Two days later — It’s Flacco’s team now…but is he handling it the right way?

November 15, 2011 | Drew Forrester


could hinder him down the stretch if he’s more concerned with proving Cam Cameron WRONG and not as motivated to just win football games.

Joe wants to run the offense.

He thinks he’s good enough to do it. And honestly, if you gave Joe the Meet-The-Fockers-truth-serum-needle-in-the-neck, he would confess that he doesn’t need Cam’s daily help to get the job done.

Call it arrogance, call it confidence or call it tired of hearing the guy yapping in his ear about what he’s doing wrong, but Flacco feels he’s fully capable of managing the offense on his own accord.

But so far this year, while he’s getting what he wants, his way, Joe’s numbers across the board are down through 9 games of the season.  Is that ALL Joe’s fault?  Absolutely not.  The Ben Grubbs injury hurt Flacco’s effectiveness considerably.  So has the absence of Lee Evans.

But this much is for certain: Cameron has released some of his power and turned the offense over to Joe.  Cam is still calling the plays, as nearly every offensive coordinator does in the NFL, but Flacco, as evidenced solely by the number of times he’s thrown the ball, has enjoyed a season thus far where the club has allowed him to free wheel it MUCH more than in year’s past.

It’s also fair to point out that Cameron continues to be tough on Flacco.  He demands a lot out of him.  Their film review sessions are evidently “thorough and sometimes tense” according to a source and Joe, as much as Cam, studies every mistake he makes and sees the big picture — that his game still needs refinement.

But how much is Flacco willing to let Cameron assist in that refining process?  Is Joe still willing to accept Cameron’s advice and teaching?  Or has he completely tuned his coordinator out?

I’m a Joe Flacco guy.  I think he’s good enough to take the Ravens to a Super Bowl and I still contend that someday in his lifetime in Baltimore, the Ravens will go to the big game with Joe under center.  It could be this year.  Or it could be in three years.

But there are things I’ve seen – and granted, it’s with an eye not nearly as keen for football as guys like John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron – from Flacco this year that bother me.

I see him appearing as if he’s not willing to listen to his offensive coordinator.  I watch him interact with his boss, the person in football he’s supposed to be married to, and I see communication problems — or at the very least, signs of a communication problem.  Maybe it’s just me, but I see obvious strife.  As someone said to me on Monday, “That’s just sort of the way Joe is…”

“That’s just sort of the way Joe is…” isn’t going to cut it when it comes to matters of showing a member of the coaching staff the respect he deserves.

If they have a problem – Cameron and Flacco – and it continues to fester and boil every other game or so, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a blow-up that sends a lightning bolt through the foundation of the team.

Cameron’s coaching for his job over these last 7 regular season games.  He’s a bright guy.  He knows nothing less than a trip to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl will save his job and earn him a new contract.  Flacco is also playing for a new contract down the road, so he’s in a similar boat to Cam — they’re both pre-negotiating right now, trying to show on a week-by-week basis that they’re deserving of continued employment in Baltimore.

I just wonder if Flacco is really going about it all the right way?

Is his relationship with Cameron so scarred that the friction itself is going to preclude the two of them from getting the best out of one another?

If so, that’s a shame.

And since it’s Joe’s offense now, he has to understand more than ever that the whole thing is only as good as the sum of its parts.

If Flacco really IS going to become a true leader, he’ll have to come to grips with the fact that disagreeing with your coordinator behind close doors is one thing — but showing obvious signs of disrespect on the bench, even if that’s “just the way he is”, isn’t the way great leaders are molded.