J.Michael: The time for excuses on offense is over
With offensive coordinator Cam Cameron being fired earlier this week, the Ravens tried to look forward Wednesday.
Left tackle Michael Oher said quarterback Joe Flacco appears upbeat after coach John Harbaugh took credit for the move.
"Joe seems like he’s happy about it and I’ve seen him smiling," Oher said.
Ray Rice came to the Ravens in 2008. Cameron was the only coordinator he'd ever known.
"I have tremendous respect for Cam Cameron and what he’s done for me over my career. … I look back on the good. Cam is a genuinely good guy. I did send him a text, wished him well, thanked him for everything he’s done for my career," Rice said. "He’s a great coach. I know the pressure to win in this business. It’s always tough to see a guy go while it’s still going. He was well respected by the players."
Cameron's relationship with Flacco has been questioned all season. Flacco has said as recently as Nov. 4, after a 25-15 win at the Cleveland Browns in which the Ravens blew a 14-point lead and had to come back to win, that the offense had gotten "stale."
Before that, he thought defenses were able to get "a bead on" what the Ravens were doing which made execution difficult.
Flacco threw for three touchdowns in the first half of last week’s 31-28 overtime loss at the Washington Redskins, but he disappeared in the second half when he only threw for 62 yards and committed two turnovers.
But he was caught off guard by Cameron's firing with just three games left in the season.
"I was definitely stunned to hear the news," said Flacco, who was a rookie with Rice in 2008. "Cam has done so much for my career. He brought me here and has helped me every year I've been here. I'll never forget that."
Rice led all players with total yards from scrimmage one season ago, surpassing 2,000. He's a little bit off that pace this season with 993yards rushing, 9 TDs and 424 yards receiving.
"The amount of games we’ve won over the past couple years is amazing. He had a great run," he said. "When it happens, you sit back and just reflect. ... I was looking back on two Pro Bowls in five years. I was looking back on the amount of receiving yards I got. I was looking back on so much of the good things. I was able to start my career off with Cam Cameron.
If the Ravens had beaten the Redskins, Cameron likely would still be around. Instead, the Ravens are on a two-game losing streak -- their first back-to-back losses since 2009 -- and have yet to clinch the AFC North.
Rice had a season-high 121 yards on 20 carries vs. Washington, and he had a 7-yard TD run.
"Cam called a great game last week. Obviously we didn’t win, but he doesn’t put on the pads for us, so we can’t be naïve about that," Rice said. "Us as players, we put on the pads and we got to go out there and execute at a high level. The coaches’ job is to put us in position … and last week he did that."
Receiver Torrey Smith is in his second season and hadn't experienced a shakeup like this before.
"I wouldn’t say that we’re excited about it, it’s just a change. It’s a business, guys get cut and traded each and every day," Smith said. "That’s the decision coach felt was best for the team and it’s our job to make Jim Caldwell the best coordinator in the league."