Cam out, Caldwell in — Harbaugh with a gutsy move

December 10, 2012 | Drew Forrester

The hardest thing for a coach to do — is to fire another coach.

So, you can only imagine how desperate they must be at Owings Mills today, with John Harbaugh firing his Offensive Coordinator thirteen games into a successful (so far) season.

John Harbaugh hired Cam Cameron.

He won with him, too.

And he stuck by him in the off-season of 2010 and 2011 when many others felt dismissing Cameron was not only justified, it was essentially a must-do.

But today, with three games remaining in the season, John Harbaugh walked in and told his fellow coach that his services were no longer needed.

I’m sure, if he’ll tell the truth today, that conversation with Cameron was tougher than any loss Harbaugh has suffered in his five seasons in Baltimore.

So, now, the pressure falls on former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell.  He’s the man who will direct the Baltimore offense over the next three weeks of the regular season plus the playoffs.

Is Caldwell the best guy for the job?

Was firing Cameron the right move?

I know the answer to those questions.

“Yes, as long as the Ravens continue to win under Caldwell, it was the right move.”

I’m a dummy from Glen Burnie and I can figure that one out.

It’s always about winning.  If the Ravens thought Cameron was the best man for their offense, he’d still be employed this morning.  If Caldwell can’t win, he won’t be around long, either.

There’s only one reason John Harbaugh would dismiss Cam Cameron with three weeks left in the regular season.

Harbaugh must believe, in his heart, that the team can’t win in the post-season with Cameron calling the shots for his offense.  The Ravens – barring a miracle week #15 tie between the Steelers and Bengals and a bunch of other goofy stuff happening – are going to make the playoffs for the 5th time in 5 years under Harbaugh.  But they’ve stumbled offensively throughout the 2012 season and despite a 28-point outing in Washington on Sunday, the week-in-week-out inconsistencies finally caught up with Cameron today.

And it all caught up to him because Harbaugh must be feeling that his team’s chances for a Super Bowl bid are evaporating with each loss.

Unless Steve Bisciotti walked in this morning and said, “John, you’re firing Cam today and that’s that”, this was Harbaugh’s call all the way through.  He’s the coach of a 9-4 team with enough injuries to fill the emergency room at GBMC.  The Ravens, despite losing two in a row, are still capable of making a run in the post-season if they can somehow get a few of their walked wounded back before the playoffs start in January.  At least that’s what Harbaugh must be thinking, or else he wouldn’t have fired Cameron today.

My text service and email inbox are jammed with people asking the same question:  “Is this the right move?”

My answer: You’re damn right it is.  As long as the Ravens keep winning.

And I assume that’s the way John Harbaugh will be judged once the dust settles on the 2012 campaign.  If the offense sputters from here on in and the Ravens get bounced from the post-season, firing Cam wasn’t the tonic.  If Caldwell turns Flacco and Company around and I’m drinking red wine with a bunch of you in New Orleans in early February with the Ravens in the Super Bowl, Harbaugh did the right thing.

It always comes back to winning.