J.Michael: The time for excuses on offense is over
Ray Rice said that the firing of Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron Monday is a “wake-up call for everybody” as the Ravens try to regroup from a rare losing streak and wrap up the playoff berth that eluded them in last-second losses to Pittsburgh and Washington.
The Ravens (9-4) still hold a two-game lead in the AFC North, and host Denver (10-3) on Sunday in a game with huge playoff implications.
Rice, who has been to the playoffs in all four of his seasons with the Ravens, suggested that Cameron’s dismissal has put everyone on notice.
“It’s a wake-up call for everyone around the building,” Rice said at his weekly news conference on Wednesday, “if you can let go the offensive coordinator in the middle of the season. Nobody here wants that to happen, but it’s a wake-up call for everyone around the building that the expectation is to win around here.”
As he spoke after a morning workout in the Ravens indoor facility, Rice made note of a huge banner of the Lombardi Trophy that hangs at one end of the facility.
“We’ve been to the playoffs,” Rice said. “We’ve been to to the dance. Getting to the dance is sometimes not enough around here anymore.”
Rice also said that the offense under Jim Caldwell, promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator this week, isn’t expected to change much.
“We can’t really reinvent the wheel around here and change our whole offense,” Rice said. “We can’t do that right now. But we will stick to the things we’ve done well.”
“We want to be able to play at a tempo,” Rice added. “We want to be able to throw different personnel out there. But we want to be able to execute at a high level.”
Coach John Harbaugh said on Wednesday they hadn’t yet decided whether Caldwell would be on the sideline during games, as Cameron has been, or up in the coaches’ booth alongside defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
Either way, Rice said the change puts more emphasis on veterans such as himself, Anquan Boldin, Joe Flacco and Matt Birk “to go out there and get the guys going. There’s not going to be a magic wand that says, ‘Execute.’ We gotta go out there and do it.”