Well, here we are folks. It’s the start of the off-season for our Baltimore Ravens and the news keeps coming in as swiftly as the franchise changes. By now, everyone is aware that former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has moved on to become Indy’s new head coach with former linebacker’s coach, Dean Pees, filling the newly vacant DC position. I’m also sure that most fans have heard that the Ravens plan to keep Cam Cameron as the offensive coordinator which will now be his fifth year leading the Ravens’ offense.
Despite early indications that Cameron would not return next season as the Ravens’ OC, the team has decided that his return next year was what would be best for the team. Most fans don’t agree, and in fact I’m fairly confident that given a poll, I’d expect about an 80/20 split amongst fans with about 80% in favor of Cameron leaving the franchise. General consensus has been that Cameron’s play-calling is questionable, in-game adjustments are few and far between and that the offensive scheme is predictable and doesn’t quite fit the current personnel.
To be fair, those are all valid points, even if they are merely from a fan’s perspective. But it’s not just the fan’s that have questions. Many respected voices within the NFL have spoken up about the controversy surrounding Cameron’s style, with Greg Cosell saying: "Watching their tape is like watching the 1960’s. One wide receiver to each side, isolation routes. No bunch sets, rub routes."
Before I go any further, I will admit freely that I have been just as critical of Cameron and his running of the offense as many other have been. But, I’m going to take a chance here and try to spin the news of Cameron being retained as a good thing and try to put it into a positive light. Please, don’t get too furious with me and follow along after the "Jump" to see what I’m getting on about.
Right, on to the positives: For starters, with Cameron remaining at the helm, the Ravens will be able to hop straight into training camp and get to work. Although many have questioned his offensive system, in my opinion it will be better to go into training camp with the personnel having a grasp on what’s going on rather than having a new offensive coordinator installing a brand new scheme. The Ravens seem to be right on the cusp of having a phenomenal offense, so my question would be, why change now that the team is so close to it’s ultimate goal of a Super Bowl berth? Installing a new scheme takes time, and with so many young skill players on offense after the veteran turnover from last season, this gives the younger guys a chance to pick up where they left off instead of starting all over again. With a full training camp for Smith, Pitta and Dickson to work with Flacco, I expect that we’ll see much better results in 2012.
This season, many Ravens skill position players dealt with injuries all year. Boldin was playing on a torn-up knee for most of the year, and Lee Evans missed significant time nursing an ankle injury which forced rookie wide-out Torrey Smith into a starting role. Injuries happen and they certainly aren’t the fault of the offensive coordinator. With time to heal, I expect better production from the passing game next year just by simply getting healthy during the team’s time off.
With the passing game being the part of the offense in question, I expect the running game to remain dominant with a main combination of Vonta Leach paving the way for the most complete running back in the NFL, Ray Rice. It’s no secret that the crux of the Ravens’ offense is Rice, and in the few short years he’s been with the Ravens, he’s proven that he can do it all and put the offense on his back if need be. I don’t see any reason why that should change next year. With Ray Rice in the backfield, the offense will continue to improve and move forward to bigger and better things.
Having said all I have thus far, perhaps the biggest reasons why I think the Ravens will be just fine are because:
- The Ravens have made the post season for the past four seasons with Cameron running the offense, and if not for a dropped pass or missed field goal last week in Foxboro, maybe retaining Cameron isn’t even a question at all. I know exactly what most are thinking as I’m writing this as well; it’s the defense that has carried the team this far every time. While there is probably some truth to that, the offense has been able to do their job and put enough points on the board to win games consistently.
- Ozzie Newsome believes that this is the best decision for the team. Rarely, if ever, has the Ravens’ brilliant GM ever made a questionable decision and he is an enormous reason for the team’s constant success. I have faith that he’ll always make the best decisions for the team’s future.
So, there we have it. Whether or not any of us believes that Cam Cameron has it in him to lead the Ravens’ offense to greater heights, we are simply along for the ride and have to see how this all shakes out next year. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’ve completely lost my mind, but I think that with some fine tuning, a few extra wrinkles and time for Joe Flacco to work with his receivers, that the Ravens’ offense will be just fine.
So before the torches and pitchforks show up, I’m going to go draw my shades, turn off my lights and barricade the door, but thanks for reading!