Does Ozzie Newsome deserve some blame in the Flacco-Cameron saga?

December 11, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Does Ozzie Newsome deserve some blame in the Flacco-Cameron saga?

If you’re one of those who like to play the blame-game, Monday’s dismissal of Cam Cameron offers you a smorgasbord of options on which to feast.

In no specific order, you have the following:

John Harbaugh, the man who employed Cam for the last 4+ seasons, and the person in charge of the on-field product, which includes being in touch with his players and their festering aggravation with one of his coaches.

Steve Bisciotti, who, while rightfully considered in general a “good owner”, has spent a little too much time over the years hob-knobbing with the players to the extent he might be closer with them then he should be.

Joe Flacco, perhaps the main spoke in the Cameron firing-wheel, and the guy who potentially might have suffered the most while working under his now former boss.  But, if Cameron was inconsistent as a play-caller and offensive coordinator, Flacco has to wear the same basic scarlet letter, for he, too, hasn’t exactly been a shining beacon of consistency in the last four months.

The Ravens defense, which has been occasionally superb but more often a liability this season, particularly in the final 5 minutes of the team’s most two recent losses to the Steelers and Redskins.  True, they were very good earlier in the year against the Chiefs and the Browns and the Chargers.  They were also woefully exposed by the Cowboys, Texans, Steelers (with a bum at quarterback) and Redskins.

The Ravens offense, with players in key positions not playing up to par week-in and week-out.  I’m all for Jim Caldwell taking over at this point, but I’d be shocked if he can give back to Anquan Boldin that step he’s lost over the last year or so…or turn Michael Oher into a premier pass blocker as a left tackle…or heal Marshal Yanda’s bad ankle within two weeks…or get Torrey Smith to run his routes to completion the way they’re designed in the playbook.

And then, there’s one other name to add to the mix:  Ozzie Newsome.

Let the continuing story of “how Cam got canned” be examined with Ozzie’s name in mind, for it’s Newsome who wasn’t able to ink a new deal with his team’s franchise quarterback, thus paving the way for Joe Flacco to play the 2012 campaign as a “lame duck”.

Yes, there always remains the option of the franchise tag for Flacco.  But, as any player will tell you, that’s a band-aid – a nice, lucrative one – he’d rather not wear if it’s possible.

The easiest way to start any conversation about Joe Flacco and his contract situation is to simply say this about him and his future in Baltimore:  The Ravens want him back in 2013 and Flacco would like to return for a 6th season.

There’s no debating that at this point.  The two parties are still in love.

But – and here’s where we start the dissection of how things are off kilter – these are very complicated times in Owings Mills, particularly when it comes to assessing Flacco’s value.

And who’s fault is that?

If you ask Flacco and/or his agent, Joe Linta, they’re going to place the blame squarely on the employer — the Ravens, the offense and, naturally, Cam Cameron.

Linta, as a natural reaction to his Flacco’s contract status being in the spotlight, would argue up and down that with each passing game where the Baltimore offense was stagnant or stuck in neutral because of Cameron’s inconsistency, his client was effectively “losing money”.

Honestly — he’s right.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that his client doesn’t bear some of that responsibility.  He, Flacco, that is, might be costing himself money with every incompletion or strip-sack or poor audible.

But the agent would never admit that to the general manager of the team.

Instead – and if you close your eyes and let the movie play out in your head, you’ll hear it for yourself – I’m quite certain with every “new conversation” Linta and Newsome have had over the few months that Joe’s representative has reminded Ozzie in no uncertain terms that Cameron and the on-again, off-again Ravens offense is costing the quarterback big money.

“Ozzie, I respect you and the organization and so does Joe,” Linta is likely saying.  ”But you can’t possibly think you’re doing my client a true service by having Cam Cameron operate that offense in such a manner that it’s clearly hindering his qualities as a high-level NFL player.  You’ve known for a year now that Cam and Joe can’t exist together in the long run.  They’ve tried to make it work and it’s just not going to happen.  All you’re doing by trying to force this Cameron-Flacco relationship on both of them is costing Joe Flacco money.  And, even though I make little in comparison to my client, you’re costing ME money, too.  Get this Cameron thing sorted out and let’s make Joe the $90 million player he deserves to be.”

I imagine a conversation like that has been going on nearly every Monday or so for the last 13 weeks.

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9 Comments For This Post

  1. joe of bel air Says:

    And people in hell want ice water. Flacco must be smoking hippie lettuce if he thinks he is worth $98 million over 6 years. Try taking us to and winning a Super Bowl like the Manning boys, Big Ben and Tom Terrific, befor you start asking for that kind of coin. The Ravens are caught between a rock and a hard place with Flacco’s contract. I believe Flacco is a good QB, certainly capable of taking the Ravens to the Super Bowl if he has a good cast around him (offense, defense and special teams) but with his inconsistent production over the last 2 years, how do you commit to a long term contract. What you see this year may be what you get for the rest of his career. Would liked to have seen what Flacco was capable of with a new OC for the entire 2012 season, not just for the final 3 or 4 games. Ozzie, John and Steve should have seen this coming some time ago and made this decision in February not mid-December.

  2. The Armchair QB Says:

    Drew: to paraphrase a famous country song, “You’re looking for BLAME in all the wrong places’! Cameron’s “Jekyll & Hyde” offense was there for everyone to see. Not just game to game, but also quarter to quarter! In the final analysis, that’s what got him fired! The only other person to blame would be the head coach, whose intervention prevented Cameron from being fired two years ago, when the timing might have been better, but for the impending lockout!

  3. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    I think Biscotti is sending a bow shot in letting all the coaches and players know it’s all about winning. And if that does not happen jobs will not be safe.

  4. cy Says:

    I think we’re making a soap opera out of a considerably more simpler reality. Any serious football fan knew what you got with Cam Cameron. And no one was better placed to know what Cam would do in a given situation than his QB of 5 years and the eye in the sky for 13 games in Caldwell.

    Bottom line is, if we know what Cam would do, why do we need Cam? Let’s bring someone with a different offensive-style and conception in on the eve of the playoffs so we can add that extra kick of unpredictability to the offense.

  5. Over40 Don Says:

    Drew, I’m enjoying your barrage of posts of late. The only thing I’ll take exception to is calling Batch a “bum” . He beat us in our house, rarely plays if at all. That said, I congratulate you on being 1st of Baltimore sports writers mentioned in following article on NFL.com

    http://www.baltimoreravens.com/news/article-1/Late-For-Work-1211-Rumors-Surrounding-Cam-Camerons-Dismissal/5e2ad17f-abed-43fc-9cef-75e0d2b5b4bd

  6. Cy Says:

    Mind you, this Denver game is absolutely vital to the playoff picture and the final seedings. So if the plan was to unleash some extra fire-power, this is perfect timing. Home field advantage. A Rabid crowd itching to re-kindle it’s vaunted homefield advantage. A future HOF and DPOY returning to the line-up. A QB with something to prove. And a new OC who was burned at the stake while being stuck with an unmotivated team the last time he was at the helm.

    I feel like we’re severely underestimating the whoopass Baltimore is about to unleash on this league.

  7. RJ Says:

    Good jouranlistic reporting, Drew … both on this topic, and the firing of Cam! Keep it up.

  8. Unitastoberry Says:

    This is what you get when you go to the playoffs 4 years in a row and the afc championship game twice and lose it then put a poor season of offense and defense but your still the best team in the divison lol.The fan base and ownership is under a microscope to win. It’s what pro sports is all about.

  9. dave hittinger Says:

    It all starts with Ozzie and the fact remains he allowed the defense to get old and thread-bear. Relying on Ray Lewis and Ed Reed is ridiculous, they’ve been done now for several years. Fact of the matter is they haven’t drafted well in several years, and now it’s showing up on the field. Fire all the coaches if you want, still won’t change things.

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