If you’re one of those who like to play the blame-game, Monday’s dismissal of Cam Cameron offers you a smorgasbord of options on which to feast.
In no specific order, you have the following:
John Harbaugh, the man who employed Cam for the last 4+ seasons, and the person in charge of the on-field product, which includes being in touch with his players and their festering aggravation with one of his coaches.
Steve Bisciotti, who, while rightfully considered in general a “good owner”, has spent a little too much time over the years hob-knobbing with the players to the extent he might be closer with them then he should be.
Joe Flacco, perhaps the main spoke in the Cameron firing-wheel, and the guy who potentially might have suffered the most while working under his now former boss. But, if Cameron was inconsistent as a play-caller and offensive coordinator, Flacco has to wear the same basic scarlet letter, for he, too, hasn’t exactly been a shining beacon of consistency in the last four months.
The Ravens defense, which has been occasionally superb but more often a liability this season, particularly in the final 5 minutes of the team’s most two recent losses to the Steelers and Redskins. True, they were very good earlier in the year against the Chiefs and the Browns and the Chargers. They were also woefully exposed by the Cowboys, Texans, Steelers (with a bum at quarterback) and Redskins.
The Ravens offense, with players in key positions not playing up to par week-in and week-out. I’m all for Jim Caldwell taking over at this point, but I’d be shocked if he can give back to Anquan Boldin that step he’s lost over the last year or so…or turn Michael Oher into a premier pass blocker as a left tackle…or heal Marshal Yanda’s bad ankle within two weeks…or get Torrey Smith to run his routes to completion the way they’re designed in the playbook.
And then, there’s one other name to add to the mix: Ozzie Newsome.
Let the continuing story of “how Cam got canned” be examined with Ozzie’s name in mind, for it’s Newsome who wasn’t able to ink a new deal with his team’s franchise quarterback, thus paving the way for Joe Flacco to play the 2012 campaign as a “lame duck”.
Yes, there always remains the option of the franchise tag for Flacco. But, as any player will tell you, that’s a band-aid – a nice, lucrative one – he’d rather not wear if it’s possible.
The easiest way to start any conversation about Joe Flacco and his contract situation is to simply say this about him and his future in Baltimore: The Ravens want him back in 2013 and Flacco would like to return for a 6th season.
There’s no debating that at this point. The two parties are still in love.
But – and here’s where we start the dissection of how things are off kilter – these are very complicated times in Owings Mills, particularly when it comes to assessing Flacco’s value.
And who’s fault is that?
If you ask Flacco and/or his agent, Joe Linta, they’re going to place the blame squarely on the employer — the Ravens, the offense and, naturally, Cam Cameron.
Linta, as a natural reaction to his Flacco’s contract status being in the spotlight, would argue up and down that with each passing game where the Baltimore offense was stagnant or stuck in neutral because of Cameron’s inconsistency, his client was effectively “losing money”.
Honestly — he’s right.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that his client doesn’t bear some of that responsibility. He, Flacco, that is, might be costing himself money with every incompletion or strip-sack or poor audible.
But the agent would never admit that to the general manager of the team.
Instead – and if you close your eyes and let the movie play out in your head, you’ll hear it for yourself – I’m quite certain with every “new conversation” Linta and Newsome have had over the few months that Joe’s representative has reminded Ozzie in no uncertain terms that Cameron and the on-again, off-again Ravens offense is costing the quarterback big money.
“Ozzie, I respect you and the organization and so does Joe,” Linta is likely saying. ”But you can’t possibly think you’re doing my client a true service by having Cam Cameron operate that offense in such a manner that it’s clearly hindering his qualities as a high-level NFL player. You’ve known for a year now that Cam and Joe can’t exist together in the long run. They’ve tried to make it work and it’s just not going to happen. All you’re doing by trying to force this Cameron-Flacco relationship on both of them is costing Joe Flacco money. And, even though I make little in comparison to my client, you’re costing ME money, too. Get this Cameron thing sorted out and let’s make Joe the $90 million player he deserves to be.”
I imagine a conversation like that has been going on nearly every Monday or so for the last 13 weeks.
(Please see next page)