Not a fan of Cam at all, but he has called some good games while he's been here and has helped us play to our strength on offense to win some big games, he always calls great games against Pittsburgh, and normally calls a good game against good teams. I just wish he did it more consistently, especially against the lesser teams. Cam can't be blamed by the poor execution of our offensive players at times. Cam can't stop Lee Evans from getting a ball stripped when it shouldn't have been in a game winning play to get to the SB. Also I do think a lot of Ravens fans like to put the blame on Cam even though Flacco has at times clearly under performed in certain games.
Obviously there have been games that he has inexplicably called, like the Seattle game, and really it's unacceptable when you are a coordinator for a team like the Baltimore Ravens, and to have a big part in losing the game for them against an obvious inferior team like the Seahawks.
There are only three teams who can win the SB by running the ball and playing tough defense in this league right now, and that's us, the Texans, and the 49ers. All three teams could have easily went on to win the SB this year, had one or two unlucky plays not happened. That's the thing about deep play off matches, everyone says the explosive offensive teams can only win SB's nowadays. Well that's bullshit tbh, because really it comes down to a play here or there, a lot of it is to do with luck when you get deep into the play offs. Sure you have one or two games like the Denver/Patriots game where it's a one sided affair, but 90 % of the time it's so tight that all it takes is one dropped pass on 3rd down, and you miss out on the SB.
- Lost our starting LG for six games, and had horrible O-line play during that time
- Got inconsistent play from our old, overweight LT
- Replaced two of the most sure-handed pass catchers in team history with young, first-time starters
- Then lost our #2 receiver to injury for most of the season, forcing us to start a rookie
- Had no 3rd WR for most of the season, due to the Evans injury and David Reed's issues, the rest of the guys being rookies
- Our #1 receiver being slowed most of the saeson by a knee cartilage issue, but we still coax a thousand-yard pace out of him (pro-rate to 16 games).
- One of our best players on offense being a fullback who is a terrible, terrible receiver
- Our old center getting dominated, absolutely owned by the opposing NT in the AFCCG. Wilfork was the best player on the field that day.
I gotta say, the further away we get from the day-to-day detail, the more it looks like Cameron did a fantastic job last season. When you look at the big picture, the Ravens had a ton of personnel issues on offense last year. They were rickety on the O-line and hurt at WR. On, and while the All-Pro FB is a magnificent run blocker, he is a flat-out liability as a receiver.
Cameron dealt with all that, and he coaxed a thousand-yard pace from the slowed #1 receiver, a magnificent season from the high-draft pick rookie receiver, and got 900 yards and 8 TDs from the tight end tandem. And oh yeah, had his RB lead the league in yards-from-scrimmage. The more I think about it, the more brilliant it seems.
Cam is not perfect as a play-caller. Somewhere there is a fine line between the stick-to-it-iveness required to make something work, and the flexibility to make an adjustment when required. Cam is not at the sweet spot, he's a little on the stubborn side of that fine line. The Seattle game last season was an utter debacle.
But damn few people are "perfect" at play-calling. The best I've ever seen are guys like Bill Walsh, Sean Payton, Norv Turner, maybe Charlie Weiss. Guys whose play calls are breathtaking, and almost always seem to produce points. Maybe I'm missing some: but even those guys need a punter on the roster. The rest of the OCs get some right, some wrong, just like Cam.
Cam seems to be outstanding at structuring an offense that will let the players produce within their roles over the course of a whole season. I could stand to see a bit more flexibility / variety within a game, but I can't argue with the structure over the course of a season.
Meant to add this:
Let's remember, Cam looked like a genius in 2008, when we had a rookie QB and went to the AFCC anyway behind the 3-headed monster and a strong O-line. He looked pretty good in 2009, when we went to the playoffs again with our 2nd-yr QB throwing for 3600 yds and over 20 TDs when our WR group consisted of a 35yo Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, and Kelley Washington. (Plus the juggernaut that is Demetrius Williams.)
Cam started to look bad in 2010, when we lost Jared Gaither and had to move Oher to LT, Yanda to RT, and actually start Chris Chester all season. We had a leaky O-line all season, and the fearsome over-30 WR corps: 30yo Boldin, 36yo Mason, 33yo TJ Housh. Then we had the problems this past season.
I honestly think we are on the cusp of an offensive explosion. 2010 was the watershed, where we went "old" with the WR corps, and got disappointing results. I think that led to an overhaul. The past two offseasons have seen much-needed investment on the offensive side of the ball. We've gotten younger and faster at the offensive skill positions. I think we have more WR talent than the Ravens have ever had (since 1996, anyway). It's mostly unproven, but I think someone among Tandon Doss, David Reed, LaQuan Williams and Deonte Thompson will emerge as a good NFL receiver. We've also spent some high draft picks on the O-line, which should start to show dividends in 2013.
I expect some inconsistency this season, because of a shaky O-line. Highs and lows. But I think we will start to see some fireworks late this season and esp next season.
The reality of the situation is that, for better or worse, in the playoffs, Cam Cameron has put his players in position to make plays. For three straight years, dropped passes have doomed this offense. In the playoff game against Indianapolis, LeRon McClain dropped a WIDE open pass with only one defender in the area, a undersized Indianapolis defender that he could have stumbled over into the end zone, if the defender could even get there in time. If you go back and watch that game, there are close to a half dozen dropped passes on third down and it seemed like everybody contributed. Joe was actually making throws, over the middle of that zone and guys just weren't catching passes.
Two years ago, Cam made some conservative calls after they gained the lead (Likely from Harbaugh's request), but put Boldin in position to catch the go ahead TD. He dropped it. Then, he put Houshmanzadeh in position to make the catch to extend the last offensive drive. He dropped it.
Last year, Cameron went conservative early, which was both his and Harbaugh's fault. It was Harbaugh's fault for the approach and Cameron's for running the same damn play over and over. Wilfork must've been laughing inside as he continuously shifted the line to where the play was going. Eventually, they got it together. Now, you can question why Evans was the first read on that play, and I think the play was more of Joe making a great throw, but the theme remains. The players are in position to catch passes and they drop them.
Here is my problem. It shouldn't come down to one play or two plays where the execution has to be absolutely perfect.
It seems like every game plan is set in stone and in-game assessment and adapting does not take place...or if it does, it is a quarter latter than everyone watching the game has already figured out. Why is that? I know there is a host of coaches up in the booth and on the sideline. Do they not see? Just wondering.
Every play is pretty simple and the player HAS to be superior in ability to win the battle to make the play succeed. At the pro level, we are talking about the best to begin with, so to be superior at every position is a little too much to expect.
So... not just the game plan, but the designed plays have to create space for receivers, misdirection for runs and pass plays alike. Yes, Bill Walsh was great at this, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to design the plays to actually move the defenders around to create the needed space. The Steelers do it all the time with trips to one side.
And that is a huge flaw in the Ravens' offense. Flacco is consistently required to thread the needle while under duress and that is too much to expect of any quarterback.
Opposing players and analysts have stated the shortcomings of the Ravens play designs as one reason why they are easy to defend.
At some point, learning has to be taking place among the coaching staff.
Yes, Evans didn't hold onto the ball, but we could have passed all day long and deep, as well, if Oline adjustments had taken place and the obvious lack of any Pat defender keeping up with Torrey or Boldin (a short WR covering him and we don't throw to him-REALLY?!) underneath. Pats were next to last in defending the pass.