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Late For Work 12/11: Rumors Surrounding Cam Cameron's Dismissal

Posted Dec 11, 2012

Bisciotti's involvement? Long-time coming? Strained relationships? No-huddle disagreement?


Rumors Surrounding Cameron’s Dismissal

The web is packed with swirling rumors behind the dismissal of the Ravens former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron yesterday.

As receiver Torrey Smith said, it’s the media’s job to try to get the inside scoop on potential issues behind a bold and dramatic move like this with three games remaining in these season.

And the media sure did its job …

Steve Bisciotti’s Involvement?                 

Bisciotti wanted to make the coaching change a week ago (ESPN Adam Schefter): “I think there’s been speculation around the league that the Baltimore Ravens were unhappy with the job that Cam Cameron was doing and that they could go ahead and make this move. There was some speculation and thought that Steve Bisciotti wanted this done about a week ago.”

Harbaugh’s response to Bisciotti’s involvement: "I’m not getting into any of that. We do a great job in this organization of communicating and talking, and we have great leadership here, all across the board, and I’ll just leave it at that.”

Bisciotti made the final call (WNST’s Drew Forrester): “[This] is what I’ve been told by folks with knowledge of it all — and it goes all the way back to mid-season, when players started to air their frustrations with Cameron and the offense. The Ravens dropped an unthinkable game in Washington on Sunday afternoon.  At some point on Sunday night, Bisciotti stepped in and said, essentially, ‘Cam needs to go … now.’  It must have been more demanding than that, because Harbaugh apparently didn’t fight the owner on it, simply saying, ‘Let’s meet at the facility in the morning and decide where to go from here.’ The parties involved showed up again at the facility on Monday – including Bisciotti – and Cameron was gone by 9:00 am.”

Forrester later continued:  “[T]he Ravens decided their future is more about Joe Flacco than it is Cam Cameron. Faced with a potential $17 million franchise tag payment or a $25-$30 million signing bonus check, Steve Bisciotti is the man most interested in his quarterback’s well-being. Yes, John Harbaugh is the coach of the team. But it’s not HIS money that gets drawn out of that special account marked ‘Funds for really good football players.’”

Harbaugh on a meeting with the owner, president and general manager: “No, there was no meeting. I didn’t say a meeting took place [Sunday] night. No. … There was no big meeting last night. [They were] phone conversations with different people.”

Desperation Move Or Long-Time Coming?

Move smacks of desperation and panic (The Baltimore Sun’s Kevin Cowherd): “No matter how the Ravens spin this one, the firing of Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron with just three games left in the regular season smacks of panic. Panic and desperation. There's no other way to read it. … [W]hen a team with nine wins and a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl fires its offensive coordinator this late in the season, it's not exactly projecting an aura of confidence and stability. What it projects, instead, is desperation. And that's rare – mighty rare – for the Ravens.”

Talk of releasing Cameron two years ago (ESPN’s Jamison Hensley): “The Baltimore Ravens' firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron with three games remaining comes across as a panic move. Teams headed to the playoffs rarely make such major changes like this. … This was far from a knee-jerk reaction for losing two straight games. It was two years in the making. There was talk of the Ravens dismissing Cameron a couple of years ago but kept him because they didn’t want to change offensive systems during the NFL lockout when there were no offseason workouts.”

More talk after AFC championship loss (NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi): “This is a move they’ve been contemplating for some time, even after last season, after the AFC championship.”

Timing makes sense, no reason to wait (Hensley): “The Ravens brought back Cameron before this season on a one-year deal. If Harbaugh had already decided (perhaps by a nudge from owner Steve Bisciotti) that Cameron wasn’t coming back next season, why wait until after the season? That makes no sense. If Jim Caldwell was going to be the offensive coordinator next season, he should be the guy calling the plays for the final three games and the playoffs.”

Not a knee-jerk reaction (The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec): “[T]he reality is this move isn't a knee-jerk reaction to one game. Flacco's lack of significant progression, coupled by Rice disappearing from the game plan at times, was ultimately what doomed Cameron.”

Writing has been on the wall (ESPN’s Ron Jaworski): “I believe we saw the writing on the wall about a year ago when Jim Caldwell was brought in to coach the quarterbacks.”

Strained Relationships?

Firing was an accumulation of personal issues between Cameron, Flacco (Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole):  “John's decision was an accumulation of personal issues between Cameron, quarterback Joe Flacco and the rest of the coaching staff, team sources have indicated. In short, Cameron is a control freak. He has been for years. … That is why, despite a pretty reasonable performance by Baltimore's offense against Washington, this move had to be made. Whether that was now or in the offseason, the Ravens were going to have to divorce themselves of Cameron if they eventually wanted to keep Flacco happy.”

Cole later continues: “The issues between the pair apparently became significantly worse in 2010. That season, the Ravens brought in Jim Zorn to be the quarterback coach. The gregarious, enthusiastic Zorn got along great with Flacco, but rubbed Cameron the wrong way. Some people believe that Cameron became concerned about how well Zorn and Flacco got along. Whatever it was, Zorn was out after one season.”

Flacco never comfortable with Cameron and enjoyed having Jim Zorn in the picture (former Ravens head coach and NFL Network’s Brian Billick): “Joe Flacco, I don’t know if he’s ever been really comfortable with Cam Cameron. He really enjoyed having Jim Zorn as his quarterback coach. That created a problem in this trifecta that you’re talking about, so they shipped him off. Now Jim Caldwell has that relationship with Joe Flacco. We’re going to see how for a guy who has never called plays in this league before, how that is going to exhibit itself with a quarterback that clearly has a comfort zone and we’re going to see how that changes the structure of what they’re doing.”

Cam, Joe didn’t see eye-to-eye (Hensley): “Cameron and Flacco never saw eye-to-eye, which may be the reason why Flacco looked like a top-five quarterback one week and a bottom-five one the next.”

Cam needed to give more power to Joe (WBAL’s Gerry Sandusky): “A Ravens player told me last week, Cameron needed to give more decision making power to Flacco during games. Expect to see that from Caldwell.”

 Chatter about strained relationships is just gossip (Smith to CSNBaltimore.com):  “It’s just rumors. Whenever there’s a change, I guess that’s what [the media’s] job is to do – you know, to try to find the inside scoop and if there are problems or not. But we were fine. He was calling the plays, we’ve been winning games, we’ve been scoring points. We might not have been as consistent as we want to be.”

Disagreement Over No-Huddle, Use Of Rice?

Flacco was miffed about move away from no-huddle (Zrebiec): “[I]t's clear that the frustration by the team's key offensive players was mounting. Ray Rice was furious after Sunday's loss to the Washington Redskins. Joe Flacco has been frustrated the past three weeks, and was particularly miffed about how the team had gotten away from the no-huddle offense.”

Flacco speaks to his frustration about the no-huddle and not living up to potential (The Baltimore Sun): "I am frustrated a little bit. Yeah, I could probably do a better job of not showing that, but I just feel like we're so close to being able to be a good offense. There are certain things that I feel like come Sunday, we're not doing the way we should be doing it. I've said it the last couple of weeks. There's definitely a little frustration out there. … I think we have to get back to some of the no-huddle stuff. Some of that is a little frustrating. We've gotten away from doing that a little bit. I think there are points out there to get, and we haven't taken advantage of that."

Unwillingness to give Ray Rice the ball more hurt Cameron: (The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson): “Cam Cameron's firing in the wake of a new contract after last season signals the frustration of this season and – until Sunday – a repeated unwillingness to put the football in the hands of the top playmaker, Ray Rice. Cameron has been on the hot seat before, and finally things boiled over and a change was made.”

Offense needed more creativity (Jaworski): “I like Cam Cameron, I think he’s done a good job, but I don’t see the creativity within your offensive scheme – the picks, the rubs, the clusters, the formations, the motions, all those things you need when you really don’t have a true No. 1 receiver and they don’t. They have a lot of fast guys, but they don’t have a go-to receiver.”

Flacco reached ceiling with Cameron (The Baltimore Sun’s Matt Vensel): “[I]t appeared that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had reached his ceiling under Cam Cameron. His development had flat-lined, which is a much bigger deal than Cameron forgetting about Ray Rice once every few weeks. It is a gutsy move by John Harbaugh, a loyal guy that stuck with Cameron despite a lot of criticism from fans and media. But it might just be what the Ravens needed to jar them out of their funk.”

Pressure Turns To Flacco?

It’s on Flacco now (Sandusky): “Make no mistake, the pressure and opportunity now shifts to Joe Flacco. He faces two Super Bowl winning QB's in the next two weeks.”

With Cameron gone, all eyes are on Flacco to produce (Ravens former receiver Derrick Mason, per The Sun): "Joe needs to be cognizant that the pressure is on him now. No one else can say on that team or in the media or the fans that it was Cam's fault going forward. If the problems continue, then it's bigger than the offensive coordinator. I think Joe will continue to do a good job. If he doesn't, it will be shocking to me. If he doesn't take the opportunity to take a stranglehold of this team from a leadership standpoint, I'll be very surprised."

Ravens Drop To No. 4 Seed After Patriots Win

And believe it or not, there is other news outside of the Ravens’ offensive coordinator position change.

The New England Patriots officially moved ahead of the Ravens in the AFC race, becoming the new No. 2 seed with a blowout win over the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football.

“The Houston Texans went into New England with the best record in the AFC, but the Patriots were the team that looked like the best in the conference,” wrote ProFootballTalk.com’s Curtis Crabtree.

After two consecutive losses, coupled with the Pats and Denver Broncos wins, Baltimore drops to No. 4.

Here are the AFC standings after 14 weeks of the season:

Seed

Team

Division

1

Houston (11-2)

South

2

New England (10-3)

East

3

Denver (10-3)

West

4

Baltimore (9-4)

North

5

Indianapolis (9-4)

South

6

Pittsburgh (7-6)

North


Quick Hits

  • @jasonlacanfora: With the Ravens letting go of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, can't help but wonder if they make a real play for Norv Turner in offseason. [Twitter]
  • Caldwell will get to match wits with his former pupil Peyton Manning Sunday. [ProFootballTalk.com]
  • The Ravens have reached their breaking point when it comes to critical injuries. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • @untouchablejay4 [Suggs when Cameron announcement made]: WHOA..............!  [Twitter]
  • Too cute … @brendon310: Looks like a tiny person is hiding in my locker!  @ Under Armour Performance Center [Twitter]
  • @lwebb21: Thanks to the Baltimore Ravens for donating 10k to the Lardarius Webb Foundation! [Twitter]

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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