On December 10th – the morning after the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Washington Redskins 31-28 in overtime – John Harbaugh fired his offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron. In the preceding three weeks, the Ravens offense had been sputtering. In Week 11, Baltimore edged out a 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Joe Flacco threw for 164 yards and Ray Rice ran the ball 20 times for 40 yards. In Week 12, the Ravens squeezed out another win, this time 16-13 over San Diego, and the offense was pretty effective. But even though Joe Flacco threw for 355 yards and Ray Rice rushed for 97, the Ravens couldn’t put the ball in the end zone and had to settle for field goals of 38, 38 and 43 yards. In Week 13, Ray Rice only carried the ball 12 times and the Ravens scored 20 points in a loss to Pittsburgh. Joe Flacco was ineffective. There were calls for Cameron’s head because he wasn’t using Ray Rice.
Then came Week 14, Robert Griffin III somewhat miraculously carrying Washington to victory. Ray Rice rushed the ball 20 times for 121 yards and a TD. Joe Flacco threw three touchdowns on 16-21 passing for 182 yards. But on Baltimore’s first and only possession of overtime, Rice rushed the ball once, on second down, for three yards. On first down, Flacco threw an incomplete pass and on the third and final play of the drive, he only managed to scramble for 3 yards. The next day, Cameron was fired.
The blinkless assassin, Jim Caldwell, took over for Cameron, and the Ravens offense continued to sputter. But now they’re in the Super Bowl, mostly because the defense has outperformed its regular season incompetence. But in a recent New York Times story, Cam Cameron admits not only that he knew the axe was coming – even if it wasn’t totally justified (our words, not his) – but that it was a stroke of genius.
“‘It was a brilliant move,’ Cameron said Wednesday at his home outside Baltimore. ‘Everyone on the team took a look in the mirror after that.’
‘We were inconsistent,’ Cameron said, and if I’m in charge, I’m saying: ‘Why are we inconsistent? We need to get the team’s attention.'”
This isn’t the first time a former coach has thrown himself under the bus post-firing. You might remember that former Indiana basketball coach Mike Davis made similar comments when he was let go.
“This is a great day for Indiana basketball,” Davis proclaimed. ‘Trust me, it is.'”
Not that Cameron’s magnanimity should go unappreciated, but what’s with the over-sold, self-hating applause? There’s a difference between understanding the move and condoning it, let alone outright praising it. Not that we’re particularly partial to Cam Cameron, or anything – the man did nearly lead a team to 0-16 – but this trend sort of weirds us out. Whatever happened to good old fashioned sour grapes employer-bashing?