Tag Archive | "Cam Cameron"

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Ravens’ improbable run may not be fate, but sure feels like storybook

Posted on 15 January 2013 by Luke Jones

At some point over the final seven minutes of regulation in Denver on Saturday night, Steve Bisciotti saw the big picture while everyone else wondered if the Ravens’ season was coming to an end after Peyton Manning threw a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas midway through the fourth quarter.

Under the weather and unable to make the trip to Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Ravens owner did something he’d never done before by reaching out to John Harbaugh as the fourth quarter pressed on. Bisciotti knew the head coach wouldn’t see the text message until after the game, of course, but he wanted Harbaugh to know how impressed he was with such a valiant effort against the No. 1 seed Broncos.

“I’ve never texted you during a game,” Harbaugh read to his team following the 38-35 double-overtime win. “We are down 35-28. And I think it’s the best game I’ve ever seen us in the playoffs since 2000. Win or lose, I am so proud of the team and proud of you.”

Though not prophetic in the sense that Bisciotti predicted the final outcome or could foresee what would unfold, the gesture was just the latest in a list of special occurrences that make you wonder about these Ravens. Harbaugh and inside linebacker Ray Lewis have consistently referenced their faith and while I don’t subscribe to the idea that God or any divine being is concerned with the outcome of football games, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support that notion if you so choose.

The Ravens’ run to a second consecutive AFC championship game may not be fate, but it sure feels like a storybook tale, filled with trials, tragedy, and triumph. Perhaps that’s what Bisciotti was acknowledging in reaching out to his head coach in those closing minutes of regulation on Saturday night. Harbaugh couldn’t help but share it with his team following one of the greatest wins in the history of the franchise.

“It was just something I thought the team needed to hear, coming from him,” Harbaugh said. “He is a great leader. Our players love him. They love when he is around. He is an inspiration to all of our guys. To me, this organization, he sets the tone here. It’s a great organization because of his vision. The guys needed to hear that in that moment. I’ll tell you, I think they appreciated hearing it.”

And why wouldn’t they after such a remarkable season, filled with highs and lows?

The Ravens lost their original owner Arthur B. Modell just days before the start of the regular season. The man responsible for the very existence of the franchise here in Baltimore has been memorialized with a simple patch reading “Art” on the team’s jerseys all season long.

Personal tragedy struck young wide receiver Torrey Smith when his younger brother Tevin was killed in a motorcyle accident the night before the Ravens’ Week 3 meeting with the New England Patriots. Unsure if he would play earlier in the day, Smith caught two touchdown passes to lead the Ravens to a 31-30 victory as a national audience marveled at his courage on that Sunday night in September.

Injuries that would have devastated most teams have only strengthened the Ravens’ will as only two defensive players started all 16 games this season. Linebacker Terrell Suggs overcame a torn Achilles tendon in the offseason to return in mid-October before having to play through another debilitating injury when he suffered a torn biceps to begin the month of December. Playing nowhere near full strength all season, Suggs’ two sacks of Manning were critical in Saturday’s divisional-round win.

Ray Lewis, the face of the franchise playing in his 17th season, tore his right triceps on Oct. 14 as nearly everyone but the linebacker thought his season — and potentially his career — was over. Instead, the 37-year-old returned to action just in time for the playoffs and announced he would retire at the end of this “final ride” in the postseason.

A three-game losing streak in December that included the dismissal of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and the promotion of quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell threatened to dismantle the good vibes of a 9-2 start, but the Ravens rebounded to beat the New York Giants in convincing fashion to clinch their second straight AFC North division title in Week 16. An offense described as schizophrenic for most of the season has looked as potent as any in the NFL in disposing of the Indianapolis Colts and outscoring the powerful Denver Broncos in two playoff wins.

It’s rarely been easy or pretty, but here the Ravens stand in the middle of January, one of four remaining teams with a chance of raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the first Sunday in February.

“I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be here,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. “For us to overcome a lot of things, not only injuries but some family problems with Torrey’s family, everything that has happened with our team, I think we all just understand that we’re a family here, and we can lean on each other and depend on each other.”

The highs have been as fun as any in franchise history as “Fourth and 29” and “The Prayer in Thin Air” are words that will now live forever in Baltimore football lore.

Under-the-radar performers such as Corey Graham and Jacoby Jones, signed largely for their special-teams abilities, have been critical to the Ravens’ success in ways few would have envisioned in the offseason. Even the former punchline of the 53-man roster, veteran offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, has finally regained his starting job to bolster an offensive line playing better now than it did all season.

Rookie kicker Justin Tucker, anointed by the Ravens to replace Billy Cundiff after a heartbreaking 32-yard miss in last year’s AFC Championship, rewarded the organization for its decision by nailing the game-winning 47-yard field goal in double overtime Saturday to send Baltimore back to the conference championship game.

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Blame the Mayans? The purple sky is falling in Baltimore…

Posted on 17 December 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Many in the Baltimore Ravens fan base had a community online celebration last Monday morning when offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was fired by head coach John Harbaugh via owner Steve Bisciotti.

“That’ll fix it,” some of the unsophisticated eyes said. “Clearly, Cam was holding Joe Flacco and the offense back.”

It felt like scapegoating then and it feels even less satisfying after yesterday’s 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos in a game where the final score wasn’t indicative of the lopsided nature of the day.

Fifteen days ago the Ravens were 9-2 after the “Hey diddle, diddle” miracle in San Diego. This morning, they’re 9-5 and the beneficiary of a playoff berth by virtue of backing in via the overtime loss of the Pittsburgh Steelers last night in Dallas.

It was hardly a time for celebration.

Hard times have come to the land of pleasant living and I don’t mean the tax rate hike.

Where to begin to assess the train wreck loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos?

Harbaugh called it a “team loss” and he’s right about that. No sense in moving any particular names above the fold.

Quarterback Joe Flacco will shoulder the lion’s share of the blame, as it should be for the quarterback who is playing for a contract amidst what can only be deemed as chaos right now. The offensive line is in tatters, consistently getting beaten on failed run plays and often enough in the passing game to make it difficult for No. 5 to make plays. He hasn’t helped himself with poor judgment and errant throws.

The receiving corps continues to be depleted with the disappearance of Ed Dickson and a concussion suffered by Torrey Smith yesterday.

But the Flacco Pick Six interception to Broncos’ DB Chris Harris at the goal line in the waning seconds of the first half on Sunday will  forever be Ravens’ fans remembrance of an afternoon they’d sooner love to forget.

It was the worst pass of Flacco’s career and soon left him 100 yards away, winded, flailing, gassed and beaten by his own poor judgment. “I made a mistake,” he said. “There’s no other way to put it.”

Not only is Flacco’s stock teetering based on his dismal overall performance over the past month but the whole organization is dancing on the brink of the playoffs and extinction seemingly all at once.

And we’re only halfway through the “Manning Holiday Tour” as Eli Manning comes to Baltimore this week as the only guy getting more abuse than Flacco. The defending world champs were thoroughly trounced

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New offensive coordinator Caldwell planning to call plays from booth

Posted on 13 December 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Holding court with the media for the first time since being promoted to the Ravens’ offensive coordinator position, Jim Caldwell plans to remain in the same spot during game days as he did as the quarterbacks coach.

Caldwell worked from the upstairs booth during previous games and plans to remain there in his first game since succeeding Cam Cameron in the play-calling duties. Wide receivers coach Jim Hostler will then be on the sideline and relay Caldwell’s calls to quarterback Joe Flacco

“That’s my plan, but obviously, that could change,” Caldwell said. “Whatever John [Harbaugh] wants me to do, that’s where I’ll be. At this point, that’s where I plan to be.”

Calling plays from upstairs will not only give Caldwell a better view of what the defense is trying to do but will keep him away from the chaotic nature of an NFL sideline with players and staff members often chirping in the heat of the moment during game action.

He has received tips from Hostler, who served as the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers in 2007. Despite having never served as an offensive coordinator before, Caldwell expressed confidence in his ability to call the plays, citing how the offense always runs through quarterbacks and how he’s spent a large portion of his NFL career coaching that position.

Caldwell was the quarterbacks coach for Peyton Manning in Indianapolis for seven years before becoming his head coach.

Several players have expressed optimism that the offense will employ a quicker tempo than used in recent weeks as the no-huddle offense had virtually disappeared. Caldwell didn’t specifically confirm whether the uptempo offense would be making its return on a more significant basis.

“One of the good things, I think, about our system is the fact that it’s versatile,” Caldwell said. “We can do whatever it takes. It just depends on who we are playing, how we want to attack them and what we think best suites our personnel. We kind of bounce in and out of it, but every game will take on its own personality.”

With the Ravens taking on Manning and the red-hot Broncos, winners of eight consecutive games, Caldwell and the offense know they will need to produce at a high level as the Baltimore defense continues to be ravaged by injuries.

Asked to share his philosophy for leading the Ravens offense, the new coordinator offered a simple response.

“Score as many as you can as often as you can,” said Caldwell, smiling at reporters.

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All eyes on Flacco as he begins next phase of NFL career

Posted on 12 December 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — It looked like the typical Wednesday in Owings Mills as Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco stepped to the podium to meet with the media, but the circumstances had never been more different.

No matter how you feel about Flacco and where he ranks in the hierarchy of NFL quarterbacks, all eyes will be on him for the remainder of the season as the 27-year-old begins the next phase of his career without offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. It’s no secret the two struggled to coexist as the years progressed, even if Flacco downplayed that perception in his first interview since Cameron was fired on Monday.

Some think the quarterback has plateaued because of Cameron’s inconsistent play-calling, conservative nature, and reputation for being a control freak while others wonder if Flacco simply isn’t good enough to handle more responsibility within an offensive system or to take his game to another level.

With quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell promoted to offensive coordinator, Flacco will have his first chance to prove just how good he can be without Cameron’s involvement this Sunday against the Denver Broncos and their fourth-ranked defense. And if the Ravens are to snap a two-game losing streak and right the ship in time to make a deep postseason run, Flacco must take command of an offense in transition and desperately needing leadership and consistency at the most important position on the field.

Flacco acknowledged his part in Cameron’s dismissal when asked if he feels any responsibility for the coordinator’s demise. Of course, he’s not the only one to blame as inconsistent play from the offensive line and wide receivers has also plagued the Baltimore offense this season.

“I think as an offense, we have to look at ourselves and see what we can do to be better,” Flacco said. “Obviously, we weren’t good enough.”

It wasn’t supposed to be this way after last season’s AFC Championship loss in which the Baltimore quarterback outplayed future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady despite Lee Evans’ failure to catch the game-winning touchdown and Billy Cundiff’s subsequent miss of the game-tying 32-yard field goal. The silver lining was Flacco’s 306-yard, two-touchdown performance that was to springboard him and the Ravens offense to bigger and better things in the final year of his rookie contract.

Instead, the 2012 season has brought much of the same from the 2008 first-round pick — a few great performances, some decent games, and still too many bad ones — as the offense hasn’t taken the significant leap many believed the Ravens needed with the anticipated decline of the long-vaunted defense. Looking elite at home with a 100.7 passer rating in six home games, Flacco has struggled on the road (a 75.4 rating) and still struggles to protect the football as he’s thrown a tolerable nine interceptions but has also fumbled eight times.

Leading the league’s 16th-ranked passing offense, Flacco has completed 60 percent of his passes, has averaged 7.2 yards per attempt, and has thrown for 3,220 yards and 18 touchdowns. Aside from being on pace to set a new career high in passing yards, Flacco has posted numbers mostly in line with his career averages. Good, but not great and certainly not worthy of the $100 million contract he desires.

General manager Ozzie Newsome and owner Steve Bisciotti shouldn’t be swayed too dramatically over Flacco’s performance for the remainder of the season — barring a deep postseason run — but Cameron’s dismissal is a clear sign of the Ravens wanting to see what they really have with their franchise quarterback before deciding how much they ultimately invest in a long-term contract, regardless of when it’s ultimately signed. For now, it appears Flacco has received a new lease on life with the promotion of Caldwell, who has never held the title of offensive coordinator in his career.

“Joe seems like he’s happy about it,” left tackle Michael Oher said. “I’ve seen him smiling and stuff, so I’m pretty sure he’s OK with everything.”

All accounts point to Caldwell and Flacco holding a good relationship in their first season working together, and the former Colts head coach was credited by current Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning Wednesday for helping him take his play to another level in their years together in Indianapolis. However, it’s been difficult to pinpoint any particular part of Flacco’s game that’s noticeably improved this season while working with Caldwell. And there’s no telling how that relationship might be tested as inevitable disagreements occur over play calls and philosophy.

Whether it’s the possible reintroduction of the no-huddle offense that’s virtually disappeared in recent weeks or just a different voice and mind calling the plays, the Ravens offense isn’t expected to be reinvented in any dramatic way and how could it entering Week 15? But a change of this magnitude will force all offensive coaches and players to bring a renewed level of focus to account for potential growing pains.

“The biggest thing we’ve talked about is just coming together as an offense and everybody helping and giving their input because we’re going to need it,” Flacco said, “It’s a quick change, it’s late in the year, and it’s going to require all of us to be focused and work hard.”

Even with Cameron out of the picture and the possible mental boost that might bring for the quarterback — any employee finally escaping the thumb of an undesirable boss could attest to the notion — the flaws and shortcomings of the quarterback’s game are still there.

Flacco has struggled to throw the deep ball as he and speedy wide receiver Torrey Smith have frequently failed to be on the same page. The quarterback has been inconsistent in making adjustments at the line of scrimmage, either in changing plays or protections.

And his shortcomings with pocket awareness have led to sack-and-strip opportunities that have led to turnovers in two straight games. Of course, an inconsistent offensive line — now facing the possibility of no Marshal Yanda for the time being — hasn’t helped matters in that department, but the Ravens have acknowledged the need for Flacco to be more protective of the football in those situations. Entering this Sunday’s game, Flacco has fumbled 47 times in 77 regular-season games while Manning — a quarterback also lacking mobility — has fumbled just 59 times in 221 career regular-season contests.

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Bisciotti vs. Angelos — Oh, those meddling owners of Baltimore sports teams…

Posted on 12 December 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Unlike most sportswriters and “journalists” around Baltimore, when you begin one of my masterpieces on sports ownership and civic expectations, at least you know where I stand. As a lifelong fan of the Colts, Orioles, Bullets/Wizards, Capitals and Ravens, it’s been my experience that nothing affects my fan experience more than who currently owns these franchises.

I have made it my life’s work via owning WNST.net to study these sports owners and how these local teams operate, function, thrive and compete.

And oft-times, checking their sobriety level and true intentions, goals and desires for their ownership becomes a guiding force for their popularity, success and profit. Somewhere deep inside of every Bob Irsay, Abe Pollin or Edward Bennett Williams, there’s a hunger for something intangible that their millions of dollars of U.S. currency can’t really buy – not that feeding their egos and wallets simultaneously would be turned down by any of these men.

But they want to be heroes. They want to be winners in a way that no court case or big sale or transaction can be felt in the traditional business world. They’re sportsmen. They want to save the city. They want to have that “one moment in time” feeling of watching the confetti drop while they toast a championship and host a ticker tape parade. Billy Joel once sang about them in a song called “Big Shot.”

No one associated with big-league sports ever lost money owning a team in Baltimore, with or without championships or competitive teams. The Colts, Orioles, Ravens all sold for more than their original purchase price. So, making money comes with the territory, even if you wreck the franchise for the fanbase, as has been witnessed here with Peter Angelos since 1993.

But I’ll also say this much: I also personally know some very good, civic-minded people who lost hundreds of thousands – if not MILLIONS of dollars – trying to run minor-leagues sports franchises in Baltimore since 1968, when I entered the planet and the local sports scene. The losses of Skipjacks, Clippers, Bandits, Lightning, Spirit, Claws, Blades, et. al. means there were some nice guys like Bill Stealey, Tom Ebright or Mike Caggiano losing a helluva lotta money on a hobby and sports dream gone wrong.

These are businesses. And as a business owner who has taken on immense risk buying and operating WNST over the years, I respect and honor the amount of work it takes to make a profit and keep customers and the community at-large happy.

I respect that Peter Angelos once bought the Baltimore Orioles to win championships and be the local hero owner. I also have watched him humiliate and degrade a whole generation of passionate Orioles fans and piss on the brand for better part of two decades with equal parts wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

This week, Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens maneuvered quite heavy-handedly behind the scenes to oust offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, while head coach John Harbaugh took the podium to make an announcement that it was pretty clear he was uncomfortable with in just about every way.

As a fan, all I’ve ever asked for is accountability and knowing what the intentions of the owner are so I can tell Baltimore sports fans what’s really happening.

It really speaks volumes when you watch the way the two franchises in Baltimore weave through a sports calendar with incredibly expensive, risky and “no turning back” decisions.

And let’s make this really clear: Steve Bisciotti and Peter Angelos run their franchises and make the last call on virtually every decision. They’ve earned that right because they took the

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Caldwell entrusted to deal with same problems left behind by Cameron

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after their highest point total on the road all season, the Ravens finally decided they needed to go in a new direction Monday by firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Discussion will continue over the circumstances and motivation behind dismissing the long-maligned assistant with three games remaining in the regular season, but coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens will now entrust quarterbacks coach and former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell to do what Cameron was unable to accomplish — regardless of who was to blame — in guiding an up-and-down offense during the 2012 season. At times, the unit has looked as good as any in the league, particularly when playing at M&T Bank Stadium. Other times, the offense has looked as inept as the worst attacks in the NFL.

In the Ravens’ eyes, Cameron wasn’t going to figure it out, so they decided to hand the reins to Caldwell with hopes of salvaging what still appears to be an enviable position with a 9-4 team despite its current two-game losing streak. It was becoming more and more apparent that Baltimore needed a new vision and voice to lead its offense, but the decision to make the change at this late juncture of the season was very unlike an organization that rarely makes decisions with haste. It smelled of desperation in not wanting to waste an opportunity.

“What we’re trying to do is just to get about that much better,” said Caldwell, holding his thumb and index finger roughly an inch apart. “That’s about it. And that’s a difficult task, obviously, trying to get that done in this league. That’s what we’re shooting for.”

It’s a daunting challenge, indeed, for a man with extensive coaching experience at the collegiate and professional levels but none of it coming as an offensive coordinator. Caldwell tutored future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning — or was it the other way around? — for seven years before taking over as his head coach for three years, which included a trip to the Super Bowl following the 2009 season, but he never called the plays for Manning and the high-powered Colts offense.

There’s no predicting how the 57-year-old coach will respond to the pressures of making in-game play calls with only seconds to make a decision and other coaches or players chattering in his ear. According to Harbaugh, the Ravens haven’t determined whether Caldwell will call plays from the upstairs coaches’ booth or the sideline. It’s a risky proposition trading in a known commodity — flawed as it may have been — for an alternative with question marks and very little time to adjust to his new title.

“Jim is qualified. Jim is a heck of a coach,” Harbaugh said. “And we have a heck of a staff. They’ll do a great job, and I am looking forward to seeing how it plays out.”

While fans may have visions of the offense finally being cured with Cameron no longer calling the plays, Caldwell will deal with the same problems that have plagued the Ravens all season. He’ll try to overcome an underwhelming offensive line, a group of wide receivers that struggles to gain separation consistently, and a quarterback who’s struggled with pre-snap adjustments, pocket awareness, and finding overall consistency.

How much Cameron impacted those areas is up for debate, but to assume Caldwell will significantly remedy those weaknesses in a matter of a few weeks isn’t realistic — or even fair. The Ravens’ offensive problems run deeper than their former coordinator, and we’ll see whether players are able to rise to the occasion with the shadow of Cameron no longer a built-in excuse for their shortcomings.

I suspect we’ll see much of the same offensively as the Ravens desperately need to improve their offensive line and take a long look at their future at the wide receiver position. As much as some of his toughest critics might hesitate to admit it, Cameron wasn’t the left tackle failing to protect the blind side, the receiver dropping passes or failing to get open, or the quarterback turning the ball over at critical times. There are only so many protection schemes and play designs that can mask talent deficiencies, so it will be interesting to see what Caldwell can do.

“We all take responsibility for that when something like this takes place,” Harbaugh said. “It’s real. You’re talking about anytime guys leave a program who put their heart and soul into the thing — be it a coach or player — that is real. The burden falls on everybody who’s still here.”

As for what we’ll see offensively, the Ravens don’t plan to change their offensive system, nor would it be possible to make such drastic changes without a full offseason to prepare. A rebirth of the no-huddle offense that’s virtually disappeared over the last four weeks is a distinct possibility given Caldwell’s background with Manning in Indianapolis, but the Ravens weren’t exactly thriving with the up-tempo attack in road games earlier this season and the defense was paying a major price as a result.

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Harbaugh’s full statement on the dismissal of Cam Cameron

Posted on 10 December 2012 by WNST Staff

Here is Ravens coach John’s Harbaugh’s official statement on the firing of Cam Cameorn and promotion of quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell to the offensive coordinator position:

“I have made a coaching change, and Jim Caldwell will take over as the offensive coordinator, which includes play-calling duties.

“My charge – our responsibility as a coaching staff – is to maximize the opportunities for our team to win, and we can still reach all of our goals for this season. We have a motto we follow on this team: W.I.N. – What’s Important Now – and what’s important now is to find ways to get better, win the AFC North and advance to the playoffs.

“With our coaches and players, the solution is in the building. We are going to make the most of our opportunities going forward, and this change gives us a better possibility to achieve our goals.

“There is a very human side to this. Cam is my friend, he taught me a lot about coaching, and he is an outstanding coach. Personally, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a coach. Cam has been a significant contributor to all of our successes over the past four, almost five, seasons. Deservedly, he is highly-regarded, and we owe thanks to him for what he did for the Ravens.

“It’s not about fair or unfair, right or wrong. My responsibility is to the whole team and what’s best for them right now. We need a change. Our plan and our goals are to win games, win our division and get to the playoffs.

“We have a lot of work to do, and we have the coaches and players in place to achieve our goals this season. We are working on that right now. I’m excited about where we are and where we are going.”

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Ravens fire Cameron, promote Caldwell to offensive coordinator

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Luke Jones

Less than 24 hours after suffering their second consecutive loss to drop their record to 9-4, the Ravens have fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in his fifth season with the organization.

Former Indianapolis Colts head coach and current Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell will assume the offensive coordinator duties.

The move comes in a season filled with offensive inconsistency in which the Ravens have averaged 34.0 points per game at home but only 18.1 points per game in seven contests away from M&T Bank Stadium. Despite falling to the Washington Redskins in a 31-28 final in Landover on Sunday, the offensive output marked the Ravens’ best in a road game all season.

In their typical schizophrenic fashion, the Ravens scored three touchdowns in the first half and ran for 186 yards against the NFL’s fourth-best run defense but started the second half with two turnovers and two three-and-outs to keep Washington within striking distance before the Redskins ultimately tied the game in the final minute of regulation and won in overtime.

“My charge – our responsibility as a coaching staff – is to maximize the opportunities for our team to win, and we can still reach all of our goals for this season,” head coach John Harbaugh said in a team statement. “With our coaches and players, the solution is in the building. We are going to make the most of our opportunities going forward, and this change gives us a better possibility to achieve our goals.

“It’s not about fair or unfair, right or wrong. My responsibility is to the whole team and what’s best for them right now. We need a change. Our plan and our goals are to win games, win our division and get to the playoffs.”

Entering the season with heightened expectations in quarterback Joe Flacco’s fifth season at the helm, the Ravens offense has failed to take off in compensating for a defense that’s regressed because of personnel losses in the offseason and several significant injuries during the 2012 season. Baltimore entered Week 14 ranked 19th in total offense, ninth in points per game, 23rd in rush offense, and 15th in passing offense.

Caldwell will now take over as the offensive coordinator as he finishes his first season with the Ravens. Hired in the offseason to be the quarterbacks coach after the position went unfilled last season, the 57-year-old has never held the title of offensive coordinator at any point in his collegiate and NFL coaching career.

He spent three seasons as the head coach in Indianapolis after seven years as the Colts’ quarterbacks coach in which he worked with future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. Caldwell’s influence was considered instrumental during spring organized team activities and training camp as the Ravens attempted to implement the no-huddle attack as a major part of their offensive philosophy earlier this season, but Baltimore has used the approach far less frequently in recent weeks.

“We have a lot of work to do, and we have the coaches and players in place to achieve our goals this season,” Harbaugh said. “We are working on that right now. I’m excited about where we are and where we are going.”

Cameron was long maligned by critics and often cast as the scapegoat for the team’s offensive struggles. The Ravens’ offensive line has performed inconsistently, wide receivers have struggled to gain separation, and Flacco has thrown nine interceptions and fumbled eight times this season.

A debate had existed for several years over just how much freedom Flacco had to change plays at the line of scrimmage and make adjustments on the fly, with Cameron saying the quarterback could make those choices in contrast to others wondering if the 2008 first-round pick truly had enough control to operate.

Expecting wholesale changes in the offensive system in the final weeks of the season would be unrealistic, but the most notable change could be a renewed commitment to the no-huddle offense. It’s also worth noting Flacco is in the midst of the final year of his rookie contract, and the Ravens will be forced to make difficult decisions in terms of a long-term deal and the potential use of the franchise tag should they be unable to reach an agreement with Flacco’s agent Joe Linta before the start of free agency in March.

A coaching change in the middle of the season is a rare occurrence from the Ravens organization but not completely unprecedented. During the 2006 season in which the Ravens finished a franchise-best 13-3, former head coach Brian Billick fired offensive coordinator Jim Fassel following two straight losses that dropped the team’s record to 4-2 and took over play-calling duties for the remainder of the season.

Harbaugh will speak to the media at 4 p.m. for his weekly Monday press conference in Owings Mills.

“Cam is my friend, he taught me a lot about coaching, and he is an outstanding coach,” Harbaugh said. “Personally, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a coach.”

Speculation first began regarding the possibility of the Ravens making a coaching change Monday morning when Dan Patrick reported the possibility of a shakeup on his morning show. The coaching change was first reported by ABC2 in Baltimore.

 

 

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Report: Change potentially coming to Ravens coaching staff

Posted on 10 December 2012 by WNST Staff

On the heels of a 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins, the Ravens are reportedly on the verge of shaking up their coaching ranks.

According to Dan Patrick during his Monday morning radio show, the Ravens “will shake things up today or tomorrow” and the change would come on the “side of ball that you wouldn’t expect.” Former NFL coach Tony Dungy joined Patrick during the program, and it’s worth mentioning that Dungy formerly worked with Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell for years in Indianapolis.

A source told WNST.net’s Drew Forrester that coach John Harbaugh had been in a closed-door meeting Monday morning at the team’s Owings Mills facility, but that was not unusual for a day following a game.

The clear choice speculated most heavily is the future of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who has been maligned throughout his five-year tenure in Baltimore. However, Patrick’s comment suggesting the change would come on the side of the ball that one wouldn’t predict could lead you to believe a change on the defensive staff is coming.

Stay with WNST.net throughout the day as this story continues to develop ahead of Harbaugh’s 4 p.m. press conference in Owings Mills.

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Rarefied air of Steelers Week for Ravens is to be savored not soured

Posted on 26 November 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

With five games left in the 2012 campaign, the Baltimore Ravens’ 9-2 record is a textbook testament to never quitting and having some special, battle-tested leaders who stare down adversity undaunted — and never, ever become unnerved.

Somehow, someway – even on 4th & 29 – Joe Flacco can manage to walk into a huddle, call nothing but go routes and still throw a check down and the other 10 guys in the huddle including Ray Rice can buy in on saving the game with some kind of miracle. Once you’ve seen that play work, there’s a little part of you that believes that all things are possible for this beleaguered group of purple warriors.

Eleven games into this journey, there’s still a legitimate debate about the merits and quality of this year’s team. And on a play-by-play, drive-by-drive basis it’s almost inexplicable that this team could be 9-2 and holding an almost insurmountable three-game lead in the AFC North. Almost every facet of the Ravens’ production on the field has come under scrutiny or provided some inefficiency, ineffectiveness or failure at some point.

But there they are at 9-2 and still in the throes of possibility regarding home field advantage throughout the postseason.

Week after week the Ravens seem to be on the ropes. And week after week I enter the post-game press conference watching John Harbaugh try to explain how the team won another game when the previous 60 minutes of football looked like a sloppy box of chocolates in the sun.

You never know what you’re doing to get.

Clearly, no one wants to play the Ravens in Baltimore. The home field advantage in The Purple Crabcake is now the best in the football. Is that the noise of the fans? Is it home cooking? Is it the comfort level of Joe Flacco and the offense for play calling? Is it the visiting team(s) coming into M&T Bank Stadium knowing the odds are long simply on reputation?

We don’t have the answers to this Jekyll & Hyde act. We merely witness it and remain alternately flustered and floored after yet another unlikely victory.

It’s almost like watching the Baltimore Orioles this summer – you don’t question how it gets done, you simply enjoy the result. Just smile and hold on…

Other than knowing that over the history of the NFL home teams have always dominated and are always given three points in Las Vegas just for walking out of the home locker rooms, the Ravens’ bi-polar domination at home and sleepwalking on the road remains an unsolved mystery in progress.

On the road, the Ravens are an ugly bunch – a scuffling, stumbling, punting and yet more-times-than-not still victorious bunch. From Cleveland to San Diego, from Pittsburgh to Kansas City, the Ravens have been on the ropes and could’ve easily perished in the 4th quarter of all four games.

And 5-6 would look, smell and taste a whole lot different than 9-2.

But what we saw on Sunday was an all-timer.

The Ray Rice “Hey Diddle Diddle” 4th & 29 in San Diego will go down in history as one of the most amazing plays of this generation. (And we’re still not even sure if it really was a first down? And we’re pretty sure Anquan Boldin could’ve been flagged for a block to the back and unnecessary roughness. He still might hear from Park Avenue after that one.)

But when Flacco, Rice and Torrey Smith aren’t create miracles, they’re walking off the field far too often on the road frustrated after another failed 3rd and something. Or going 130 minutes at a clip without scoring a road touchdown.

The same offense and personnel that is so fluid in Baltimore routinely sputters on the road.

The defense, which over the years has earned a legendary status led by Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs, has been hit hard this season by a myriad

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