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Tag:Cam Cameron
Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Is Cam Cameron the problem for Ravens offense?

FlaccoPosted by Josh Katzowitz

One of the more interesting themes of this week has been the questioning of whether Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco will ever become an elite quarterback. After leading a Ravens offense that bordered on embarrassing in their disappointing loss to the Jaguars last Monday, one has to wonder whether Flacco, in his fourth year in the league, can ever make the jump to top-five status.

As Baltimore coach John Harbaugh pointed out a few days before the loss to Jacksonville, a quarterback should be critiqued by his winning percentage (and Flacco Iwin twice as many games as he loses) and that Flacco doesn’t care about labels. But Flacco followed that up by not leading his team to a first down until the third quarter of Monday’s game.

Yet, perhaps too much of the blame is being placed on Flacco. What about Baltimore’s offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, whose squad is 22nd in the league in total offense (after finishing 22nd last season)?

Team owner Steve Bisciotti was cool with Harbaugh bringing back Cameron for this season, but if the Ravens defense wasn’t ranked No. 1 in total defense, how bad would this team be playing? As it stands, Cameron is no pariah at Baltimore headquarters.

“We are a tight group,” Cameron told the Baltimore Sun. “I know our offensive staff, defensive staff. I know [defensive coordinator] Chuck [Pagano]. I have known Chuck for a long time, our defensive guys. It’s not one of those places where no one will look at you. Some people really have a tough time with it, but not our coaches, not our staff and not our players. This building, I think you guys know, you get to come around here, this is a special place. We are all in this together. John doesn’t just say that -- he lives it. That is part of this business.”

For now, Harbaugh seems to have Cameron’s back.

 “Cam has broad shoulders,” Harbaugh said, via the team’s official website. “We all deserve fingers pointed at us with the way the offense played Monday. It was just a bad performance, and everyone knows it.”

That’s true, but it’s also true that if the Ravens offensive numbers don’t improve, Harbaugh might not have a choice whether he can bring back Cameron next season.

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Posted on: October 26, 2011 10:03 am
 

Everyone on Ravens pointing fingers at offense

Posted by Will Brinson

The Ravens looked downright dreadful on the offensive end of things on Monday in their 12-7 loss in Jacksonville. As such, the critics came calling, with many a pundit ripping Joe Flacco and even Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs questioning the playcalling after the game.

Suggs was baffled about the number of touches that Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice received. That number -- eight! -- apparently didn't sit well with head coach Jim Harbaugh, who said he's on the "same page" with Suggs re: touches.

"I listen to all of our guys and definitely I listen to Terrell Suggs, especially with the way he’s playing," Harbaugh said. "And then, the things he says are right. But, that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s not like we’re not trying to do the things he’s talking about doing. So, I think we’re all on the same page with that."

So that's not good news for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Although our own Mike Freeman reported Wednesday morning that Harbaugh isn't happy about the way Suggs criticized Cameron publicly, so perhaps it's Suggs that should be worried.

Indeed, BaltimoreRavens.com reported late Tuesday that Harbaugh and Cameron huddled up and discussed the offensive problems and determined that everyone's at fault.

"It’s warranted for all of us,” Harbaugh said. "I think we all deserve to have fingers pointed at us when the offense plays like that. That’s tough."

Oh, right, and add Flacco to the list of people that deseve blame, according to Cameron.

"That’s part of our deal," Cameron said. "Heat on me, heat on Joe. The coordinators, quarterbacks, we can all do better. It goes with the territory."

Flacco deserves criticism for making bad throws, of course. But it's not Flacco's fault that the offense is plodding through a late-game situation, or that Rice only got eight carries.

Now, there's an argument that the Ravens weren't moving the ball well on the ground -- Rice averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and Ricky Williams picked up just five yards on three carries.

But the problem with that argument is that 12 total carries for your running backs in a game that doesn't feature more than 19 points is simply illogical. 19 total points means that a game's either a defensive bloodbath or a sloppy offensive game. Either way, mistakes and the other team's opportunities can be mitigated by running the ball and looking to run it more effectively.

Cameron could have worn down the Jaguars defense and limited Flacco's mistakes if he'd simply given Rice the ball more, but for some reason, he didn't feel interested in doing so; when the score of a football game is 6-0 at halftime and still takes two hours to play, something has gone amiss in the respective offensive gameplans.

"Eight carries is never going to be a winning formula for Ray Rice," Harbaugh said. "There is no doubt about it."

Indeed it isn't, and Cameron should probably heed Harbaugh's words and perhaps take a look that the coach had on his face during Baltimore's next-to-last drive of the game. Cameron didn't go with a no-huddle offense initially, and melted nearly 1:30 off the clock with three plays that picked up a whopping 23 yards.

After finally letting Flacco put his foot on the peddle, the offense moved the final 60-plus yards in less than two minutes, scoring their first points of the game.

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Posted on: October 25, 2011 9:57 am
 

Coach Killers, Week 7: Carson Boller, everybody!

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Raiders quarterbacks (take your pick)
Remember Raiders head coach Hue Jackson in the days leading up to the Chargers game, joking about about drinking irish coffee before deciding on his quarterback? He was coy and evasive about whether Carson Palmer would start less than a week after Jackson swapped two first-rounders for him and save Oakland's season. Carson had spent the previous nine months on his couch refusing to play for the Bengals, and while the Raiders was a better situation for him (think about that for a moment), he didn't know the offense or his teammates, and would no doubt be rusty from having taken nearly a year off.

The QB changed, the results didn't (Getty Images)
So when the Raiders took the field Sunday, it was with backup Kyle Boller. Not ideal, but it's what you have to do given the circumstances. What you can't do, no matter how bad things get against a division rival: you absolutely can not bring Palmer in.

First, because, as we've established: HE'S NOT READY. Second, long-suffering Raiders fans have something this October that they haven't possessed in a decade: hope. (The Raiders entered Sunday's game with a 4-2 record. Since 2002, the last time they went to the Super Bowl, Oakland won four games or fewer for an entire season four times. And they haven't had a winning record since 2002.)  After gazing on Palmer in all his unmitigated awfulness, now that's been taken away from them, too.

Jackson panicked. Boller threw three first-half interceptions, the Raiders got down early, and Jackson, perhaps finally realizing that he had mortgaged Oakland's future, decided to get Palmer some work against a Chiefs team that suddenly looked like defending division champs.

Bad idea. Because when Palmer entered the game in the third quarter, he picked up right where Boller left off, tossing three interceptions of his own. And all the talk about the zip on his throws? He must've left that on the practice field, too, because our first glimpse at 2011 Palmer looked a lot like the 2010 Palmer that struggled with the Bengals.

Yes, we get it, that was his first game action since last season. But that's our point: don't even subject him, his fragile psyche and the fans' hopes and dreams to that in the first place. Not now. It's okay to lose convincingly with Boller. People expect it. But to throw Palmer in the mix and to have that happen … well, that's bad. Really, really, bad.

Not to worry, though.

"This football team is not going to blink," Jackson said after the game. "We've got to play better. We've got to play better offensively. I take full responsibility, because this is a team that I lead, and we didn't play like the Raiders can play."

Um, okay. It gets better (or worse, depending on your perspective).

"We knew they had a quarterback controversy," said the Chiefs' Kendrick Lewis, who pick-sixed Boller's first pass of the afternoon. "We studied film and studied their routes and knew they would have a limited playbook. When we had the opportunity to make big plays and capitalize, that's what we did."

No argument here.


The 4th interception of the day for the Kansas City defense was a pick six off of the newest member of the Oakland Raiders Carson Palmer.

Chargers' two-minute offense
San Diego scored 21 points in the first half against the Jets, and led New York for three and a half quarters. And then, when they needed to score a touchdown with just under two minutes to go, the offense showed all the urgency of a team trying to run out the clock. It was only slightly more inexplicable than the defense's decision to cover Plaxico Burress until he got into the red zone because quarterback Phil Rivers, one of the league's best quarterbacks, is supposed to excel in these late-game situations. Sunday, he did not.

A recap:

* 1:29 on the clock, ball on Chargers' 24-yard line. Rivers to Antonio Gates for 18 yards. Perfect start. We've seen this before, right?

* With no timeouts remaining, Rivers sashays up to the line of scrimmage like it's the first drive of the first quarter. Compounding matters: head coach Norv Turner appears to be in no rush to get the play call into Rivers. Twenty-nine seconds later, the Chargers finally snap the ball. Rivers, perhaps drawing inspiration from Tim Tebow, takes a deep drop before throwing a four-yard pass nowhere near the sidelines. Patrick Crayton makes the catch, the clock continues to run.

* Rivers liked the previous play so much, he runs it again, but only after 46 seconds have elapsed. Seriously.

* On third down, the ball is snapped with 17 seconds left in the game and the Chargers having gained a grand total of 25 yards. Thankfully, Rivers throws the ball a) downfield and b) to the sidelines. It falls incomplete. If nothing else, the clock stops.

* On fourth down, needing 51 yards and with just 11 seconds to do it, the Chargers will undoubtedly call a play that gets them a quick first down and then take one last chance in the end zone. Because, really, they're out of other options at this point, right? Turns out, not exactly. Rivers did something nobody expected: he throws the ball … out of bounds.  And we don't mean in a position near the sideline where only his receiver can make a play. We mean: over the bench, almost into the crowd.

So, yeah, that happened.

"Very disorganized," Tony Dungy said Sunday during NBC's Football Night in America. "You expect more Philip Rivers and that offense." Yes, yes you do, Tony.

Chargers tight end Randy McMichael agrees.

“We had them down and took our foot off the gas,” he said. “I’m not giving credit to anybody. This is our fault. Nothing to do with the play calling … Their secondary isn’t anything. It’s our fault. The guys in this locker room, we lost the game. The San Diego Chargers beat the San Diego Chargers. Nothing to do with the New York Jets. It’s embarrassing.”

Unfortunately, the San Diego Chargers don't get a win and a loss for beating themselves.

Jets cornerback (and former Coach Killers honoree!) Antonio Cromartie had a different take.

"When you're up by 11 points in the fourth quarter, and you can't even finish the game up, that shows what kind of team you are: a team that can't finish," Cromartie told The Newark Star-Ledger. "And that’s been San Diego the whole time. There it is."

And Rex Ryan's response when he was asked about McMichael's comments? "Stay classy, San Diego." We're not kidding.

Week 7 Recap

Kevin Kolb, quarterback, Arizona
You think the Cardinals regret a) trading a second-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Kolb, and b) then giving Kolb a $62 million extension? Because we're almost positive Arizona could go 1-5 with pretty much any combination of Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton.

Against the Steelers, Kolb looked like … well, the same dude we saw behind Donovan McNabb in Philly. We were confused when the Cards gave up so much (and then paid so much) to get him in free agency since Kolb hadn't shown that he was anything other than a quality backup and spot starter.

Kolb threw an interception on Arizona's first possession, which led to seven Steelers' points, and he now has just as many TDs as picks (7) this season. He's also completing just 58 percent of his passes, and missing wide-open targets. On Sunday, he short-hopped a ball to tight end Rob Housler on what should've been a first-half touchdown, and the TD pass he did throw -- a 73-yarder to LaRod Stephens-Howling -- was a Tebow special: the ball traveled 10 yards and Stephens-Howling did the heavy lifting for the final 63 yards to the end zone.

As long as we're making comparisons, here's one more: through six games, Kolb is basically Kyle Boller with a permed mullet. This is not a compliment. (Upside: if there's ever a movie about his life, Danny McBride's getting the lead role, though Kenny Powers might have a better arm.)

Like he did in the team's previous loss, Whisenhunt vowed to examine what the Cards are doing and who's doing it. Clearly, Kolb is part of that examination, although there has been no discussion of replacing him. "I"m not saying that," Whisenhunt told the Arizona Republic's Kent Somers when he brought up the possibility. This is what happens when you pay guys $62 million and you're not really sure if they're going to pan out: you have to play them while you find out. Through six games, Kolb's struggling.

That said, he said after the Steelers loss that he felt he was making progress.

"When you have lost five games in a row, I don't think anybody is progressing at the rate we need," Whisenhunt said when apprised of Kolb's remarks.

"I think you're naïve if you say that. I'm not saying Kevin is naïve to say that. Kevin has made progress in some areas, but I think all know there have been some plays he's left out there."

We don't think Kevin's naive, either. Saying "I'm progressing!" is a coping mechanism.

Titans offense, defense
The biggest game of the season against a hated division rival and Tennessee decides to take the afternoon off. That sums up nicely what we can expect from this team the rest of the season. The Titans stumbled out of the gate losing to the Jags, then beat the Ravens in Week 2, got to 3-1 and then were smoked by the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Following their Week 6 bye, they came out wholly unprepared against a team they see twice a year every year, and following a 41-7 beatdown are now 3-3.

And there were no bright spots Sunday. Texans running back Arian Foster, not happy to just run all over the Titans, added an arial assault to the whipping. He had 115 receiving yards in the first half, including a 68-yard pitch and catch from Matt Schaub. By the time it was over, he had 119 yards receiving and another 115 rushing and three touchdowns.

“We got embarrassed in our own backyard. That’s the tough thing about it,” safety Michael Griffin said. “It can get worse. No team is going to look at us as a team that won three straight games. They’re going to look at us as a team that was 0-and-2 against good teams. We’ve got to turn this thing around.”

Luckily, Chris Johnson and his Amazing Disappearing Act, isn't to blame. At least according to Chris Johnson.

“Basically, if you are watching the game and you really can’t tell what is going on with the run game then I would say you really don’t know football,’’ Johnson said. “I wouldn’t say I am the issue. I am very confident I have been doing the things … I do.”

And in 2011, "doing the things I do" means rushing for 18 yards on 10 carries. Yes, Chris, keep doing that. It's a huge help.

Kyle Boller haunted the Ravens on MNF. (Getty Images)
Tie: Rams defense/Ravens offense
Lord have mercy on both these units. It's the unstoppable force and the immovable object having taken the shape of ridiculously bad football. The Rams, an admittedly dreadful team, got steamrolled by a Cowboys' run defense that, prior to Week 7, didn't exist. Remember: Dallas couldn't run the ball late in the game last week against the Pats' porous D. Against the Rams? It looked like Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith joined forces, hopped in a time machine, and went off.

Instead they just lived vicariously through rookie DeMarco Murray, Dallas' third-round pick. Murray's first touch of the game came on the Cowboys' first possession, on first and 19 from the Dallas nine-yard-line. Ninety-one yards later … touchdown. That set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Murray, who saw extended action because Felix Jones was out with an injury, rushed 25 times for 253 (TWO-HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE!) yards.

Jeff Gordon's Rams Report Card in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is … well, about what you'd expect: Defensive line - F, linebackers - F, secondary - D-minus (woo hoo! passing!).

Head coach Steve Spagnuolo got an "F" too. "Spagnuolo was supposed to build this team from the lines out . . . and yet the Rams keep getting manhandled in the trenches, despite heavy investments there. Overall sloppiness remains pervasive six games into this winless season. … The death march continued."

And that's about the best thing you can say about the 2011 Rams.

The Ravens, meanwhile, entered Monday night's game as one of the best teams in the AFC, with their always-stout defense and a young offense that was supposedly improving. Other than the Week 1 hurting they put on the Steelers (which included seven Pittsburgh turnovers and great field position for Baltimore's offense), and the hapless Rams, the Ravens' offense looks to be right out of the era prior to the invention of the forward pass.

And that's fine if offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is feeding the ball to Ray Rice, easily the team's best weapon. But against the Jags, Rice fumbled early and ended up spending much of the evening on the bench. Predictably, Baltimore's offense faltered. (By the way, if Joe Flacco was benched every time he had a turnover he'd be on the practice squad by now.)

By the time it was over, Rice had eight carries for the night. In related news: the Ravens scored seven points, and that came on the next-to-last drive. Ironically: Flacco threw one of the worst interceptions you'll ever see on the last drive, sealing the win for the Jags.

“It's about as bad as you can play on offense,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said afterwards. “I don't know if we could play any worse than that until that [late] drive."

You can't. We checked. The Ravens didn't get their first first down until the third quarter.

“If we don't get the consistency on offense, we're not going anywhere," Harbaugh continued. "You can't play like we played tonight on offense and expect to win. We all know it. We got our butts handed to us from that sense, and we'll go back to work just like we always do.”

Linebacker Terrell Suggs, like everybody else, has no idea what the offense was doing.

"I don't really know what the game plan was," he told CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco after the game. "When I have a Pro Bowl running back, and he's not getting his touches, I'm going to feel some kind of way about it. He wants the ball. And I think we should feed him. Ray Rice is a phenomenal player. You have to use your phenomenal players. I have to question how many touches Anquan [Boldin] had. We've got guys on this team that can do some great things. We have to use those guys. It's that simple."

And this is why the torch-and-pitchfork crowd will be mobilizing this week and calling for Cameron to be fired (it's a weekly occurrence, but the cries should be especially loud this week after losing to the previously 1-5 Jaguars).


Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 105 yards against the NFL's best run defense, Josh Scobee kicked four field goals and the Jaguars snapped a five-game slide with a 12-7 victory over the Ravens on Monday night.

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:29 pm
 

David Reed suspended for violating drug policy

ReedPosted by Josh Katzowitz

When the news first broke last December that Ravens receiver David Reed had been the target of a police investigation, he didn’t seem all that worried about the fact the cops were in his apartment , searching for narcotics (officers did discover marijuana at his place).

Instead, he seemed more worried about his reputation.

Now, Reed really has to worry about his rep, because he’s been suspended for Baltimore’s season opener and fined an additional game check for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Which is unfortunate for Reed, because he’s performed well and impressed the coaching staff this preseason, despite the fact he was dealing with a wrist injury that delayed his training camp debut by two weeks. But even though the Ravens acquired Lee Evans and drafted receivers Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss this past offseason, Reed has done well enough to be considered the team’s possible No. 3 receiver.

“Last year, right when I got excited about him, he gets hurt,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron told the Baltimore Sun last month. “Then, this offseason, he had to have the wrist done. Now he's back, and hopefully he'll stay healthy. There's no question that he's ahead of these guys (Doss and Smith) in the sense that he's not hearing most of this stuff for the first time. He has a good feel for NFL defenses. He knows what the expectation is. He's been nothing but a plus, not only this year so far, but he's come back with the right attitude. He's practiced well, and he played pretty good the other night."

Now, it’ll just take a few more weeks before we actually see him on the field.

In other drug suspension news, Redskins cornerback Phillip Buchanon will take a four-game vacation, as directed by the NFL. According to the Washington Post, Buchanon has declined all interview requests this preseason.

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Posted on: May 11, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Hot Routes 5.11.11: Anybody up for bull riding?



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Just what we need: another reality show featuring an NFL player doing, I don’t know, every-day stuff that none of us should actually care about. Jets CB Darrelle Revis – coming off his well-regarded Hard Knocks performances – wants to make it happen.
  • Although Houston’s Brian Cushing will be moved to inside linebacker in Wade Phillips’ new 3-4 scheme, Phillips said Cushing will spend plenty of time rushing the quarterback. Which is good for the Texans, because he’s pretty good at that.
  • Apparently, 19 percent of people surveyed said they would be less likely to watch the NFL if the season is delayed. That doesn’t seem like a huge percentage, but still, that would be a ton of people who would abandon the bandwagon. That’s if you believe them, of course.

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Posted on: January 29, 2011 4:35 pm
 

Flacco 'not happy' over Ravens firing Zorn

Posted by Will Brinson

On Thursday, the Ravens gave the boot to quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn. Since then, there's been plenty of chatter about whether or not there was drama creeping into the relationships within the Baltimore offensive staff.

Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. But's quite clear, based on his quotes Saturday, that Joe Flacco isn't pleased with the decision to send Zorn packing.

"I'm not happy about it and they know I'm not happy about it," Flacco said per Aaron Wilson of the County Carroll Times. "I don't think it was a good decision.

But not only did Flacco disagree with the decision, he also took it personally.

"I also feel like a little bit like I'm being attacked," Flacco said. "You fire the quarterback coach. Usually when your fire a position coach, it's because you're not really happy with how that position did. And when I look back on my season and our season as a team, I mean, we won 13 games. I felt like I had a pretty good year and you're firing the quarterback coach? It's kind of an attack on me, I feel like.

Pretty strong words from the Baltimore quarterback there, especially considering he's throwing his weight behind a coach who he only worked with for one season.

Particularly damning might have been Flacco saying that his "guess" is that Cam Cameron will take on "more of a role in the quarterback room." Perhaps it won't seem like that big of a deal down the road, but at the moment, it sure does seem like he's confused about the work his offensive coordinator's doing.

And that's something that will only become more problematic if the Ravens start slow in 2011, especially if it's on the offensive end.

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Posted on: January 29, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Hot Routes 1.29.11: Bill Murray's a big Bears fan

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • BlackBookMag has a superb and (potentially NSFW because of language) story about Bill Murray at the Chicago Bears NFC Championship game last Sunday. Basically, a Packers fan in Chicago was cheering for his team really loudly and got shoved in the back. He turned around to find Murray cackling at him and later saying some awkward stuff. It's par for the course for Murray, but thankfully there's picture proof.
Posted on: January 28, 2011 3:30 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Was there Jim Zorn drama in Baltimore?

Posted by Andy Benoit
J. Zorn (US Presswire)
For the second straight year, Jim Zorn finds himself looking for a new job. The Ravens fired their quarterback coach earlier this week, reportedly because of communication problems between Zorn and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Jamison Hensley and Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun write, “One of the main reasons why the Ravens fired Zorn was his teaching methods, according to a league source. Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Cameron spent all day Tuesday questioning Zorn about how he was coaching quarterback Joe Flacco and were concerned about Zorn being insubordinate, the source added.”

Harbaugh disputed the report Friday, saying, “Jim’s departure from the Ravens will remain as private as these matters can be, but we feel it’s necessary to at least point out that this report is inaccurate. It is not true in any way, shape or form.”

Zorn’s West Coast background did not jive with Baltimore’s system, so this was a marriage that likely wouldn’t have lasted long anyway.

Zorn will find work again. One destination that makes sense is Cleveland, where his former colleague Mike Holmgren is president.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com