There are all sorts of things that led up to the decision to replace Cameron with quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell, but if I had to guess, I think it came down to what everybody saw on Sunday at Fed Ex Field.
The Redskins offense was imaginative and exciting and, in comparison, the Ravens – even on what started out to be a very good day for Joe Flacco and Ray Rice – ended up looking dull and indecisive by comparison.
The Redskins, even with an emergency quarterback, got receivers open in big situations and made big plays, most notably the touchdown pass and two-point conversion by Kirk Cousins that forced the game into overtime and cost the Ravens an AFC North title-clinching victory.
Redskins OC Kyle Shanahan outguessed the Ravens when it counted. Cameron’s offense went three-and-out after winning the toss and getting the ball first in overtime. It certainly wasn’t his fault that the Ravens had a rare special teams breakdown on the ensuing punt, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wondering why he called a vanilla run on a second-and-long situation on that first overtime series to put Flacco in another pressure-packed third down situation.
Those are the times when the big-time quarterbacks in good systems pick apart tired defensive secondaries, but the Ravens offense that already had let the Redskins off the hook with two turnovers in the third quarter just went to sleep again at crunch time. Between the flashes of brilliance from Flacco, Rice and Torrey Smith were longer and longer periods of offensive incoherence and inconsistency.
The Ravens need a new guy to call the plays and put together the gameplan.
It’s not all Cameron’s fault, of course. John Harbaugh always talks about games in terms of team wins and team losses -- and he is right to do so – but the Ravens reached a point in the season when they had to decide if just making the playoffs for the fifth straight year (which they almost certainly will do) would be enough.
If they wanted to give themselves a chance to go deep into the postseason, they had to do something in a hurry. Who knows if Caldwell can put the wheels back on the offense, but somebody has to try.
Though it’s hard to argue with Cameron’s overall results, it definitely was time for a change.