Ravens' switch to Caldwell may have been turning point for season
For the first time in almost one year, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, who was thought to have influenced the decision to fire then-offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, talked publicly.
And he said the gutsy call that was made last month wasn't his. It was all coach John Harbaugh.
“No,” Newsome said repeatedly when asked if he or owner Steve Bisciotti influenced Cameron's firing. “That wouldn't be fair to John. John has to stand before his coaching staff and his players, and if at any one point do they ever thing that he’s overly influenced by Steve or I, then he loses his staff and his players. It has to be him.”
Then-quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell was installed as the play-caller and he has revived a dormant offense heading into the Super Bowl on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.
Still, the decision to fire Cameron came in Week 14 after a 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins. Newsome said the subject was raised by Harbaugh on the trip home.
Harbaugh and Cameron could be seen arguing on the sideline just before halftime of that game, though he later denied it. It would be the Ravens’ second loss in a row and they dropped to 9-4.
Now the offense looks crisp. The Ravens are averaging 425 yards per game in three playoff games, about 80 yards more under Caldwell. Flacco has thrown 8 TDs and 0 INTs. They’re 8-for-10 in the red zone.
“What I try and do is help John look at the downside and the upside of every decision,” Newsome said, alluding to when the team elected to let linebacker Jarret Johnson leave as a free agent in the off-season. “What’s the downside of not having Jarret Johnson on our football team? … It came down to when he walked into my office and told me he was going to make that decision, he had a peace about himself. That’s all I could ask from him. I said, ‘You want (to)?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I think this is the right thing to do.’”
Cameron spoke recently. He interviewed for an offensive coordinator job with the New York Jets but didn't get it.
“It was a brilliant move,” Cameron told the New York Times on Wednesday about his firing. “Everyone on the team took a look in the mirror after that.”