Q&A with Cam Cameron: Part 2

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In Part 2 of a two-part Q&A, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron sits down with BR.com and talks about continuity within the offense and how the players will improve during the offseason.

BR.com: How do you envision the return of injured players helping bolster the team?

Cam Cameron: "Everyone here is highly motivated and excited about the offseason. I think our strength staff, Bob Rogucki and John Dunn and their assistants, they do a great job. One thing we want to do, we've got to get stronger. We want to get faster. Getting those guys back healthy, number one, and also stronger and faster is going to just make for more competition. The more competition you have, the better. We're going to have great competition at all the running back positions. We've got a couple young guys that no one knows about that will bring great competition. We'll have great competition at tight end. It's going to be Edgar Jones' first offseason as a tight end, which I'm really excited about how he can improve. On the offensive line, we've got great competition because a guy like Joe Reitz could really improve, as well as the other young guys. We'll get Demetrius [Williams] back in there, and you've got Marcus Smith, [Justin] Harper[Ernie] Wheelwright and all those guys. Great competition will make everybody better and give us a chance to build some depth."

How big a factor were the signings of Lorenzo Neal and Willie Anderson last season?

"Just a tremendous impact. Number one, Lorenzo gave us the opportunity – not necessarily to move Le'Ron [McClain] to tailback because we were going to do that anyway – but it gave us the ability to work on it in training camp prior to the first game. We went into that first game without Willis [McGahee], so we start the game with Le'Ron and Ray [Rice], but Lorenzo gave us the ability then to move Le'Ron to tailback. But what Lorenzo did for us goes way beyond playing – his leadership, his poise, his toughness. And Willie, who played with Lorenzo [in Cincinnati], both these guys had been in a similar system. Cincinnati's system is similar and Lorenzo and I had been together in San Diego. Willie just brought a veteran presence and filled some of that void that Jonathan Ogden left. You can try to replace a guy like Ogden physically, which, with [Jared] Gaither, we were close. But you don't replace that kind of leadership, and I'll be darned if we didn't, to a degree, by bringing in Willie Anderson. I'm not so sure, having coached in the Pro Bowl, that Willie Anderson didn't have a Pro Bowl year at right tackle. I'm not sure there were many right tackles that played better than he did last year, especially down the stretch. I think if the voting had been done later on in the year, we might've seen him out there with us."

Do you expect the trend of having two-quarterback or Wildcat-type formations will continue to be a trend around the league next season, or was that just a one-year fad?

"Logic would say that defenses obviously won't be caught off guard by it. I think once people saw what our defense was able to do against Miami, that pretty much slowed it down some. Did it stop it? I don't know. To me, it's about the guy. If you have a special guy, and Troy [Smith] brings a lot – I think Troy's going to be a heck of a quarterback – you don't have to do these kinds of things with Troy for him to be good. He can do the other stuff at a really high level. But I think Troy's a good football player. I think Troy can help us win. Our approach offensively is just like our approach defensively. If a guy is active – and Troy's going to be active – you might as well play him and use him. If Troy's active, then we'll find a way to play him."

Todd Heap didn't have the same numbers he's had in other years when he's been healthy. Was this due to a change in his role? If so, how did he respond to that?

"He played a ton of plays, number one. The other number that's important is winning. I think he tied the most number of wins [13] in a season for Todd Heap, which I think that has value. Our tight end is going to be measured on how he blocks, pass protects and what he does in the passing game – all across the board. We need a tight end that can do a lot of things. When you look at Todd from that perspective, he had a heck of a year. I don't look at our tight end from a total catches perspective. Now, we'd like to see him catch the ball more. We'd like to see third-down production improve. We'd like to see his touchdowns improve. But, at the same time, Dan Wilcox is going to catch a couple. We're going to spread the ball around to everybody. That's just our philosophy. We want everybody involved. So we may not have the one guy that has the earth-shattering stats, but we're going to have a group of guys that all do extremely well statistically."

Now that everyone has a year in the system under their belt, how do expect the continuity to help this coming season?

"I think we just make sure we don't fall into the trap of assuming that because you're a year older you're getting better. You don't. I think you have to reinvent yourself every year. We will go back to square one and reconstruct our offense. We'll do it at a little faster pace, especially now that our offensive line comes back for the most part intact. I think the misnomer about our offense this year was that we were evolving at Joe [Flacco]'s pace. That really was not the case. Conventional thinking would say that's the case, but you've got to realize we started off with a first-time starter at left tackle [Gaither], a first-time starter at left guard [Ben Grubbs], a first-time starter at center [Jason Brown]. Our right guard [Marshal Yanda] was a first-time starter at right guard. Our right tackle was Adam Terry, who had played there some. So we were evolving with our offensive line in conjunction with Joe. That's why we wanted to establish our running attack. So now that our offensive line is intact, it's going to allow us to evolve in some other areas, but we're not going to assume anything. We will go back and reconstruct everything that we're doing because people will attack us differently next year than they did this year. We need to be prepared for that."

How much satisfaction do you take in helping construct a productive offense with this team, which has had its struggles on that side of the ball?

"Number one, I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for the guys that coach the offense here. I always look at offenses in correlation to their defenses and special teams because ultimately I think good offensive coaches are trying to win games, not necessarily be the No.1 offense in the league. That'll always be our goal, to be the winningest offense that we can be. With that being said, I think that we're headed in the right direction in two areas. One is in taking care of the football, ball security. We had 21 turnovers this year. Hopefully, we won't have more than that. I'm not comfortable with that at all, especially given the fact that three of those got run back for touchdowns. If we turn the ball over, we want to be darn sure that we get the guy on the ground so our defense can get them stopped. So we're in the ballpark there. If we can take care of the football like that, then we can win pretty consistently. The second thing is you've got to try to score more. You get in that 20-plus point range, and you want to work that up closer to 30. That's what you want to do. You want to take care of the football, and you want to try to score 30 or more points. Hopefully, we can keep going in that direction. But I can tell you I've never been big on comparing what we're doing to somebody else or get overly enamored with the job that we just did. There are areas we can improve. However, I would say that we would like to have a good offense and make it not only fun to play in but fun to watch. It's easier said than done, but I think our players enjoyed playing in it. I think it was fun to watch at times. The last thing is that we've got to remain as unselfish as we were this year. If we do that, then the sky's the limit for this offense."

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