The Baltimore Ravens shocked the NFL when they fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Monday, but those close to the organization know the move was a long time coming. The time had come for a change, both to improve the offense and to give Joe Flacco a chance to prove his worth.
Cameron's offense simply wasn't suited to the Ravens personnel. It focused on winning one-on-one matchups.
Look at this reception by Torrey Smith: He ran a simple fade route, and Flacco was forced to throw the ball into tight coverage. The back-shoulder throw was perfect and Smith made a great catch, showing what Cameron's offense looks like when run well.
What kills the Ravens offense, though, is its predictability. The Ravens run three routes more than any other: deep fades, deep outs and deep comebacks. The common feature of all of these routes is that they are thrown outside the numbers.
Notice how there are three defenders defending the outside of the field on this interception of Flacco.
The Ravens struggle when they allow defenses to key on the outside, as they did here.
Jim Caldwell should help significantly in this regard. The Colts offense with Caldwell as head coach featured plenty of passes over the middle. Watch this video of Peyton Manning in 2010 and notice just how many passes are completed over the middle.
Another focus of Caldwell's should be focusing on creating higher percentage passing plays. The Ravens are at their best when they work their screen game and short passing game. Check out diagrams of these two plays for examples.
Here, Tandon Doss takes a screen pass the distance thanks to solid blocking. The Ravens should do more of this to help Flacco get into a rhythm, and Caldwell should provide more of these kinds of calls.
On this pass play, Torrey Smith takes a short pass 54 yards thanks to coverage that was focused on stopping the outside pass. Notice how the two defenders on the bottom of the screen are lined up to the outside of the receiver. Smith took advantage of the coverage to gain just enough separation to make the catch on the play.
Expect more of these kinds of high-percentage passes under Caldwell. This should diversify the Ravens offense and increase Flacco's productivity significantly.
A newly diverse passing game, paired with more freedom for Flacco and more devotion to the running game, should make Jim Caldwell a great fit in Baltimore.
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