No matter how the Ravens spin this one, the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron with just three games left in the regular season smacks of panic. Panic and desperation. There's no other way to read it.
We'll probably never know for sure exactly what got Cameron fired in his fifth season running the Ravens' offense. But we can guess at some of the factors.
The inconsistency of the offense is obviously the main factor, especially after two dismal losses in a row to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Redskins. But that's semi-curious, too, at least the timing of it, since the offense played well in the first half of the 31-28 overtime loss before turnovers in the second half ground it to a halt.
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And wasn't it the Ravens' defense and special teams that pretty much gave the game away at the end?
But Cameron was also undoubtedly undone because of all the preseason hype about how improved the offense would be this year, with quarterback Joe Flacco looking so sharp, running back Ray Rice poised for another great season and speedy wide-out Torrey Smith expected to stretch the field and be a bigger scoring threat with another year of NFL experience under his belt.
Yet another factor in getting Cameron canned was probably his relationship with quarterback Joe Flacco. For years, we've studied the tea leaves and tried to determine how the two men feel about each other.
Cameron was unwavering in his praise of Flacco. But there is no question that Flacco often felt frustrated with Cam's play-calling, which he thought of as timid and unimaginative.
In recent weeks, Flacco also seemed upset that the Ravens failed to stay with the no-huddle offense, something he seemed so excited about at the beginning of the season.
No matter the exact reasons for Cameron's sudden firing, it still seems like a panic move this late in the season.
Oh, the fans and media will cheer -- Cameron has long been the whipping boy on talk-radio shows and web sites whenever the Ravens lose.
And Jim Caldwell, the quarterbacks coach who will succeed Cameron as the offensive coordinator, is a former head coach who certainly has the chops to direct an offense.
But when a team with nine wins and a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl fires its offensive coordinator this late in the season, it's not exactly projecting an aura of confidence and stability.
What it projects, instead, is desperation. And that's rare -- mighty rare -- for the Ravens