Update: Just after posting an article on who’s to blame for the Ravens recent loss, news broke of Cam Cameron getting the ax. Heres what we know, and the questions we have going forward.
First thing, a statement just released by head coach John Harbaugh.
First game for Jim Caldwell as OC, ironically enough, against the QB he coached previously, Peyton Manning.
It sounds like for that statement that this was John Harbaugh’s decision. He mentions that, “My responsibility is to the whole team and what’s best for them right now. We need a change.” I’m sure a press conference will be coming soon to answer some questions.
This news brings on a load of questions of it’s own. What does this mean for Joe Flacco? Will he have more control over the offense? Do you trust him to have more control over the offense?
Will Ray Rice be more involved more often now? He has to more involved now, right? Usually with a coaching change, you expect…change. If Caldwell calls the same type of game as Cameron, what was the point?
Do you think this was a good thing, so deep into the season? It had to be done, but it had to be done weeks ago. Is this a sign that the front office didn’t see the Ravens winning down the stretch with the current staff? Desperation?
We’ll have more as some of the details come out. But the major questions we won’t have answered until we get to see the plan in action when the team plays on Sunday.
The one thing I want to see come from this is an offense geared towards the players strengths. Ray Rice’s strength is getting the ball in open space. When’s the last time you have seen the Ravens throw a screen pass against a blitz? I don’t know either. Not only does he need to get the carries to set up play action passes, but screen passes beat blitzes, and get the ball out of Flacco’s hands quickly. Time is of the essence when he’s back there anyway with our weak O-line. An O-line made weaker with the injury to Marshall Yanda.
Another strength you can create for the offense is to get Joe Flacco out of the pocket on designed roll outs and bootlegs. The pocket collapses on him and bad things happen. His pocket awareness is not good. So, take him out of the pocket. The Packers did this with Aaron Rodgers often in his first full year when he wasn’t so mature yet, slower at making decisions. The only time I saw Cam Cameron do this on a regular basis was the AFC title game last year when Vince Wilfork was beating up Matt Birk on every snap. It was one of Flacco’s better games.
That’s all I want to see. Something different. Different meaning better in this case.
There will be more to come as the details come trickling out. On to yesterday, and another late game debacle.
There’s been one thing that has been a constant when it comes to the 2012 Ravens. No matter how ugly, more often than not they find a way to win. “Good teams find a way to win.” Well in Sundays game against the Redskins, they simply did not do that. We’re having a whole different discussion today if the defense gets a stop in the 4th quarter, or if the Redskins didn’t start from the Ravens 22 yard line in OT.
Here’s some of my thoughts from the game, and you can tell me if you agree or disagree.
Sure, when you lose, you lose as a team. Unless you want to to nitpick, (which I’m not a nitpicker) I’m not going to place any blame on Cam Cameron or Joe Flacco. Cam called 35 runs plays versus 21 pass plays. That is a great ratio, especially when you’re playing with a lead like they were in the 2nd half. Flacco completed 76.2% of his passes and his three first half TDs put the Ravens in great position. Sure, was the fumble and INT of his unfortunate? Yes, but those things are going to happen. The O-line didn’t do him any favors in the 2nd half either. You’re allowed to make a mistake or two when your completion % is 76.2 and your QB rating is 121.4.
Ray Rice got his 20 carries. He averaged 6.1 ypc including his season long 46 yard scamper on his first touch of the game. His seven yard TD should have sealed this game. Football 101: Running the ball like that opens up the passing game.
There were two glaring reasons why the Ravens lost this game. I’ll start with the obvious one being the defense’s inability to close the game out. In the 4th quarter, they did force a couple three and outs of the Redskins before Joe Flacco engineered an eight play, 64 yard touchdown drive, eating up four minutes off the clock. The defense should have been well rested enough to get a stop there at the end. Even the two times Griffin III went down which stopped play allowed them to get a breather. The defense just played prevent and got picked apart. We’ve seen it every week for years. Prevent defense prevents you from winning. But teams still do it, allowing offenses to march right down the field.
On the flip side of that, credit the Redskins for attacking our weaknesses on their final drive. I saw them picking on cornerback Chris Johnson and linebacker Josh Bynes the most on that final drive. Why not go after the guy who was watching games from his couch just a month ago, and the guy who is the teams 6th middle linebacker. On the TD pass, Johnson got caught in no mans land when Santana Moss made a move like he was entering his zone on the short right, but then cut back over the middle. Pierre Garcon snuck behind Johnson and it was an easy throw for Kirk Cousins to make. Perfect play call for that situation on their part.
The other thing that cost us this game was misuse of the clock and timeouts. For whatever reason, The Ravens burned a timeout trying some kind of fake punt formation, trying to draw the Skins offsides on a 4th and 3 from the Skins 43 yard line. Why? Just kick it. Or, since you burned a timeout, it’s 4th and 3. There’s a plethora of plays in the book designed to get you three yards, right? Take the timeout and figure out that go to play. Taking a timeout just to punt is asinine. The next timeout was taken prior to the Redskins going for the two point conversion. The Skins were out of them and after the touchdown, it was so loud that Cousins couldn’t hear. He was covering his ear holes. With all the noise and confusion of a QB not even warmed up yet, maybe someone false starts making it a seven yard attempt. Maybe the center snaps the ball on the wrong count and theres a fumble. Instead, taking the timeout allows the opponent to draw up a play, quiet the crowd, it plays right into their hands. In football or basketball, I don’t ever buy the theory that “they wanted to see what formation the offense is going to run. You don’t think the offense is going to make a change on their side when you call timeout? I highly doubt a QB draw was the original play call before the timeout.
Our defense has been riddled with injuries. RG3 showed a ton of heart out there and giving it a shot on one leg like he did inspires a team. But with 29 seconds left and a timeout, (even though you should have three) how are you going to take a knee. A field goal wins and rookie Justin Tucker is perfect from 50+ and a long of 56. But we know he has a leg that you could line up from 65 yards or so if need be. So for a 57 yard attempt, TO WIN THE DIVISION, you need to reach the 40. You tell Joe with his third best completion % game of his career, to only make safe throws against the 31st ranked pass defense that he has did a decent job carving up that day. You can take at least three or four shots at the sideline, take one deep and hope for a flag, maybe take a shot over the middle and use that last timeout. 29 seconds is plenty of time to get 35 or 40 yards to get yourself into long field goal range. Hell, if they gained just 20 yards Flacco can throw a 60 yard hail mary. It’s low percentage, but it’s a chance. But with A CHANCE TO WIN THE DIVISION since Cincy had already lost and the Steelers were going to lose, you take a knee and play for overtime? That’s not even conservative. That’s a losers mentality and a losers metality won’t lead to much success in this league. Especially in the playoffs, if they even get there now.
That was the most sickening thing about the loss was just giving up like that with time still on the clock. I mean, if the Redskins win the coin toss to start OT, they probably just go right down and score another touchdown, the way our defense had been gassed on the previous drive.
This is two weeks in a row that the division title has been within reach, and the team doesn’t just suck it up for one drive and close the game out. Then the coaching staff decides to just give up yesterday with 29 seconds and a timeout to play with. That’s unacceptable to me.
If the coaches don’t want it bad enough, how can you expect the players to want it as well? The Ravens are in big trouble if they go into games against the brothers Manning and the division rival Bengals with this losers mentality.
Maybe making the coaching change is a step in getting away from that losers mentality. We’ll see.
Coach Harbaugh finished his statement after the firing of Cam Cameron by saying, “I’m excited about where we are and where we are going.”
I wasn’t, but I am now.