This could very well turn out to be a one-game audition for Cam Cameron.
If the Ravens offense goes to Cincinnati and skips and sputters like my old scratchy Led Zeppelin IV album, that might mark the end of the Cam Cameron-era at season’s end, assuming, of course, that Baltimore doesn’t work its way through a trio of road playoff games to advance to the Super Bowl.
On the flip side, should the Ravens buzz into Cincy and take care of business and move on from there to roll through the AFC playoffs and earn a February trip to Indianapolis, Cameron might very well be the fair-haired-boy again in the eyes of John Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome and Steve Bisciotti.
My eyes tell me this: Barring a trip to the Super Bowl, Cameron won’t return next season.
This time last year, conventional thinking and whispers at 1 Winning Drive had the same scenario playing out for Cameron, but he was saved when the NFL labor situation gave John Harbaugh reason to think it might be wise to keep his offensive coordinator on-board in the event the strike lasted all summer and robbed the club of valuable off-season practice time.
There’s no such labor situation in place this time around to rescue Cameron.
It’s Super Bowl or bust for him.
And it starts on Sunday in Cincinnati, where the Ravens can create a smooth(er) path to Indianapolis with a win.
Make no mistake about it, Cameron is under fire in all directions at The Castle in Owings Mills. We know Steve Bisciotti is watching. John Harbaugh has to be studying the situation closely, given that his reputation is at stake with each passing season that doesn’t result in a Ravens Super Bowl berth. And based on his comments to the media on Wednesday, quarterback Joe Flacco is also still evaluating Cameron’s ability to guide the offense.
Some would argue Flacco shouldn’t be commenting on things such as offensive play-calling and game-planning, but he did and it’s out now, allowing for the media and armchair quarterbacks everywhere to squeal, “You see, even Flacco thinks Cameron is the problem!”
And let’s be honest — Cam Cameron might very well be the problem.
Then again, he might not be.
Maybe Flacco’s uneven season is the problem. Perhaps the Lee Evans disappearing-act is part of the quandry. Maybe Marshal Yanda’s injury turns out to be a wound the Ravens can’t stitch up in time.
But Cam Cameron is the offensive coordinator, and the buck, most think, stops with him.
If the Ravens go to Cincinnati on Sunday and fire-and-fall-back offensively, that’s likely to be the beginning of the end for Cam, barring some sort of miracle run through the AFC post-season that lands the Ravens in the Super Bowl despite squandering a chance for the #2 seed (and that’s assuming the Steelers WIN in Cleveland, of course).
In what amounts now to either a 3-game or 4-game audition for Cam Cameron, the Steve Bisciotti quotes from last January continue to ring true: “We like Cam under fire…”
Well, someone strike a match and let’s get the flame going.
And keep it burning all the way through Sunday in Cincinnati.