Monday, January 30, 2012

A Caldwell to arms for Ravens?

Dial the clock back one full season and it doesn’t take a lot of recall effort to remember how Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti publicly (4:00 mark of video) placed the team’s offensive coordinator on notice.

“We like Cam [Cameron] under fire as our offensive coordinator next year.”

But was he really under fire? Or was that some flickering candle in the wind?

The numbers as evidenced in this 24x7 piece by Scot Kleinfeld, depict a slight improvement in the Ravens offense. Apparently it was enough to blow out that candle and save Cameron’s job for 2012.

But back to the concept of fire, where’s the evidence that firepower ever existed in the Ravens offense?

Outside of the opening game against the Steelers, the bombs away aerial assault upon the putrid Rams and for three-quarters of the AFC Championship Game, what can we point to as proof-positive that the Ravens improved offensively?

And perhaps a more important question is, “How did the Ravens’ franchise quarterback improve in 2011?”

The answer of course is that he didn’t as his quarterback rating fell from 93.6 to 80.9, a 13.6% drop off. I’ve argued that Cameron and Joe Flacco need to be separated and that Cameron had to go. You just don’t dropkick your “franchise quarterback.”

And apparently you don’t dropkick a struggling coordinator if you report to John Harbaugh as Cameron is now returning for a fifth season on the Ravens sideline.

Will anything change?

Well with the announcement yesterday from ESPN’s Jamison Hensley that the Ravens are set to hire former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell as an “offensive assistant”, the answer is leaning towards, “Yes!”

You see without a quarterback coach Cameron’s offense was a bit dictatorial. Let’s face, who else on the Ravens staff has play calling experience at the NFL level? (Queue up the crickets). So that lack of experience heightened Cameron’s security and lowered the flame.

Now with Caldwell joining the staff you get another experienced play caller and a guy who has worked with one of the game’s all time greats – Peyton Manning. Of course the cynic would say that Manning was the real coordinator for the Colts and that he probably taught Caldwell a thing or two. And if that’s your position, point taken.

But so what?

Caldwell’s exposure to a Manning-led offense and the preparation and commitment to refining his craft could find a benefactor in the form of Joe Flacco.

Plus it gives the Ravens “in season” options.

If Cameron is once again intoxicated in the land of mediocrity the Ravens can pull the plug mid-season – a luxury they clearly didn’t have in 2011.

No Caldwell isn’t Sean Payton. He’s no Mike McCarthy and yes the faces of Mt. Rushmore have more expression than his on the sidelines.

But his hiring just improved the Ravens staff.

NOW Cam Cameron is under fire.


Jerry B said...

It remains to be seen as to whether or not this hire will catapult the offense and Flacco to that proverbial, "next level", but I have my doubts! Apparently, Jim Zorn was fired last year because he and CaMORON couldn't get along. Never mind that Zorn played QB at a very high level in this league for a long time, that he enjoys a reputation for being a successful QB coach and that Flacco really liked him. Apparently, NOBODY usurps CaMORON's "control" of his offense and QB! So, we'll just have to see how this plays out next year.......

skirby said...

I thought this was Biscotti's team, not Harbaugh's. When does the HC's opinion usurp that of the owner and front office. Cam is wasting all the hard work Steve and Ozzie have put in over the last few years. Doesn't make sense they bring Cam back....