By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
8:24 PM EST, December 11, 2012
The elevation of Jim Caldwell from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator is already proving to be a popular move among the Ravens' players.
With oft-criticized offensive coordinator Cam Cameron fired Monday morning following a 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins with three games remaining in the regular season, Caldwell takes over the ninth-ranked scoring offense in the league.
"Everybody likes Caldwell, Caldwell is cool, man," Ravens starting inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe told The Baltimore Sun during an autograph signing Tuesday night at Perry Hall High School in Nottingham. "We can't help but be excited. When something like that happens, you have to believe in what the coaches believe in, what the front office believes in. I'm excited to see it. Hopefully, we'll make that no-huddle special."
Added rookie center Gino Gradkowski: "Yeah, we're excited about him. Whatever the organization feels best and we just do our jobs. Coach Caldwell has been a quiet guy so far, but we'll see what happens. He's a very intelligent guy. He knows his stuff, and I'm excited about him."
A former Indianapolis Colts head coach and quarterbacks coach where he worked with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, Caldwell is a major proponent of the no-huddle offense that he helped install during the offseason and has worked closely in conjunction with quarterback Joe Flacco.
Although Flacco attended the event, he politely declined to conduct an interview. At the Ravens' request, Flacco is deferring comment on the coaching change until his usually scheduled Wednesday podium interview.
Cameron politely didn't grant an interview request Tuesday morning, texting that he has "nothing to say."
Cameron was fired after an up-and-down season where he drew criticism for not involving Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice on a more consistent basis and Flacco not making marked progress during the final year of his rookie contract.
Cameron also clashed with coach John Harbaugh on Sunday about the direction of the offense and protection schemes and had been extremely resistant to accepting input and feedback from assistant coaches and players during his time in Baltimore, according to multiple team and league sources. However, Harbaugh adamantly denied a blowup with Cameron during his Monday press conference at team headquarters.
"You still got to feed your family," Ellerbe said of Cameron, who's still being paid by the Ravens under the terms of his contract. "I hate that for him, but he'll get another job."
Gradkowski expressed sympathy for Cameron losing his job after five seasons in Baltimore.
"Yeah, I liked Cam a lot, but that's the nature of the business," Gradkowski said. "It's out of our hands and we can't do anything about it."
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.