NFL Nation: 2014 season predictions
Firing of Cameron was 'a brilliant move'
January, 24, 2013
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
Cam Cameron told The New York Times that his firing in December by the Baltimore Ravens was "a brilliant move."
"Everyone on the team took a look in the mirror after that," Cameron said.
Cameron is right that his firing put the responsibility of the offense on the players. It put them on notice. They could no longer place the blame of an inconsistent offense on Cameron, who was the frequent scapegoat after losses.
And Cameron is right that it was a brilliant move. The Ravens made it to two AFC Championship Games under Cameron but failed to make the Super Bowl. The Ravens don't get to the Super Bowl this season with Cameron calling the plays.
The reason why the Ravens were able to beat the New England Patriots Sunday was loosening the reigns on quarterback Joe Flacco after halftime. New offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell spread out the defense with more three-receiver looks and went away from a plodding run game, putting the ball in Flacco's hands.
On the three touchdown drives, which all ended with Flacco passes in the red zone, the Ravens went no huddle and shotgun on 15 of the 24 plays. Flacco threw the ball 70 percent of the time on those series as the Ravens went from trailing 13-7 to going ahead 28-13.
I don't see Cameron signing off on that adjustment in the second half. He increasingly gave Flacco more freedom every year, but he didn't hand over the offense to Flacco like Caldwell did in New England.
I wrote in December that firing Cameron was the right call. I never said it was an easy one. Playoff teams aren't supposed to remove their play-caller with three weeks left in the regular season. But the Ravens made the bold move. And it was that aggressive mindset in New England that put the Ravens in the Super Bowl.
Final Atlanta 24 Jacksonville 14 Final Detroit 23 Buffalo 0 Final Indianapolis 7 Cincinnati 35 Final New York 7 Philadelphia 37 Final St. Louis 13 Miami 14 Final Kansas City 14 Green Bay 34 Final Carolina 10 Pittsburgh 0 Final New England 13 New York 16 Final Washington 24 Tampa Bay 10 Final Baltimore 22 New Orleans 13 Final Chicago 13 Cleveland 33 Final San Francisco 40 Houston 13 Final Minnesota 19 Tennessee 3 Final Denver 27 Dallas 3 Final Arizona 9 San Diego 12 Final Seattle 31 Oakland 41