Sticking With Cameron is Still Ravens’ Right Move

April 30, 2012 | Thyrl Nelson


With a fresh new batch of Ravens in tow Ozzie Newsome is once again in the fans’ good graces and discord has predictably shifted back toward Cam Cameron. I’ll take the role of devil’s advocate on this on and make a case for keeping him. In the interest of full disclosure I’ll start by saying that I wasn’t in love with the Cameron hire when it was made. I was concerned about the reports of the degree to which he had apparently alienated his locker room during his 1-15 season at the helm of the Miami Dolphins, I was aware that both Drew Brees and Philip Rivers seemed to improve mightily after being removed from Cameron’s tutelage and mostly I was concerned that Cameron had made his reputation while riding a predictable offense driven by two future hall of famers in Antonio Gates and Ladanian Tomlinson. During his time with the Chargers, Cameron’s offense typically had big wide receivers on the outside but rarely used them, instead doing most of their offensive work through Gates and Tomlinson and between the hash marks.

Here’s where my opinions have changed and why:


1 – Brees and Rivers


As mentioned, both Brees and Rivers seemed to thrive once removed from Cam’s influence. While that could serve as an indictment of sorts, some credit is surely due to Cameron for the foundation he built under those QBs. As Joe Flacco seemed to enter the league substantially behind each of those two on the learning curve, another year or two under Cameron at least could and should benefit his continued development, and sooner or later it’d be interesting to see what Cam could do with a QB if given an extended window to develop him. How many coaches have one QB the caliber of Brees or Rivers on their resumes, much less both?



2 – The Chance at an Extended Stay


As the Ravens have learned, NFL hiring practices are predictable and the current chic coaching hires in league circles are young coordinators of successful teams with little or no head coaching experience. The fact that Cameron is getting older and is still associated so easily with that 1-15 Dolphins team, makes it unlikely he’ll be finding his name on any short lists any time soon. If the Ravens could indeed find a comfort level with Cameron they could look to have him here and paired with Flacco for a long time to come. The kind of situation that Indianapolis and Pittsburgh each had for the better part of the last decade could certainly play well in Baltimore if we’ll just let it happen.



3- The Ravens are Deficient at Tight End


I like Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, but that doesn’t change the fact that in this the budding era of the tight end, those two aren’t measuring up to some of their star counterparts in the more productive offenses in the NFL. As I mentioned earlier regarding Cameron’s time in San Diego and as evidenced here in Baltimore with Todd Heap in the fold, Cameron not only will use the middle of the field, he wants to. That said, with Ed Dickson’s issues catching the ball this season, asking him to go up in traffic and impose his size by catching balls thrown up high is simply an invitation for an interception. The Ravens aren’t avoiding the middle of the field because they want to; they’re avoiding it because they have no weapons on whom they can rely there…yet.



7 Comments For This Post

  1. Sam Says:

    Look, the stats you present are all solid, but the base fact that matters before all else is that professional football is a fan-dependent, entertainment industry. Statistical reality has its place, but fan perception has heavy bearing as well. And it can’t be good when the average fan has a stultified expectation that between Cameron’s boring playcalling and Flacco’s take-the-sack conservative style of play, the only stat that matters are 3-and-outs.

    3-and-outs destroy souls. And deep in the corners of the Raven’s fans psyche creeps in the thought that “you know, it can’t be good that we keep putting our defense back out there, the best players of which are on the wrong side of 30.”

  2. Chuck T Says:

    Statistically Rivers and Brees flourished almost immediately after they were working under a new offensive coordinator. They were chalking up about a 1000 yards or better each season afterwards. The question is “How far along is Joe Flacco”? and “How much control does Cam Cameron need each season”? Cam and Jim Zorn didn’t get along. If Cam had it his way he would love to play both roles as he did this year. Is it sceme and play calling? Look at the Packers. Is it all Aaron Rodgers? Is it Matt Flynn too? Brady vs. Matt Castle? We may never know how good Joe Flacco could be. Is he better served under the claustrophobic offensive coordinating of Cam? Joe’s numbers are pretty much the same every season. Will he become the next 4-5000 yrd passer? We may never know.

  3. Lee-Otis Says:

    While we’re delving critically into stats, we ought to delve into the most FRAUDULENTLY MIS-USED stat in the last 4 years. That being that somehow if we did not have Joe, or Cam, or a combo of both over the last few years, we wouldn’t have gone to the playoffs and won games.

    I think most people know that it isn’t BECAUSE of Joe or Cam that we go. It’s IN SPITE of Joe and Cam.

    We ought to give Joe more leeway, especially in light of his efforts last Sunday. But Biscotti and Newsome should make it painfully clear to Cam, he survives on only because they lack a worthwhile alternative at OC.

  4. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    The thought of bringing back the architect of a non-prolific offense that has been charcterized as, “inconsistent”, “dysfunctional”, “out-of-sync” and “predictable” doesn’t exactly make me want to stand up and cheer! In fact, it epitomizes Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results! Just think, another year of, hey diddle, diddle, Rice up the middle, then Flacco gets thrown for a loss! I can hardly wait………..

  5. Joe of bel air Says:

    You people are complete idiots. The Ravens are a Lee Evans strip and a Cundiff choke away from the Super Bowl and you want to blame Cam because Joe isn’t throwing for 400 yards every week and racking up 35 points a game. Hey I hope the Ravens continue doing what they are doing. Going to the playoffs 4 straight years and to the AFC title game in 2 of the 4 ain’t half bad IMO. I agree with you Thyrl that keeping Cam was the correct move.

  6. Jim of Owings Mills Says:

    Cameron’s approach is to avoid turnovers by refusing to put the ball up for grabs. He won’t ask his team to do things they’re not good at. Flacco is still learning to make good decisions when he’s has to read the whole field. The receivers aren’t very good at catching the ball. The offensive line is pass blocking okay but isn’t run blocking well in the trenches. Given these things, it’s just asking for trouble to throw over the middle and run in the middle. When you don’t throw over the middle, Flacco has to read less of the field, receivers still drop balls but don’t get intercepted as much, and Ray Rice gets screen passes.

    Refusing to get involved with things you’re no good at is a healthy approach.

  7. unitastoberry Says:

    If you watch alot of NFL games other than the Ravens all these OCs do the same stuff. Like 3rd and 8 and they throw a 2 yard pass. Or 3rd and 15 deep in your territory and they run a draw.In the playoffs Cam called the right play but Evans dropped it. This year the only suggestions I would give Cam are use Rice more from the slot on passing plays and throw deep more often to him. Get Pitta on the field more and use him in the slot or spread him out wide all the dude does is catch the ball!

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