Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron
4. Cam Cameron's new contract is evidence the Ravens believe, philosophically, it's better to be cautious and good than it is to take on more risk, even if that risk gives you the potential to be great. Logically, I understand that argument. But it should be clear this offense has a ceiling. Is that ceiling high enough to win a Super Bowl?
I think one of the most damning things that happened to Cameron this year was when NFL Films guru Greg Cosell sat down after the Ravens playoff win over the Houston Texans and watched tape of several Ravens games and said he felt like he was watching an offense from the 1960s. That's something fans have been grumbling about for the past two seasons, and something the media has tap-danced around. But Cosell is one of the few people with the credibility to make a statement like that and have it truly matter. Cosell said he couldn't believe how bad Baltimore's receivers were at beating man coverage, and how little the Ravens were doing to help them out. Here is Cosell after watching the coaches tape.
"[One] feature that stands out about the Ravens is how little they do conceptually to attack and break down man coverage. When your receivers cannot consistently win, you have to help them with specific tactics. Wide receiver motion, bunch concepts, stack release principles, rub elements -- all help loosen and defeat man coverage. I don't see that watching the Ravens. The result, of course, is Flacco looks indecisive and uncertain in the pocket. At times, he holds the ball too long and takes too many sacks."
Bisciotti said Wednesday that he felt coordinators around the league were essentially on a carousel. Someone gets fired, and he's hired somewhere else almost immediately. If he was going to replace Cameron, he didn't feel comfortable picking someone without experience. He pointed to stats that show the Ravens have slowly made progress the past four years in yards and points scored, and that he preferred that gradual progress to blowing stuff up and starting over.
"It's not like we have a Triple-A system [for coaches] where those people are batting .400 and everyone thinks we should call them up," Bisciotti said. "But to go out and get a position coach and make him an offensive coordinator and find out that he wasn't better than what you had? That's all I'm saying. I'm looking at these trends and a logical businessman would say we're making progress."
Bisciotti obviously knows a lot about personnel. It's how he became one of the wealthiest people in the United States. But he needs to look no further than his own head coach to see where that kind of thinking falls short. John Harbaugh had never been a coordinator or a head coach prior to his arrival in Baltimore, but he turned out to be the right man for the job. It was a risk to pick him, but it was the right risk. Are there no young quarterbacks coaches in the league the Ravens have on their radar? Because great organizations are secretly scouting coaches the same way they scout players.
It's true that Cameron's offense had the Ravens one dropped pass from the Super Bowl. But will that same offense be good enough next year just to get back to that point?