Most Valuable Raven? Cameron's the right call

The Baltimore Sun

Selecting the Ravens' Most Valuable Player is a difficult task.

Is it Ed Reed? Or Ray Lewis? Or perhaps Joe Flacco?

But there's no debate when choosing the team's Most Valuable Person - Cam Cameron.

His first season as offensive coordinator has brought a much-needed influx of creativity and unpredictability.

Cameron has gotten so much out of so little this season. He doesn't have a clear-cut No. 1 running back. He doesn't have a big-play receiver. He doesn't have a healthy offensive line.

Yet armed with a rookie quarterback, Cameron has turned around an offense that regularly slumped under Brian Billick.

Dating back to the game at Miami - where Cameron revisited his 1-15 nightmare season as a head coach - the Ravens have averaged 29.8 points, which is the highest in the NFL over the past eight games.

Of course, the defense has scored five touchdowns during that span. Take those away and the offense is averaging 25.3 points in that stretch.

During Billick's nine seasons, the Ravens never averaged 25 points. His highest-scoring team was 2003, when the Ravens put up an average of 24.7 points.

Cameron has kept defenses off balance with an inventive playbook. Putting Flacco and backup quarterback Troy Smith on the field at the same time, he has designed option plays for Smith and passes to Flacco.

He has regularly used unbalanced lines, moving two tackles to one side. He has even used three offensive tackles in some formations.

Where Cameron has caught the attention of the team is his unpredictable play-calling.

In Sunday's 24-10 win over the Washington Redskins, he converted first downs by calling a draw on third-and-10 and a pass on fourth-and-one.

The fourth-down decision was a gutsy one because the Ravens led only 14-0 in the third quarter and would have given the ball back to the Redskins at the Washington 43-yard line.

Before the Ravens ran the play, coach John Harbaugh told the defense the team was going for the first down.

"They kind of looked at me and [said], 'Punt them down in there!' " Harbaugh recalled. "And I said, 'Wait until you see this call.' So then they all jumped off the bench, and they were watching. They couldn't believe it, either."

The play called for tight end Todd Heap to fall at the line of scrimmage before sneaking out to the flat for the pass.

The result: a 24-yard gain that set up a field goal.

Said Harbaugh: "That's Cam Cameron at his best."


In Cam Cameron's first season as offensive coordinator, the Ravens are tied for 11th in the NFL in scoring. If the season ended today, that would be the third-highest ranking in team history:

Year Ranking Pts. Per Game

1996 ....... 6th .................. 23.2

2003 ....... 8th .................. 24.7

2008 .... t-11th* ............... 24.3

2006 .... t-12th ................ 22.1

*Through 13 games

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