Two losses and a 9-4 season isn’t usually a good enough reason to get someone fired, but the Baltimore Ravens felt that they were going in the wrong direction, especially on offense. Joe Flacco not getting it done with the no-huddle offense, especially on the road, while Ray Rice wasn’t used as much as he should be.
The quarterback is the most important player, but it doesn’t mean he’s the most talented one. When the strength is in the running game and in your leading rusher, a team needs to set up a passing game by first focusing on the run. Cam Cameron did the opposite thing, with a team that tried to pass to set up the run. In the losses to the Pittsbrugh Steelers and the Washington Redskins, it seemed like that road had run its course.
Now, Jim Caldwell becomes the offensive coordinator after filling the role of quarterback coach on the team. What does this mean? I’m not sure it means more touches for Rice. This could be about more no-huddle offense, more plays for Flacco. Last season, Flacco talked about seeing himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Behind the scenes, there must have been a push to see more plays built on his arm, instead of being a setup guy for Ray Rice to do the work.
Flacco has thrown an interception in 8 of his 13 games this season. He’s ranked only at 15th in passer rating this season with 87.1; Only 21st with 60% completion percentage. Not exactly elite. Ray has rushed for 993 yards on 218 carries, averaging 4.6 per play, scoring 9 touchdowns so far. He has caught 52 passes for 424 yards, totaling in 270 touches for 1217 yards. Not enough for Harbaugh, or at least not enough to put the Ravens in the place where they expected to be.
When you get down to it, the Baltimore’s offense just wasn’t cutting it. Ray Rice isn’t getting enough touches (just under 21 per game), especially in the second half. They’re ranked 18th in the NFL with 344.4 yards per game although they are 9th in scoring with 25.5 points per game. Not elite, but not that bad.
With some perspective on the matter, this might have been a clash of egos. Cameron running the offense in a way that didn’t fit Harbaugh’s view on things. Good offensive coordinators are hard to find. Seven of the NFL’s head coaches call the shots on their own. Nine coordinators are former head coaches. Less than half of the league started the season with pure offensive coordinators, not eyeing their next head coaching job.