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.