the odd man out in a great number of those situations. That guy, unfortunately, is Ray Rice. It’s hard to run the ball out of the shotgun, as Rice has certainly found out this year.
That creates another problem, for Rice – like Flacco – is coming up on payday (code word for: new contract) and he can’t afford to have a “down” season as he prepares to negotiate what will likely be his one and only “huge” contract in the NFL.
It’s not Ray Rice’s fault that the NFL has become a passing league. And it’s not Ray Rice’s fault that the Ravens have decided now it the time to let their quarterback blossom and spread his wings. And it’s certainly not Ray Rice’s fault that the quarterback on his team would much rather play out of the shotgun, thereby half-eliminating him for roughly 25 plays again, not counting those where he’s a target in passing situations.
Oh, and it all basically renders Vonta Leach completely useless.
Much has been made about the Ravens’ decision to throw the ball 52 times on Sunday in Seattle and how that effectively removed Rice (and Ricky Williams) from the equation, he of the 5 carries and 13 total touches in the loss. Well, would it surprise you to find out that Flacco – according to a source – changed “a whole bunch” of plays at the line of scrimmage on Sunday and that several of those were initially sent in as run plays but once Flacco saw the defense in front of him, he audibled out of the play call and made his own choice? Are you surprised to learn that?
Maybe one of the reasons why Baltimore threw it 52 times is because Flacco himself took the liberty of changing the play (which, according to Cameron, is something Joe has authority to do) and took what might have been a day where they threw the ball 44 times (a typical NFL number when you’re losing) and turned that into a 52-throw occasion.
Yet everyone wants to beat up Cameron for “never running the ball”.
A lot of people wanted Flacco to “own the offense”. Well, he does. He’s taken it over.
The other part of the equation that hasn’t quite yet been completely figured out is how the strained relationship between Flacco and Cameron could adversely affect the Ravens going forward.
Privately, club officials deny that a rift exists between the two.
But if you’ve watched the two interact either during a game (where we can all see them) or at the facility (where I occasionally have watched them interact), you can easily pick-up on a general look of disinterest on Flacco’s part when Cameron is addressing him one-on-one. It might just be that I’m over-body-languaging this, but one trip back through the game with your DVR and you can see several instances per-game where the sideline shot will catch Cameron and Flacco together and it’s as if Joe would rather be on Mars than standing there talking to Cam Cameron about football. In this past Sunday’s game, there was a moment in the 2nd quarter when Cameron approached Flacco on the bench after a stalled drive and Flacco stared off into the distance for a second as Cam spoke, then Joe said – to my eyes…and I’ve replayed it a couple of times – “I’ve got it handled” and shuffled off to another part of the bench.
I’m not defending Cam Cameron or criticizing Joe Flacco when I say this, but it’s a non-negotiable element of team sports that absolutely can not be violated in the course of the game. The players can not openly disrespect a member of the coaching staff, and most certainly NOT their position coach.
It’s just not healthy.
For better or worse – and I think they’d both agree that at times, it’s for worse – Cameron and Flacco are married. I watch them interact and I see a couple in need of counseling. I see disinterest. I see lack of enthusiasm. I see lack of spirit. And I see, frankly, a lack of professionalism from Flacco that I think (see next page please)