Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cam Cameron brings winning mentality to Ravens offense

I’ve dialed in to some of the sports talk shows around town and I get a sense that some hosts and listeners believe that the so-called “Suggs Package” was a knee jerk reaction/response from the coaching staff to appease Terrell Suggs. Some have even suggested that Suggs isn’t alone as it relates to his opinions about Troy Smith as the team’s starter and that the coaching staff brilliantly squelched further unrest within the locker room by simultaneously inserting Joe Flacco and Smith into the game.

That’s bull!

A more settled locker room and an appeased Terrell Suggs are simply convenient byproducts of a bigger plan. These offensive sub packages weren’t drawn up overnight. This is the NFL and drawing plays in the dirt just doesn’t work. Execution is key and to execute properly requires practice.

The truth be told, these packages were in the works long ago and the only thing that prevented us from seeing them sooner was the illness of Troy Smith.

Now the Ravens have established some new looks. Call it trickery, gadgetry, creativity, whatever – the bottom line is that it makes opposing defenses think a little longer before reacting to an offensive play unfolding in front of them. And once they hesitate to think, it slows down the reaction speed and that paves the way for separation. With separation comes a greater degree of offensive success.

This is all part of a philosophy of “play to win” that the Harbaugh regime embraces versus the ultra conservative “manage the game” approach of the Billick coached teams.

Since he took over the reigns as defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan has done his best to utilize the talents available to him to achieve the greatest good for the defense. Prior to 2008, the Ravens offense never seemed willing to do that. That has now changed.

"[Cam Cameron is] scouring our whole football team," Harbaugh said. "I guess the cat is out of the bag for our opponents, but we've got a package. Maybe they'll see it, maybe they won't, but he's amazingly creative in matching personnel to scheme. That kind of stuff makes it more fun for the players. It gets them more involved."

This in part explains the inclusion of Haloti Ngata at tight end in goal line sub packages.

On Sunday Cameron pointed out, "If you practice it and never call it, the players just lose interest," Cameron said. "We've got to coach it, and the players execute it."

The changing philosophy has energized the entire team. Going forward the attack mentality could place opposing defenses on their heels and if that happens, the Ravens could take more commanding leads in games like they did on Sunday. And then that helps the defense because it forces opposing offenses to become more one dimensional.

Some have complained that about the 43 yard pass play to Joe Flacco from Troy Smith on Sunday. A few complaints have centered upon what some feel are unnecessary health risks for the starting quarterback. Others have wondered why the Ravens showed the play against an obviously inferior opponent during a game that was well in hand.

From this keyboard, I see it just the opposite…

First, if you never throw it to Flacco when he lines up on the flank, then defenders will ignore him and that leaves 11 defenders to stop 10 offensive players. Now that Smith and Flacco have connected, Flacco needs to be accounted for.

As for showing it against the Raiders when the game had seemingly already been won, why not do it then? If it fails, there’s nothing lost and they’ve still planted the seed. Now you can bet that Romeo Crennel is spending valuable prep time creating ways to thwart a play and a sub package that the Ravens may not even show again on Sunday.

While watching Joe Flacco survey the Raiders’ secondary for what seemed like 30 seconds before he connected on a 70 yard scoring strike to Demetrius Williams, I couldn’t help but think about Kyle Boller. If placed in that same situation, Boller would probably have pulled the ball down and run out of bounds for a 4 yard gain.

That said, where is Kyle Boller these days?

Will we ever see him again?


Mike said...

Tony did you hear the Ed Reed interview on 1370?

Harryos29 said...

... I was fortunate enough to see every play Vs the Raiders on Sunday, up close at the VAULT! I loved it. Infact, with fewer YELLOW FLAG happy REFS out there, the Ravens may have had a point total up in the 40's...REALLY
...I started drinking the Kool aid when Vinny scored that first TD vs the Raiders back in the First Game. I'm still on the stuff.
... This is the first time we have had an exciting Offense since Vinny left the team.
...I love what Cam is doing and hope he continues to make it exciting for the Players and the fans. I only wish that FLACCO had maintained his balance on the long reception from Troy Smith , and had gone in for the TD. That would have put him close to the fete performed by Little Joe Washington for the Colts on MNF back in 1978. I don't think FLACCO will be returning any punts tho, Like Joe did that night.
Rave on