This will be, as John Harbaugh suggested on Monday afternoon, one of those stories where you “believe whatever you want.”
Some of you will believe that Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron today, thirteen weeks into a first-place campaign.
I don’t believe that.
I didn’t consider it a possibility when I first heard the news a little after 9:00 am on Monday morning. “The Ravens are going to make a coaching change today” was the word coming out of a national radio show.
“Well, there’s no chance John Harbaugh is firing one of his coordinators with three weeks left in the season” is what I immediately said to myself.
As it turned out, Harbaugh DID fire Cam Cameron, but only because he was the man who delivered the bad news.
My very first tweet after the news that Cameron was gone and Caldwell was in was this: “I can’t help but wonder what role Steve Bisciotti played in this…”
Why did I think that right away?
Because I know the Head Coach wouldn’t fire an Offensive Coordinator that’s he’s worked with for five years with three weeks left in the season when his team is 9-4. And I also know, now, that John Harbaugh didn’t get on that bus Sunday after his team’s defense squandered another late game lead and said to himself, “You know, I think firing Cam Cameron is the right thing to do right now.”
That sort of knee jerk reaction is just not in John Harbaugh’s coaching manual. Period.
My belief, with help from others who are much more connected than I am, is that Steve Bisciotti made the call early Sunday evening in the wake of Baltimore’s dismal second half offensive performance and an overtime 3-and-out that led the way to the Redskins pulling off a dramatic 31-28 win.
But this decision wasn’t just about getting rid of Cameron now…because the team’s offense needed a jump start.
This was about money. And Joe Flacco. And the friction between Cameron and his offense and Flacco and his up-and-down 5th season which either will or won’t lead to a big fat paycheck for the quarterback.
It was about a 9-4 season that could very easily be 6-7 if not for some positive interference from the football gods. It’s about a team that has spent a lot of money on skill position players over the last four years, looking more and more like a one-and-done post-season competitor unless something dramatic happens over the next three weeks.
It’s also about a performance struggle, of sorts. Not a power struggle. A performance struggle. It’s about the battle between the guy (Cameron) trying to make the quarterback great — and the quarterback (Flacco) trying to become great despite that guy.
Here’s what else I know: Joe Flacco is signing a new deal in Baltimore.
For how much money? That’s still the question.
But Flacco is going to be the quarterback in Baltimore next season.
And here’s what else I know. The Ravens – perhaps the owner, more than anyone – have determined that Flacco and Cameron couldn’t co-exist in years 6, 7, 8 and so forth. John Harbaugh would have likely sent Cam packing at season’s end, unless, of course, his team would have journeyed to New Orleans in February for the Super Bowl. In other words, Flacco had won the battle of attrition and sometime in January or February, he would have been the one left standing and Cameron would have been looking for work.
Except Cameron didn’t make it past Monday morning.
(Please see next page)