ever, have the Ravens put together an across-the-board, consistently effective offensive performance in any game. There have been days when the offense looked anemic throughout the first 30 minutes (was that a by-product of a bad scheme going into the game?) and then scorched the other side in the second half. And then there were five straight games late in the season where the Baltimore offense couldn’t muster a second half score after a productive first half. What happened there? Halftime adjustments from the opposition that weren’t somehow countered by Cameron and/or Harbaugh and the rest of the staff?
For all the weapons, and the addition or Boldin and Houshmandzadeh, and the draft-day selections of Dickson and Pitta, something hasn’t been right with the Baltimore offense all season. It’s never really been BAD, per-se, but it’s never been GREAT, either. Boldin has the biggest beef, as he was rescued from a stinky situation in Arizona and showed up here expecting to be our version of Jerry Rice, only to find out that Derrick Mason still has the parking spot marked “1A” at the facility. One good note for Boldin: He’s most certainly healthy as playoff time rolls around, that due mainly to the fact that he’s only been tackled about 20 times this season.
It should be noted, however, that the Ravens offensive struggles – when they occur – can’t totally be tied and knotted to the rope Cam Cameron is dragging along behind him at Owings Mills. Cameron isn’t the guy getting called for a false start or two every week…that’s Michael Oher. And there’s no way to say, “Well, he should just bench Oher.” That’s not the solution, because they don’t have any left tackle depth. And that’s not Cam’s fault.
Oher, for as much promise and movie-star potential he brought to the team after being drafted in 2009, has struggled mightily over the last (continued)