Cam out, Caldwell in — Harbaugh with a gutsy move

December 10, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Cam out, Caldwell in — Harbaugh with a gutsy move

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.

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9 Comments For This Post

  1. Phil Says:

    This won’t make a difference. Cam had his issues but he is taking the fall for Ozzie’s long-running failures to solve O-Line problems, Joe’s deficiencies (which any honest person now recognizes), Harbaugh’s conservative thinking and repeated poor clock management/time-out issues and the overall average nature of our receivers…many issues to overcome. Many coaches would like his record. Good luck and thanks to Cam.

  2. Tcamp Says:

    Drew,
    You spent all morning defending the coaches and their play calling for the most part. You are such a flip flopper. (DF: Said nothing of the sort. In fact, repeated time and time again that I would have fired Cam after last season. Did say, and still do, that anytime the players do well, it’s because of the players. Anytime the players don’t do well, it’s because of the coaches. You need to listen better.)

  3. Tcamp Says:

    I was actually just teasing you about being a flip flipper. I pretty much agree with your point of view most of the time, this one included. If the ravens win, then it was a good move.

  4. unitastoberry Says:

    All I know is everyone in my world is jacked up over this.If the offensive players feel the same as the fans do right now this could be a spark for a late season run. It can help certain things but not the injury situation. Good luck Cam I’m sure some of our rivals are calling for the play book already. Oh wait maybe not.

  5. Cy Says:

    For all those who keep pointing to the fact that the defense gave up big plays late in the game when the offense put up four TDs, two things to think about:

    This decision isn’t about one game, it’s about a consistent pattern of inconsistency on Cam’s playcalling.

    What more do you expect? The offense is, for the most part, healthy. The defense has been ravaged by injuries. It’s unfair to ask ANY coordinator, much less first-year Dean Pees, to hold this show toghether any better than he has.

    Cam had to go. But I do question the timing. You could have just demanded more aggressive playcalling for the remainder of the year.

  6. Nick Says:

    If your reasoning begins with “whatever the Ravens do is correct” then you have have the contradictory opinions of defending Cam for years and then supporting his firing 1 week later after defending him. (DF: I said Cam should have been fired after last season. Need to listen better, bro…)

  7. nicolas Says:

    Bottom line is we need to run first pass second. Why abandon the run when your averaging 6.6 yards a carry. Secondly we need a true number one receiver that can create seperation. Boldon is a tight end and holt is a 3 at best and inconsistent.

  8. Jarrod Says:

    Is Cam Cameron the one not recognizing pre snap adjustments/reads? Is he the one who often times has zero pocket awareness? Is Cam the guy who has the mobility of a Flat screen TV (Cam himself actually prob has less…)The Ravens are very well run organization, but this move reeks of desperation. The coach is the first to go, I get that but eventually, players need to be held accountable and in my opinion, THAT is the next step if Caldwell cannot light fire to this offense.

  9. The Armchair QB Says:

    A move long time coming! Much of the criticism directed at Flacco MAY be warranted. Time will tell. However, Cameron’s offense has been characterized by many pro football analysts as, “dysfunctional”, “out-of-sync”, “predictable” and “antiquated”, so it’s difficult to expect ANY QB to function proficiently in such a system. That Flacco and the Ravens have succeeded despite those facts is a credit to the young QB, who came out of Delaware and was thrust by circumstances into the startimg position from game one of his rookie year and has succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest imagination! And, I might add, without a whole lot of surrounding talent!

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