Early this morning, the Baltimore Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. This comes the day after the Ravens lost 31-28 in OT against the Washington Redskins. He will be replaced by quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell.
Cameron has been the Ravens offensive coordinator since 2008, when the Ravens also hired head coach John Harbaugh. Last offseason, Cameron signed a 1 year contract which makes you wonder why he was fired if he wasn’t under contract for next season.
The decision to fire Cameron came at about 7 pm last night and he was told this morning. Supposedly, there were disagreements on the Ravens sideline during yesterdays game. Two topics that were argued were protection schemes and the play calling at the end of each half. Quarterback Joe Flacco and Cameron have had their issues over the last 5 seasons and one of the main reasons for the firing was to keep Flacco happy. One thing that really upset Flacco was that quarterback coach Jim Zorn was fired after one season in 2010. Flacco was very close to Zorn and this upset Cameron which probably led to Zorn’s firing. Lastly, Cameron was viewed as a “control freak” by some people within the organization.
Head coach John Harbaugh said “It’s not about fair or unfair, right or wrong. My responsibility is to the whole team and what’s best for them right now. We need a change. Our plan and our goals are to win games, win our division and get to the playoffs. My charge – our responsibility as a coaching staff – is to maximize the opportunities for our team to win, and we can still reach all of our goals for this season, with our coaches and players, the solution is in the building. We are going to make the most of our opportunities going forward, and this change gives us a better possibility to achieve our goals.”
Harbaugh is good friends with Cameron which made this decision especially hard. Harbaugh said “There is a very human side to this. Cam is my friend, he taught me a lot about coaching and he is an outstanding coach.” He also said “Personally, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a coach.”
New coach Jim Caldwell served as the Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks from 2002-2008 and was their head coach from 2009-2011 were he was 28-24 including playoffs and made Super Bowl XLIV in his first season. He was hired to be the Ravens quarterbacks coach this year. It is interesting to note that he has never been an offensive coordinator in college or the NFL.
Caldwell isn’t expected to change much. He described it as “Not a system change its not a philosophical change.” One change to look for though, will be more hurry up offense. When Caldwell came over this offseason, he helped install the hurry up offense. Flacco has said that if it was up to him, they would run the hurry up all the time.
Another storyline to watch will be whether Caldwell stays as the offensive coordinator next year. One coach that has been linked to the Ravens is current San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner. Turner has had another disappointing season as the Chargers head coach and is expected to be fired. He is highly regarded as an offensive coordinator around the league. Another possible candidate would be Eagles head coach Andy Reid as Harbaugh coached under him from 1999-2007. While I think Turner would be a great offensive coordinator for the Ravens, I think Caldwell will stay for next year unless he does really bad. Caldwell and Flacco have a good relationship and as said above, one of the reason that Cameron was fired was to keep Flacco happy.