Ravens Announce Cameron as O.C.

Head coach John Harbaugh made the first step in assembling his first coaching staff Wednesday, naming Cam Cameron the Ravens' offensive coordinator.

"We're excited to get Cam, because he's a fine coach and a good person. He had other options," Harbaugh said. "Like me, he's a coach's son who lives and eats football. Because of that, we share many of the same philosophies about the game: We're going to be tough, we're going to be exciting, we're going to be disciplined, and we're going to play really hard. If we do those things on offense, and we take care of one another, good things will happen.

"Getting Cam makes this a very good day for the Ravens," Harbaugh added.

While Cameron comes to Baltimore after one season as head coach of the 1-15 Miami Dolphins, he is perhaps better known as coordinator for the explosive San Diego Chargers' offense from 2002-06.

Cameron, 46, is known for his ability to cultivate quarterbacks, an ability shown last weekend in Philip Rivers, who led the Chargers to the AFC Championship game last weekend. The young signal-caller originally came into his own under Cameron's guidance.

In 2006, Rivers' first season as a starter, the Chargers went 14-2 and Rivers earned a Pro Bowl berth. Cameron also orchestrated the NFL's top scoring offense that year.

"I think the system does have a good feel for developing quarterbacks," he said in a conference call. "I think the system knows how to utilize backs, tight ends, receivers.

"The core of the system is the offensive line, so for that, we know how critical that is."

The Ravens are hoping some of that sparkle can rub off on them. Under former coach Brian Billick, who was fired on Dec. 31, the passing game finished the 2007 campaign ranked 23rd in the league after injuries forced the Ravens to start three different quarterbacks.

It's a similar situation in Baltimore to what Cameron faced as a Charger, where he utilized a dynamic running back in LaDainian Tomlinson, a Pro Bowl tight end in Antonio Gates and a quarterback situation in transition.

Though he wouldn't comment on specific players, Cameron said that he's looking forward with moving forward with the evaluation of the Ravens' talent. The challenge of working with Willis McGahee, Todd Heap and solving the quarterback issue is a way to quickly move on from his dreary season in South Florida.

"If you're in the National Football League as a coach or a player long enough, you're going to get stung," Cameron admitted. "But the sting is going away and the important thing is now I'm part of the Baltimore Ravens, and I'm really just sincerely – my family as well – we're sincerely looking forward to being there."

Cameron - who is driving to San Diego to pick up his family after meeting with Harbaugh at team headquarters for a few hours Wednesday - began coaching as a graduate student under the legendary Bo Schembechler at Michigan.

It was there, after earning two letters as a quarterback for Indiana, that the Terra Haute, Ind. native developed Harbaugh's brother, Jim, into one of the top signal-callers in Wolverines history. Cameron also worked with Elvis Grbac, a former Raven that set Michigan's single-season touchdowns record with 25 in 1991.

John Harbaugh's coaching relationship with Cameron began in 1997 as an assistant on the Cameron-headed Hoosiers. The duo will now look to build an offense with the help of general manager Ozzie Newsome's personnel that can perform at a higher level than past offensive coordinators have in Baltimore.

Despite all of his accolades, Cameron also realized that his system doesn't have all the answers.

"I think I've seen a lot of players, first-round pick players, come into this system and flourish and win games and go to Pro Bowls and do all those things," he explained. "[I've seen] guys that are undrafted free agents come into the system work hard in the offseason, develop their skills, and then we utilize the talents that they have, and they've gone on to win championships and play at a Pro Bowl level.

"I think it's a combination of the two. I don't think any system is just going to make a player, and I don't think that any one player is going to make a system."

Cameron said that he would follow Harbaugh's lead as the head coach continues to assemble his coaching team. The new coordinator had been contacted by other teams around the league, but decided to pick the Ravens.

For now, Cameron knows he has a long road until opening day. He'll start by echoing Harbaugh's vision for the team: hard work.

"Am I going to make a lot of promises?" Cameron asked. "I know we're going to work hard. We've got a plan. We've got a system of offense that we like. I can't ever remember having to make a whole bunch of promises, offensively. We just have to let our play speak for itself."

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