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Chapter 15: Dancing on The Edge of Chaos?

Posted on 26 January 2018 by Nestor Aparicio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People are going to believe what they want to believe. It’s what I believe is best going forward for our offense and for our football team. That’s not to say anybody can’t do the job or didn’t do the job. Cam was doing a heck of a job here – doing a heck of a job here for a long time. Nobody knows that better than me, and nobody has stated that more times. I believe that. I also believe that right now at this time, the timing says this is the best thing, and this is what we’re going to do.”

– John Harbaugh (December 10, 2012)

 

 

THE SHORT RIDE HOME FROM Fed Ex Field after an excruciating loss was particularly disturbing for John Harbaugh. On the bus he started thinking about where the Baltimore Ravens would be in the coming weeks if things remained the same and this team continued to perform inconsistently. He’d been thinking about the end of this season since the end of last season. Harbaugh was a big picture guy with all of his assistant coaches. It’s the NFL – Not For Long. Change is inevitable.

But when exactly is the right time to make a glacial movement in philosophy? When, exactly, do you decide to decide to make a change in personnel? And how do you know if it’s the right decision?

“I was on the bus back from the Redskins game, and I just did it,” Harbaugh said. “I just decided this is what we needed to do.”

Twelve hours later, head coach John Harbaugh brought his longtime friend, former boss and current offensive coordinator Cam Cameron into his office in Owings Mills and fired him. Later in the afternoon, Harbaugh did his usual Monday press conference.

“We’ve replaced Cam [Cameron] with Jim Caldwell,” he began. “It’s been something that we went through last night and this morning and had a conversation with Cam real early this morning and then with Jim. And I just want to say that Cam Cameron has done an excellent job here over the last, almost, five years as our offensive coordinator. The record proves that. When you take a look at what’s been accomplished on offense for the last four years – the games that have been won, the points that have been scored, and really, by every measurement – Cam is a very good football coach. He is a loyal, hard-working guy. He’s a great friend. Obviously, it’s a difficult thing, personally, to do something and make a move like that with any coach, especially guys that you’ve been battling with for all these years, and Cam has been right in there battling. He has been a member of this team, and I’m proud of what he has accomplished here. At this time, the move is made to give us a chance to be the best that we can be. And that’s not saying anybody can’t do it, but it’s just an opportunity to try to get this thing going and become the best offense and the best team we can be, and we feel like it’s what is best for the team at this time. And, that’s why we made the move. There’s no more to it than that. We’ll go forward with that. So, Jim will take over. That started this morning. He’s working on the game plan with the rest of the staff. The rest of the staff is on board, and we’ll go to work like we always do and see how it plays out.”

In trying to piece together the story of how it had gotten to this point, this desperate place where Harbaugh felt he had no other option but to fire Cameron on the bus ride home from Fed Ex Field in Week 14 of the season, you have to go back to the biggest of big picture philosophies in Owings Mills.

“What gives us the best chance to win the Super Bowl?”

Much like when Bisciotti fired Billick nearly five years earlier, or when Billick fired his pal and offensive coordinator Jim Fassel during a bye week in 2006, this was as much about the team as it was any one or two issues, disagreements, or personal relationships.

The truth? It was hard to find anyone in the building who truly trusted, fully understood or had an ideal two-way communication

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Rice endorses use of Tyrod Taylor in offense

Posted on 24 November 2013 by WNSTV

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Dickerson walk off 5-30-13

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Orioles Season – 1/3 In

Posted on 04 June 2013 by Tom Federline

They are hangin’. They are a team. They have an offense. They have a defense. The “Comeback Kids”. “It’s not over until we say it’s over” or “unless Jim Johnson blows a save”.  Pitching is suspect – but they have arms down on the farm or Duquette will go find someone. It is encouraging. It is fun to follow. It is frustrating. All the makings of another run! Expected this year versus surprised last year.

54 games into the 2012 season, O’s were 31-23. The line-up at that time consisted of: Andino 2B, Chavez LF, Hardy SS, Jones CF, Wieters C, Reynolds 1B, Davis DH, Betemit 3B, Pearce/or whomever in RF (Markakis was out). Pitching was “en fuego”, minus Arietta.
54 games into the 2013 season, O’s were 30 -24. Current line-up: McClouth LF, Machado 3B, Markakis RF, Jones CF, Davis 1B, Wieters C, Hardy SS, Pearce DH, Flaherty 2b. Pitching is still finding it’s way. But give me the 2013 boys anyday. The only position player we are really missing from last year is Andino – 2b is the current weak link (offensively).

What is with the first 5 guys in the batting order around .300 or better? I do not recall that occurring on any Orioles team – ever. Hitting is contagious. Let’s just hope the pitching heats up, when (if) the bats cool off. Chris “the Hulk” Davis, is simply in a serious groove. Machado is living up to the hype – his own and the medias. McClouth leading off, Markakis in the 3-hole, with Hardy and Wieters taking turns getting hot. The offense is a pleasant surprise. Currently, they all appear to be on the same “Wavelength” – Van Morrison.

Now the pitching……….has the blood pressure escalating. We need Chen! Can we get Guthrie back? What is with Jake Arietta? Goodbye and good riddance – Strope Me Strope Me. Don’t come back until you know how to wear your hat and throw strikes. I think Troy Patton was complaining of a sore back also. Why can’t Darren O’Day pitch in every game? Why can’t anyone in the bullpen pitch everyday? “Whoever is hot”, according to Buck-Buck. Which he is not playing out. I am so tired of hearing – “The bullpen needs a rest, they are worn out.” Get out of town sports media and O’s coaching – the bullpen boys get paid to warm-up and throw at tops – 10 pitches a night. Get out there and pitch! Earn your pay! Sometimes the pitching is lights out – majority of the time it appears they are throwing batting practice.

The pitching and/or Wieters getting hurt are the only curve balls that could hurt the O’s chances for October ball. Or if Davis changes testing labs. But the O’s have Brady, so they should have that covered. O’s fever and more Orange Kool-aid is being served around the Baltimore area. Nice to see a predominantly orange hue around the ballpark. Still enjoy 15,000 O’s fans versus a packed house with people on the cell phone or in idle chit-chat.

AL East – Auuuugh! Gonna be a rough one. Anybody but the Red Sux. What happens when the steroid boys come back in Spankme land? It was only a matter of time for the TB pitching to take hold. I think classless Toronto will drop.
Positives: the offense and defense. The comebacks, last Wednesday night vs. the Nats, YKM? Negatives: Jim Johnson collapse -3rd week in May. Overall pitching not holding up. Gary Thorne “in our side”, is still announcing games.
Seize the Moment – O’s fans. The Orioles have a ball team and a manager. The summer of 2013 just got hotter.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Bring Back B-Mac

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

 

When it comes to the relationship between the Ravens and left tackle Bryant McKinnie, there’s a lot of water under the bridge, and it’s probably fair to guess that neither side is feeling a whole lot of trust in or loyalty to the other. That, said, it’s becoming more and more clear with each passing day of the NFL off-season that McKinnie and the Ravens need each other.

 

It’s not as though the Ravens failure to land a starting left tackle in the draft should be a surprise to anyone. Sitting with the 32nd pick overall makes it tough to put together the type of package that could get a team into a position to land a tackle in whom they could have a lot of faith right away. That may have been even truer in this year’s draft where the top tackles were flying off the board in spots usually reserved for quarterbacks and franchise changing play makers.

The debate over where Joe Flacco fits in the hierarchy of NFL quarterback talent has been raging since Flacco’s first season in the league, and a Super Bowl MVP and a $100 million contract have only helped to add fuel to the arguments on both sides.

Clearly Flacco’s regular season statistics don’t measure up against the NFL’s “best of the best” at the QB position. On the other side of the argument however, throughout his career Flacco has seen at least a 40% turnover on his offensive line each year, and substantial turnover at the receiver position too. Chemistry certainly means something when formulating a complex NFL passing offense, and the Ravens haven’t prioritized fostering chemistry for their young franchise QB.

Ironically, it was a shake up on the offensive line to begin the playoffs that, perhaps more than any other factor, set the tone for the Ravens successful run to a Super Bowl title last season. The promotion of McKinnie to the starting left tackle improved the offensive line exponentially by moving Michael Oher to right tackle where he was an upgrade over Kelechi Osemele, and by moving the displaced Osemele to the left guard where he too was an upgrade over the revolving door of “answers” the Ravens had fielded at that spot throughout the regular season. Understandably, any move at left tackle for the Ravens that involves Oher moving from right tackle and/or Osemele moving from left guard will be seen as taking multiple steps back. The retirement of center Matt Birk only serves to compound those concerns.

Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome has earned the trust of the fans, and reinforced that trust this off-season with a number of “game changing” acquisitions. After experiencing a substantial defection/exile of talent in the early stages of the off-season, redemption came quickly for the Ravens GM via the additions of a number of talented veterans. Unfortunately for the Ravens new $100 million man Flacco, all of those pick-ups came on the defensive side of the ball.

The secondary market has typically been good to the Ravens and to Ozzie Newsome. Every year as players find their way to new locations through free agency and the draft, a number of other players become displaced by those acquisitions. The Ravens have been good at finding serviceable, even high level talent on this secondary market, especially during the Joe Flacco / John Harbaugh era. With the number of left tackles available in free agency and early in the draft it seemed logical to wait and see what kind of secondary tackle market might develop. Now that the dust has settled though, outside of Roger Saffold (Rams) and maybe King Dunlap (Eagles), the secondary market on left tackles doesn’t look quite as promising as one might have hoped. And let’s face it, if Saffold and Dunlap were sure things their teams probably wouldn’t have been so anxious to replace them.

The market for McKinnie has been slow to non-existent too, so it appears that the time has come for the Ravens and McKinnie to swallow a bit of pride and find their ways back to one another. It doesn’t seem that either have any better options. Then the Ravens can focus on the business of trying to find a 2nd and/or 3rd receiver candidate that’ll hopefully provide more upside than TJ Houshmandzadeh or Lee Evans…unless they believe that Tandon Doss is more ready to break out than he’s shown to this point in his NFL career.

Here’s a quick look at the Ravens revolving door of pass blockers and pass catchers during the Joe Flacco era:

LT: 08-Gaither, 09- Gaither, 10 – Oher, 11 – McKinnie, 12 – Oher, 12 (PO) – McKinnie 13 – ?

LG: 08- Grubbs, 09- Grubbs, 10- Grubbs, 11- Grubbs/ Gurode, 12 – Harewood, Reid, 12 (PO) – Osemele, 13 – ?

C: 08- Brown, 09- Birk, 10- Birk, 11- Birk, 12 – Birk, 13 – Gradkowski

RG: 08- Chester/Yanda, 09- Chester/Yanda, 10- Chester, 11- Yanda, 12 – Yanda, 13 – Yanda

RT: 08- Adam Terry/ Willie Anderson (TE), 09- Oher, 10- Yanda, 11-Oher, 12 – Osemele, 12 (PO) – Oher, 13 – ?

FB: 08- Neal, 09- McClain, 10- McClain, 11- Leach, 12 – Leach, 13 – Leach?

RB: 08- McGahee/McClain, 09- Rice/McGahee, 10- Rice/McGahee, 11- Rice/Williams, 12 – Rice/Pierce

TE: 08- Heap/Anderson 09- Heap, 10- Heap/Dickson, 11- Dickson/Pitta, 12 – Pitta/Dickson, 13 – Pitta/Dickson

WR1: 08- Mason, 09- Mason, 10- Mason/Boldin , 11- Boldin, 12 – Boldin, 13 – Smith

WR2: 08- Clayton, 09- Clayton, 10- Mason/Boldin, 11- T. Smith, 12 – Smith, 13 – Jones

WR3: 08- Williams, 09- Clayton, 10- Houshmandzadeh, 11- Evans/L.Williams?, 12 – Jones, 13 – Doss?

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Flacco: “I believe in myself and I believe in this team”

Posted on 23 December 2012 by WNSTV

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Flacco - cameron

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One Down – One More to Go

Posted on 12 December 2012 by Tom Federline

First, let me get this out of my system………12-12-12. 10-10-10 (no, not the fertilizer – good stuff though), 11-11-11, pretty cool. Today is the last time we’ll be able to write the same number sequence for the month-day-year in our lifetime. The world hasn’t ended yet or is that like in 9 days? 12-12-12. 12-12-12. I dig it. 

“One down” – it’s about time. “Talk to ya Later” – (The Tubes) – Camera Cameron. See ya! Adios! Sayonara! Go repress another teams offense. You are done stifling the Ravens. Now, “one more to go” – if they would only get rid of Horribaugh. Whoa, asking for way to much at once for that one. Savor the moment and enjoy it. I did! If you have been following this blog and/or know me………..I am not a fan of Camera Cameron or John Horribaugh. For 3 years, I have expressed my concerns, hoping for a change. Well, we sure got one on Monday. Thank you Ravens front office (2 years to late though). 

Finally, let Flacco run the show. Jim Caldwell – all you should have to do is steer the boat. All Flacco has to do is go head to head, mano-y-mano against possibly one of the better field generals in football history this coming Sunday. Embrace it Joseph. It’s your time to shine. Your time to cash in. Your time to add a zero on a new long term contract. Nobody there to hold you down.

 Cameron is not the sole reason, the Ravens haven’t made it to the Promised Land these past few years. But he sure has assisted in delaying success. I never brought into the “We have a plan for Ray Rice.” Or “We have to be selective in our down field chances.” Or  – I’m calling this game in a matter so that I won’t lose my job. All I saw were missed opportunities. Hello Ravens front office, you may have waited to long and you may have squandered precious time with your veterans, i.e. Matt Birk, Ray-Ray, Ed Reed, etc. The Ravens had and have a loaded potential offense. Now let’s hope it’s recognized. 

 Will Mr. Blue Hen finally emerge from his feathers? Does he have “next level leadership qualities” in him? Guess we’re going to find out real quick. Sunday ought to be quite interesting. A win on Sunday – huge, a springboard to the playoffs. A loss on Sunday – realization the Ravens just aren’t that good. And they really aren’t – the defense can get lit up like a Christmas tree and the right guy is coming to town to do it. Can the Ravens offense go toe-to-toe with Peyton Manning? You’re darn right they can. Can the Ravens offense go toe-to-toe with Eli Manning? You’re darn right they can. MINUS Camera Cameron they have a legit shot.

Now with Horribaugh still on the sideline without his “partner in crime”, that’s a whole different story. Ten bucks says his lost puppy mug will look even more bewildered. Keep riding Ray-Rays coat tails Johnny, in fact let Ray-Ray coach and you just watch. Easy now……..I’m asking to much. I should just  be grateful that I have one less pillow to throw at the television on Sunday. No more flings at Cam Camerons’ mug or 1/2 mug behind a worthless play calling script. Come on Joe Cool – we got your back.

Baltimore, we have received an early Holiday present. One less thorn in the Ravens nest. Be thankful. You never know, we may receive another gift on Sunday –  Flacco shines, Caldwell shines, Horribaugh breaks down and requests advice from Ray Lewis on the sidelines, a win and clinch a playoff spot. Might as well ask for the whole ball of wax, when you have the chance. I really only need enough wax to make a small Ravens Christmas candle. Wait-a-minute, we already have received our second present – that Peyton Manning guy won’t be in a Baltimore Colts uniform! Good Luck Ravens, you’re gonna need it.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Ray-Ray 10-13-12

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Season(s) Silenced

Posted on 16 October 2012 by Tom Federline

SO, you may ask yourself – How did I get here? Or you may ask yourself – what teams season is he talking about? Or you may find yourself – in a state of limbo? In the matter of one weekend – the Orioles season/playoff run was halted and the Ravens season/playoff run is looking dim. The Orioles bats were silenced and the Ravens “Defense” chant was silenced. Markakis was silenced with a season ending injury. Ray-Ray is silenced with a season ending injury. What the heck is going on Baltimore? Orioles Magic, Ravens Hopes – On such a high – then silenced. It has “Been Such a Longtime” – (Boston), since Baltimore has had TWO winning teams – we forgot what it felt like. At least I did – until the O’s beat Texas!

I’m not kidding you, that Friday evening when the O’s clinched, I felt a warm a summer breeze and I was inside. I got a warm feeling that I hadn’t felt since 1983. The Orioles won and they won with what I thought had been lost –  passion for the game. The O’s had it and the A’s had it. Unfortunately they are both out and the money teams win.  ’96 and ’97 was nice – but they bought it. In ’83 – they wanted it, like they did like this year. Some stars mixed in with some guys just stepping up. I could write a book about this season and more Os’ blogs will follow, SO – let’s stick with the present. 

Orioles bats silenced. Nate McClouth – bless you. 1 out of 15 bats is not going to advance you to the next round of the playoffs. I was and still am tired of hearing – “Oh, it was such a well pitched series.” Oh, it was so exciting.” “Oh, they were in every game.” “Oh, the Yankees were not hitting either.” WRONG – you are paid to put the bat on the ball. Not nine guys fanning the stands, not two games of cooled off bats, not FIVE games of no hitting, not in the playoffs. Did they run out of juice? Come on Brady – we know you have connections. The O’s bats were certainly not being used to hit the ball, they might as well have just used them as spears…………….wait-a-minute………….

Luckily, Joba “the hut” Chamberlain was not speared, but the Weiters flying bat head did accidently take him out of the game.

The Ravens defense needs help. With Webb out, Ray-Ray out and Ngatas knee on the brink – there needs to be some serious gut checking in that locker room. I was at the game Sunday – there were moments of raucous cheers – but for the most part – silence,, Fans were just in awe of watching the Ravens defense get torched. DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE…… where? Ray-Ray retiring? Ray Lewis not on the field for the Ravens (as a player)? You see – what did you just do? There was a silent pause there, wasn’t it?

This guy will be missed and not just by Baltimore.

Last week with the O’s was rough. Now this week, with the news of one the greatest football players in our lifetime possibly calling it a career, just got a little rougher. I can tell you one thing – Camden Yards that infamous Sunday evening after the 2 hour and 40 minute rain delay was by NO means – silent. Put aside the weather and outcome of the game – it was a pleasure to experience Baltimore baseball the way it used to be – at Memorial Stadium. Oriole baseball fans at their best. All we needed was hope. Thank you Buck-Buck. Thank you O’s. The countdown towards Spring training has begun.

Baltimore fans – are silenced – for the time being. Adjustments have to be made. Get used to not seeing one of the greatest linebackers and respected  motivational leaders of all-time on the field. The Ravens have an offense (minus a coordinator) and a mediocre defense. The Orioles are contenders. The O’s lost focus at the wrong time this year – they will be back. Clear out a drawer and a portion of the closet for Orange attire. And as for the winter – I would advise buying some Terp basketball gear – mens and womens. Me thinks Ms. Frese and that’s Turgeon with a capitol “T”, have it going on in College Park.

Baltimore sports fans will not be silenced long. The O’s run was special – it was one heckuva late summer. The Ravens – let’s just say need a boast. The Terps BBall – I have to say it – Buckle Up. We are a good sports town – we deserve a winning atmosphere.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

 

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Flacco: No huddle created pressure on Bengals

Posted on 11 September 2012 by WNSTV

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Ray Rice says offense is getting timing right

Posted on 18 August 2012 by WNSTV

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