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In a very unorthodox move, the Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron late in the year and promoted Jim Caldwell, a coach who has never called plays before. He was previously head coach of the Colts, but proved he had the strategy to win, as the Ravens won three straight playoff games and were one of the highest-scoring teams in the postseason. Here is a look back at the move.
The Baltimore Ravens are historically known as a defensive powerhouse, but have tried to morph into an offensive team the past two seasons.
That has not occurred recently under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, so the Ravens decided on Monday to fire the coach and replace him with quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell.
The move came after a tough 31-28 overtime loss against the Washington Redskins that saw the Ravens blow an eight-point lead with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
"My charge -- our responsibility as a coaching staff -- is to maximize the opportunities for our team to win, and we can still reach all of our goals for this season," coach John Harbaugh said in a statement announcing the move, according to ESPN.com.
Baltimore has shown flashes of brilliance on offense this year, including in a 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders, but has been inconsistent most of the time. The team has lost two straight games and is still trying to lock up home field advantage in the playoffs.
"It's not about fair or unfair, right or wrong. My responsibility is to the whole team and what's best for them right now. We need a change. Our plan and our goals are to win games, win our division and get to the playoffs," Harbaugh said.
The Ravens have hinted since last season that Cameron could be on his way out if the offense didn't improve and it is known around the team that the players are fans of Caldwell, who was the head coach for the Indianapolis Colts before being fired after a 2-14 campaign last season.
"We have a motto we follow on this team: W.I.N. --What's Important Now -- and what's important now is to find ways to get better, win the AFC North and advance to the playoffs," Harbaugh said.
Caldwell has experience working with quarterbacks and helped to coach Peyton Manning to three MVP awards while with the Colts as QB coach.
"There is a very human side to this. Cam is my friend, he taught me a lot about coaching, and he is an outstanding coach. Personally, this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do as a coach," Harbaugh said, according to ESPN.com.
Cameron was hired in 2008 and the Ravens have never been ranked higher than 13th in offense while under the coordinator. He was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins before joining the Ravens, but was fired after a 1-15 season. The Dolphins lost their first 13 games that season. Cameron was also offensive coordinator with the San Diego Chargers and QB coach for the Washington Redskins.
During Cameron's tenure with the Ravens, the team hasn't lost more than seven games in any season, but has failed to make it to a Super Bowl thus far. According to Yahoo Sports, "Cameron's offenses never placed higher than ninth in Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted DVOA metrics in overall offensive efficiency."
The Ravens are ranked just 17th in rushing despite having one of the best backs in the league, while the passing attack is ranked 16th with 235 yards per game. The defense hasn't played as well as in past seasons and the team is scoring 25.5 points per game through 13 games this year.
Cameron has been criticized this season for under-using Rice, who has proven to be one of the most explosive players in the league. Rice has 993 yards rushing an nine touchdowns this season, but has only rushed of over 100 yards in one of the past seven games. Against the Redskins, Rice rushed for 121 yards ad one touchdown and also added three receptions for 15 yards.
Baltimore has been a streaky team all season. The team has lost two in a row after winning four straight and also had another four game winning streak earlier this season that was broken by the Houston Texans.
The Ravens have also been frustrated about the lack of development in quarterback Joe Flacco, who has been inconsistent over the past four seasons. He has won a high number of games, but hasn't performed to the expectations of the team.
Flacco will be a free agent after the season and will force the Ravens to decide if he is their quarterback for the future.
"Joe's been able to show it for four years. He's continued to get better and lead his team to the playoffs. That's consistency. Every once in a while you will find a quarterback that will have one outstanding year and that's it. Every once in a while you'll find one that has two pretty good years. And that's it for their entire career. The individuals that can string them back to back to back to back and continue, that's what you look for in terms of performing at a very high level," Caldwell said about Flacco earlier this season, according to Yahoo Sports.
This season Flacco has thrown for 3,220 yards and 18 touchdowns, but has disappeared for stretches in games. According to Yahoo Sports, Flacco is happy that Cameron is out, since he controlled the offense meticulously.