Flacco at Delaware and who loved coaching up the willing rookie, was fiery with Flacco—in his face, always trying to make it fun.
Over the first two seasons with Jackson, Flacco could curse, bitch, poke fun, and didn’t have to worry about Hue’s feelings. They fought but could laugh about it very soon after and move on. That was the kind of relationship they both wanted.
In 2009, Jackson left to become the offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders and Harbaugh and Cameron agreed to hire Jim Zorn, who had just been fired as the head coach of the Washington Redskins. Zorn and Cameron had both worked their whole careers to become NFL head coaches only to have a multi-year deal go sour after a short stint.
Cameron was told he had five years in Miami. Ownership changed, his initial team went 1-15. He thought he had time and latitude, especially late in the season. He didn’t. He lasted 11 months.
Zorn went to work for Daniel Snyder and the Redskins in 2008 as the successor to Joe Gibbs’ second reign. He lasted two years. Zorn was a football quarterback lifer. He was an excellent pro leading the Seattle Seahawks in the late 1970s and early ‘80s and worked in and out of that organization for almost three decades. He also spent almost a decade in the collegiate game as a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Boise State, Utah State, and the University of Minnesota. And most importantly for Flacco, he played the game at a very high level.
“He knew a lot about football,” Flacco said. “Jim was down to earth, an awesome dude. We had honest conversations about my play and the philosophy of the team and he was always coming from a good place when he criticized me. He saw it in real life, in real time because he’d been back there when the game starts moving.”
Zorn always wanted to hear what Flacco’s opinion was on every play. “What are you seeing?” was his favorite question.
It was no secret that Cameron and Zorn had communication issues. When Zorn was relieved of his responsibilities, word was that Flacco was getting mixed messages and two different ways of handling the offense. Something had to go and in the line of leadership, Harbaugh picked Cameron in early 2011. No one was really sure why Cameron and Zorn butted heads, but both agreed that only one should remain. Cam won the battle.
Flacco was publicly angry, but the message from above was clear: Cam is in charge of the Ravens offense. “Honestly, I thought firing Jim was a bad reflection on me,” said Flacco, who didn’t want to develop a reputation as a coach killer or a difficult