Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Scenery Only Changes for the Lead Dog

We all know how bad the Ravens offense is. I fully expect to see a “Parental Guidance Suggested” warning sign when I finally muster up the courage to torture myself and review the game again on DVR.

Where do Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco go from here?

Well the optimist might say the Debacle by The Landing was merely a temporary blip on the radar screen and things will get better this week with a little home cooking while hosting the Arizona Cardinals.

The pessimist might tell you there’s only one way to go but up.

That’s a bit like the Lennon/McCartney penned, “Getting Better.” McCartney in his enthusiastic vocal sings, “It’s getting better all the time” only to be answered by Lennon’s sobering, “It can’t get any worse.”

Let’s hope both Beatles are spot on but I have my doubts.

We’ve seen this kind of offensive offense before during the Boller Era. The complete futility was evident in their play and in their body language. The hopelessness on Ray Lewis’ face on the Ravens bench told the story. It was painful.

In this new NFL, the era of high flying offenses and rules geared towards producing points the Ravens could only muster ulcers for the Ravens defense and their fans. After three quarters Joe Flacco & Company produced just 57 yards of offense – just a few shy of the total number of points the Saints put on the Colts this past Sunday night.

It took them until the third quarter to get a first down – A FIRST DOWN!

This is supposed to be a Super Bowl contender?

And in the midst of this horrific performance Cam Cameron came up with an epic idea –let’s pull the best offense player by a mile and put in Ricky Williams. Well even Cameron was bright enough to realize that wasn’t going to work but by then the damage was done. Ray Rice’s mojo was zapped. Let’s call it Cameron Kryptonite.

We could go on and on about Cameron’s play calling; Flacco’s execution; an offensive line which engages oncoming pass rushers like Republicans embrace Obamacare; receivers suffering from separation anxiety.

This year it was supposed to be better. We’re all aware of the expectations, about how Flacco would come into his own in year 4 and have a greater stake and say in the offense; how the team would attack and put opponents away. We heard about the addition by subtraction as it relates to the departures of Jim Zorn and Al Saunders. We remember how John Harbaugh declared he would be more involved in the offense.

But not much has changed. It may even be worse now than it was last year.
Good or bad, one game doesn’t make a season. Yet the signs are daunting and the smoke is visible.

The Ravens offense just doesn’t look big league and they struggle mightily when teams mix up zone coverages and get pressure with four or five pass rushers. They don’t seem to adjust in game, preferring to stick with an obviously faulty game plan. Is it Cameron? Is it Flacco? Is it both?

There are subtle things that might not go on the stat sheet but things that better offenses do that the Ravens are seemingly incapable of. They have no sense of urgency; they look confused; they lack leadership; they can’t get to the line in time to check out of plays; they don’t change up cadence and place and already challenged line at a greater disadvantage; and they seem to refuse to try a no huddle before it’s too late to change the pace, tempo or more importantly the results.

Quite simply put, Cameron’s offense just looks dysfunctional and the fear is they will bumble away another outstanding season for the defense, like this organization has so many times before.

Something has to give – something has to change.

Apologists will argue that this is just one game, a momentary lapse of reasoning. But is it?

Consider the games against the Titans, Jets and Jaguars, even the Texans – all subpar offensive efforts. The Ravens are 20th in the league overall on offense; they are dead last in red zone efficiency among teams with winning records; and Joe the Quarterback is 19th in the league in QB rating with a very pedestrian 76.2.

How can they expect to be a title contender with such egregious inconsistencies on offense?

Soon the Ravens will have to make a decision about the future of their offense. You can’t fire all of the players so the crosshairs will center upon Cameron. Harbaugh managed to save Cameron for 2011 and he can thank Steve Bisciotti and the lock out for winning that battle. But you have to wonder where it goes in 2012.

Do the Ravens give Cameron another shot and risk losing the defense? Wouldn’t it be wise to see what Flacco can do free from the Cameron’s play calling, particularly in a contract year? Apart maybe we can really see where the fault lies.

But nothing will change this year. There’s not a coach on staff who is equipped to design and implement a game plan or make the in game calls – and that includes Harbaugh.

So how do they get better?

Well for starters they all need to stop kissing each other’s ass and be accountable. Cameron could start by stop being such an apologist for his inconsistent QB. Harbaugh can start saying things like, “I blew it by going for the onsides kick!” Flacco might want to accept responsibility for the offense’s lack of tempo, confidence and sense of urgency. Take control and please spare me the, “Well that’s not really part of Joe’s make up!” because IT BETTER BE! If he doesn’t have it, force it upon him and if he can’t take it, get him the hell out of the way.

In today’s NFL quarterbacks must be leaders. They can’t just hitch their wagon to a great defense.

The time has come for someone on offense to take charge and if they don’t there will be more meltdowns like yesterday.

One looms on November 6 if they aren’t careful.


Jerry B said...

At the end of last season, Bisciotti publically lamented that Harbaugh had to take a more active role in overseeing the offense and that the offense would have to get better or there would be changes. Well, I'm waiting........

Scott said...

Step off of the ledge, Tony.

I'm not going to make excuses for Flacco (I've come up with a rather simple expletive-related nickname for him when he has games like that... I'll let you figure it out for yourself), but how many years have we been blaming Cam for our lack of offense? I think people are still hungover from the Steelers game, but one well-called game in four years doesn't cut it. Cam needs to go and Joe needs to be left to sink or swim with someone else. There is simply too much talent on the offense to perform so poorly, and that includes Joe. If a new coordinator comes in and we see the same production on offense, then the common factor should be pretty obvious.

I agree with you that someone needs to be held accountable and that person is Cam, regardless of whether there is someone else readily available to take his place. It isn't as though they could do any worse.

Someone should smack Harbaugh, too.

Rob said...

I think you nailed it with this one!I'm tire of fans making excuses for Joe Flacco. Joe has to accept responsibility for his poor performance and stop with the "we're a young offense trying to gel together". Get your head in the game Joe. I'm tired of having a deer in the headlights QB.