By John EisenbergRavens InsiderCSNbaltimore.com
In his weekly session with reporters Thursday, Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron disputed the notion that the teams receivers were seldom open for quarterback Joe Flacco in Monday nights ugly loss to Jacksonville.
If you look at the tape, there is separation (from Jacksonvilles defensive backs), Cameron said. Its a matter of us finding them. Its a matter of us having the time to find them. Weve got guys open. Theres times we had a guy open and didnt have time to (throw). We got people behind their secondary and didnt have time to get it to him. Maybe one time they didnt see the guy. But there was enough separation there to throw the football.
Cameron is under scrutiny this week after his offense melted down Monday night, generating no first downs for the first 39 minutes and no points for almost 58 minutes in what ended as a 12-7 win for the Jaguars.
After the game, linebacker Terrell Suggs criticized Cameron, who calls the plays, because running back Ray Rice had just eight carries and 13 touches as the Ravens tried to jump-start their passing attack even though it was misfiring.
Flacco dropped back to pass on 41 of the teams 53 offensive plays, an astounding ratio. But the Ravens had less than 50 yards of offense until a too-little, too-late touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
In the public postmortem that has ensued on talk shows and Internet sites this week, Cameron has been lambasted for trying too hard to make the passing game work on a night when the Ravens receivers couldnt get open against Jacksonvilles tight press coverage.
Cameron fired back Thursday.
I did hear that from someone (about receivers not being open), but if you look at the tape, nothing could be further from the truth, Cameron said. There were people open. (The meltdown) was a collective (blown) protection or a little of this and a little of that. And typically on offense, it only takes one guy to have a little slip that makes a play not work. It was more of that than people not open and I think you just have to look at the tape to believe me.
His comments suggest that he feels some of the plays might have worked better if not for a lack of blocking andor some mistakes by Flacco.
But regardless, Cameron said the offensive players and coaches were retrenching this week and still on the same page despite Monday nights disaster.
I have a ton a confidence in the guys in our (offensive) room, the coaches and players, Cameron said. Its not one of those places where no one will look at you (after a bad game). Some people (on other teams) will have a tough time with it, but not our coaches, not our staff, not our players. This building is a special place. Were all in this together.
In the wake of the Jacksonville game, in which they didnt allow a touchdown, the Ravens now have the NFLs top-ranked defense. But the offense is ranked 19th in rushing, 17th in passing and 20th in overall yards.
Offensively, weve got to go to work, Cameron said. (But) Im not wavering. Weve just got to play better and execute better. Ray Rice has said it a number of times. When we take the fundamentals of this offense and execute it, it looks the way we want it to look. It looks aggressive. It looks like we know what were doing. When we go out and dont execute, it looks like we werent prepared for the game. We were prepared for this (Jacksonville) game. Obviously not well enough.
Lee Evans (foot) and Ben Grubbs (toe) did not practice Thursday and it seems highly likely that will sit out Sundays game. Grubbs hasnt played since week 1 Evans since week 2. Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) and Ed Reed (neck) also did not practice. But Reed spoke to reporters earlier and never hinted he might Sunday.
The Ravens secondary, which has been depleted by injury all season, might be back to full strength Sunday. Chris Carr (hamstring) and Tom Zbikowski (concussion) practiced Thursday and seem on track to play Sunday. And rookie Jimmy Smith is no longer listed on the injury report after playing Monday night.
Former Raven tight end Todd Heap (hamstring) was a limited practice participant for the Cardinals for a second straight day Thursday. He has missed the teams past two games and it is unclear whether he will play Sunday. Beanie Wells (knee) was also a limited practice participant.
Follow John Eisenberg on Twitter at @CSNEisenberg