One of the criticisms of the offense that came out of last Sunday’s loss was the pace of the offense. Down two scores, the Quarterback Joe Flacco seemed to really take his time getting up to the line and there seemed to be little urgency in getting a flow going with his unit.
On Thursday, Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron was ready to defend his team’s pace of play.
“Here’s exactly what happened, and I don’t know whether it’s worth questioning or not because we’ve gone two-minute as early as the middle of the third quarter – in Minnesota three years ago,” Cameron said. “It was a two-score game, and it was almost 13 minutes, and my thinking was – and I pulled the whole offense out there – we’re going to run our two-minute package per se, but we’re going to huddle. I think the most important thing is when you have that much time, you’ve got to get the first touchdown. You need to score and make sure that everybody is on the same page. And I think until this group has been together a little bit longer, you want to make sure you’re on the same page – first and foremost – so that you can get that first touchdown. And we had the opportunity to, and a couple things we didn’t get executed, the clock got away from us right at the buzzer one time that set us back.
“I’m sure you can make that argument,” he continued. “But the bottom line is, we’re doing OK if we score there because now you’ve got plenty of time to stop them and go score again. But I would say over 12 minutes, you can debate that here or there, but we were running the package. We just felt like we wanted to huddle and make sure that we were all on the same page so that we could move the ball.”
So basically Cameron felt that execution was more crucial than speed at that point. That explanation may sound feasible but read the quotes closely.
Cam Cameron doesn’t see how this is a question since he called for No-Huddle three years ago in the Third Quarter.
That still doesn’t answer why you didn’t try it for a series last week. I seem to remember the Ravens coming back in that game and scoring 28 points in the Second Half. So why didn’t you at least try it again?
Cameron said he wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. Also seems valid but didn’t the Offense get called for a Delay of Game penalty inside the redzone? So much for offensive unity.
Plus I’d buy the two minute offense with huddle – per se garbage if the offense actually quickened its pace to the line after the play call. As quick as you can but don’t rush. You can still huddle but you need awareness of time and score. No one wants a penalty or miscue to derail a crucial drive but it doesn’t show much faith in his players or his quarterback.
So while Cam Cameron talked in circles, Joe Flacco had this to say about his offense and the game plan last week.
“I don’t know what to really say besides that’s what we were doing, I guess that was the plan. It’s not really my job to kind of question it and say that we weren’t. We needed to go down there and score a touchdown, and we didn’t score a touchdown. I did ask about maybe going for it on fourth down there rather than kicking the field goal, but it’s what we decided to do. We can’t really question that. We have to look ahead.”
Excuse me Joe. You’re the Quarterback.
Isn’t it your job to question the direction of your offense? You are entering your fourth-year as a NFL starter and you can’t question a play call?
It really makes me wonder if all the talk from John Harbaugh over the off-season about Flacco being more involved with game planning wasn’t just lip service. Flacco’s answer seems to say “I don’t call the plays I just run them”.
Flacco’s tepid answer makes me think that he still isn’t a part of the process of preparing the group that he is supposed to be leading. It appears that Cameron and Harbaugh have not yet fully handed the keys to the offensive machine to Joe Flacco.
But I don’t absolve Flacco either. This excuse held weight when he was a rookie or second-year player. But if Flacco is unhappy he needs to be more vocal about it and needs to take more control. He doesn’t have to gripe to the media but I hope that he makes his voice heard in the locker room. Otherwise the questions surrounding Flacco’s leadership skills will continue to fester. More importantly this offense won’t improve.
This also highlights the uneasy relationship between Flacco and Cameron. There have been whispers over the past few seasons that they have trouble getting along. If things don’t get better one of them will be gone and right now it’s Cam seat which is hottest.