Cam is gone: A story about the owner…Flacco…and locker room unrest

December 10, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Cam is gone: A story about the owner…Flacco…and locker room unrest

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) 

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11 Comments For This Post

  1. BmoreBobRob Says:

    Is Matt Cavanaugh available?

  2. chuck Says:

    Drew,

    Now, you have called the same number of NFL plays as both the head coach and offensive coordinator combined: Zero. (DF: Yeah, but I’m getting paid a lot less. Figures…)

  3. Logan Says:

    Big fat* paycheck

  4. Rick Says:

    Great reporting and analysis, Drew. Lets hope the team rallies around the switch and beats a very tough Bronco squad. Flacco won’t be able to point fingers now. Of course letting Cam go won’t cure all the injuries on our defense!

  5. RJ Says:

    Nice job reporting on this DF! Let’s see where it takes us.

  6. Unitastoberry Says:

    Never thought from the get go this move was anything but the owners and Caldwell may only be interim too.

  7. charlie Says:

    i trust drew on this one. excellent reporting, best around.

  8. The Armchair QB Says:

    Frankly, Drew, this is not so much a matter of performance struggle between OC and QB as it is the “Jekyll & Hyde” performance game to game as well as quarter to quarter! The timing may relate both to the coming post season and the pending contract, but this change was not only inevitable, it should have happend two years ago!

  9. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    In Drew we trust, nice job of reporting. As you well know I was not a Cam fan and wanted him gone last year. With that said, I agree with you, Harbs was just the messenger, no way it was his decison. Bisciotti saw what every other fan saw, lack of consistency in the offense and had enough.

  10. Brian Says:

    Steve Bisciotti made this call, no doubt in my mind. If it didn’t, Harbaugh when asked would have said “no this was my decision and my decision alone”. Here’s the way it more than likely went down over the phone Sunday night:

    JH: Hello
    SB: You either do it or I’ll do it for you.
    JH: Do what Steve ?
    SB: You know what. Get rid of Cam 1st thing tomorrow or I will. And if I have to do it, you’re next.
    JH: I understand.
    SB: I don’t think you do John or you would have handled business after the Pittsburgh game like I recommended a couple of weeks ago. I’m done with excuses, I want results.
    JH: It’s done.
    SB: (click)

  11. Dan Says:

    Cameron should have been shown the door long long ago so I applaud this move by Mr. B . Generally speaking the guy with the Billion Dollars has pretty good judgement . on Billicks Firing DF- “In hindsight, his decision was the right one. Harbaugh is about to be 5-for-5 in playoff appearances, a testament to Bisciotti’s keen judgement on both the firing and the hiring.” To some hindsight was needed on firing Billick , for Bisciotti and many fans it was foresight . Billick had to go, that was an easy call.

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