The details of what happened following the Ravens loss in D.C. aren’t totally clear, because Harbaugh, as expected, didn’t divulge any information in his Monday press conference.
This, however, is what I’ve been told by folks with knowledge of it all — and it goes all the way back to mid-season, when players started to air their frustrations with Cameron and the offense.
The Ravens dropped an unthinkable game in Washington on Sunday afternoon. At some point on Sunday night, Bisciotti stepped in and said, essentially, “Cam needs to go…now.” It must have been more demanding than that, because Harbaugh apparently didn’t fight the owner on it, simply saying, “Let’s meet at the facility in the morning and decide where to go from here.”
The parties involved showed up again at the facility on Monday – including Bisciotti – and Cameron was gone by 9:00 am.
Five years into the Cam Cameron-Joe Flacco marriage, this much is easy to figure out: There’s no way to figure those two out.
One week, the offense roars. The next week, it sputters. One week, Flacco looks like a Pro Bowler. The following week, he looks like he should try to become a pro bowler. One week, they let Flacco air it out. The next week, they shut him down.
It’s more and up-and-down than an episode of Jersey Shore.
And finally, the Ravens decided their future is more about Joe Flacco than it is Cam Cameron.
Faced with a potential $17 million franchise tag payment or a $25-$30 million signing bonus check, Steve Bisciotti is the man most interested in his quarterback’s well being.
Yes, John Harbaugh is the coach of the team.
But it’s not HIS money that gets drawn out of that special account marked “Funds for really good football players”.
And sometime on Sunday night, after weeks of discussing it, albeit perhaps informally, the Ravens finally came to the conclusion that at some point soon, Cam Cameron was going to be the odd man out in the Flacco-Cameron relationship. And with the team at 9-4 and players on both sides of the ball howling about the woeful offense – and that check writing thing on his mind – Bisciotti made the call. Harbaugh, as the coach, didn’t like the disruptive possibilities of dismissing a key coaching staff member with three weeks left in the season. But like Ozzie Newsome found out on December 31, 2007 when Bisciotti usurped him and fired Brian Billick, when the owner makes up his mind, the owner makes up his mind.
It should be noted, of course, that the last time Bisciotti made an “executive decision” he fired Billick and hired Harbaugh. 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.
This move today could turn out to be a good one, too.
But it’s extremely rare for a team to make this sort of move with three weeks left in the regular season, particularly when they’re 9-4 and working in the direction of a second straight AFC North title.
(Please see next page)