|Flacco has been scrutinized this season but some of the blame is on Cameron. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Ryan Wilson
On Friday, we wrote that the Ravens' offensive struggles, and Joe Flacco's in particular, might have less to do with the quarterback and more to do with the guy responsible for setting the formations and calling the plays. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has been a favorite target of unhappy fans and media critics pretty much since Baltimore drafted Flacco in 2008, and now, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Ravens might choose to let Cameron walk after the season.
Cameron's contract is set to expire and, as Mortensen tweeted Sunday, "Tension with Flacco [is] no secret in [the] building."
Some of that tension almost certainly has to do with Cameron's vision of what the Ravens' offense should be. NFL Films' Greg Cosell told Yahoo.com recently that "The Ravens' receiving corps could be the absolute worst in the NFL when it comes to getting open versus man coverage. They don't do an awful lot to get them open versus man — you don't see a lot of the stack release concepts, or all the 'man-beater' concepts. No bunch, no stack release. No rub elements.
"They don't do a lot to help their receivers win versus man," Cosell continued. "I'm not going to defend Flacco, but I think it's very difficult to … it seemed that last week [against the Houston Texans] the route tree was a go route and a screen. I said this to one of my guys [while I was watching the Baltimore] tape — 'I feel like I'm watching a 1960s offense.' Every play, there was one receiver to the right, and one receiver to the left, often two backs or two tight ends, and that was every play, it seemed."
ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski echoed Cosell's sentiments during Sunday's NFL Matchup show.
"Cameron must be creative in this matchup [against the Patriots]," he said. "He can not line up in static formations and expect his talent to win. That's not going to happen. What I want to see -- I think we should look for in this game -- clusters, bunch formations, formation variation, motions, picks, rubs -- all those plays designed by Cam to manufacture big plays."
Sounds reasonable until you see this mind-numbing statistic from Football Outsiders: "In this era of multiple receivers and shotgun spreads, the Ravens actually run a fairly conventional, old-fashioned offense. Our charting lists the Ravens using two wide receivers on 56 percent of plays, the highest rate in the league."
PFT.com calls Brad Childress an "obvious candidate" to replace Cameron should he not return. Childress spent several years on the Eagles' staff with current Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
After a win over the Texans last week, Joe Flacco and the Ravens will take on Tom Brady and the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Championship. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan preview this game. Watch the game on CBS at 3 PM ET.
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