After two straight losses, the Baltimore Ravens have decided to fire offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and promote quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell, according to the Baltimore Sun. It's no surprise to see a team cut loose a coach to try to shake off a bad spell. But it's a little weird to see the Ravens' recent struggles pinned on the offensive coordinator.
In the first of those two losses, the Ravens carried a 20-13 lead into the fourth quarter against Pittsburgh, then allowed Charlie Batch to rally the Steelers to a tying touchdown and then long drive for the game-winning field goal as time expired. Yesterday, the offense put up 28 points against Washington. Then a gimpy Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins carved up the defense for a tying touchdown and two-point conversion with 29 seconds left in regulation, and a long punt return by rookie Richard Crawford gave the Redskins an easy field goal for the win.
That's an average of 24 points per game. For Baltimore's usual feared, heavy-hitting colossus of a defense, that would have been more than enough. But this year's defense, especially the linebacker corps, is ravaged with injuries. Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Dannell Ellerbe and Jimmy Smith were all inactive due to various ailments yesterday. Too bad firings are only metaphorically healing.
And how about the next man up? Caldwell and Peyton Manning were a great pairing, but Flacco is not Manning, although he might think he is. The Sun pointed to Flacco's "uneven performance" as a reason for the firing. So now the guy who coached Flacco directly is taking over the whole offense. Maybe it'll work. If Caldwell can realize that Ray Rice is a treasure who should get at least 20 carries per game and be used as a dump-off option on passing plays, though, he should do fine.