Old habits die hard. No shock, then, that throughout Baltimore can be heard the resounding cry: Run the ball! Cam Cameron critics, briefly silenced by a dominating offensive performance in week one, are back on their horses and calling for the offensive coordinator's head. They're right. But for the wrong reasons.
The problem with the Ravens game plan against the Eagles was not the run-pass ration. The problem was when they chose to run or pass.
Cameron's been long criticized for being pass happy, while consensus around the nation is that running back Ray Rice is the Ravens most dynamic player on the offense. The most convincing points in this argument are the 2011 games against Jacksonville and Seattle. The Ravens offense was anemic in both games, and Rice combined for only 13 carries over the two losses.
The issue with Cameron, though, is not as simple as the failure to utilize the run-- or, depending on how you look at it, it's actually simpler: Cameron just plain isn't a good offensive coordinator.
The plays Cameron calls, run or pass, are too often predictable and uncreative. For those who simply want the coordinator to run the ball more often, consider the Philadelphia game.
The Ravens offense was successful, even commanding, in the first half. They entered half time with a ten point lead. Rice had carried the ball seven times for a total of 78 yards. In the second half, the offense sputtered. Flacco made mistakes, receivers failed to gain separation, and it became obvious the Eagles defense had made appropriate adjustments defensively. However, Rice carried the ball nine times in the second half, two more than in the first half. These second half carries led to a total gain of 21 yards.
So if the second half collapse wasn't an issue of Rice not touching the ball enough, what happened? Poor decision-making on the sidelines.
Run, run, pass. Look downfield rather than work the middle. Pass calls on thirds and shorts.
The Ravens offensive woes, like any team's, came from a failure to execute. However, there are reasons a team doesn't execute beyond the notion that they are making “mistakes.” Talented, well-coached defenses read the offense and force mistakes. When this happens, talented, well-coached offenses read the defense and adjust to avoid continuing to make those mistakes.
Cameron does not—and has not for four plus years—adjusted well enough. When his game plan works, he looks like an NFL caliber coordinator. When an opposing defensive prevents his plan from working, he is either unable or unwilling to make the necessary adjustments.
At best, Cameron should be an offensive consultant, and with talented quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell on the Ravens' side, maybe the time to cut Cameron loose is now.