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Harbaugh on firing Cameron: “Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do”

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His decision to part ways with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is surprising at several levels, and Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the personal part was tough for him.

There is a very human side to this,” Harbaugh said in a statement issued by the team. “Cam is my friend, he taught me a lot about coaching, and he is an outstanding coach. Personally, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a coach. Cam has been a significant contributor to all of our successes over the past four, almost five, seasons.  Deservedly, he is highly-regarded, and we owe thanks to him for what he did for the Ravens.

“It’s not about fair or unfair, right or wrong. My responsibility is to the whole team and what’s best for them right now. We need a change. Our plan and our goals are to win games, win our division and get to the playoffs.

“We have a lot of work to do, and we have the coaches and players in place to achieve our goals this season. We are working on that right now. I’m excited about where we are and where we are going.”

Installing Jim Caldwell as Cameron’s replacement seems like a simple case of the guy in the next chair moving up one. But Caldwell hasn’t called plays at the NFL level.

He is widely regarded as good and decent human being and a valued position coach (when he got to work with some guy named Peyton Manning, which helps make you look smart). But it’s not as if he was a rising star in the business. He wasn’t a superstar coach in college either, leading a pretty forgettable era of Wake Forest football, which is saying something.

This move either points to internal problems, or simple desperation. Neither would be a good sign for a team which looked like a heavyweight not all that long ago.

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39 Responses to “Harbaugh on firing Cameron: “Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do””
  1. tjacks7 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:02 PM

    How do these guys that have never called plays get head coaching jobs, then jobs as coordinators once they fail? It’s amazing.

  2. jerruhjones says: Dec 10, 2012 1:04 PM

    “He’s an outstanding coach”, so I congratulated him by giving him the ax.

  3. flipper14 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:06 PM

    Perception is an interesting thing. Cam Cameron has been a head coach and offensive coordinator for 10-plus seasons in the NFL. In those 11 years, his offense have been ranked No. 1 in scoring once, top 5 three times, and in the top half 9 of 11 seasons. Jon Gruden, in 12 seasons as HC and OC, has been in the top HALF of the NFL in scoring only four times in 12 years.

  4. rayray5227 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:07 PM

    Best thing Ravens done all season. Our offensive game plan should be built around Ray Rice. Not Flacco. I’m sorry Joe but u r not a Top 5 QB. But he could be very effective on play actions. Sort of like Alex Smith.

  5. mlbbal52 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:08 PM

    Tjacks7 agreed…

  6. brentfarve says: Dec 10, 2012 1:11 PM

    This is great news!! Cam was the only thing holding the Ravens back. Flacco will now become the Elite QB that we all know he is. Ravens will now win the rest of their games including the Superbowl. plus with Ray coming back…unstoppable.

  7. pastabelly says: Dec 10, 2012 1:12 PM

    Caldwell really isn’t offensive coordinator. Harbaugh will be taking on that role himself. That’s kind of obvious.

  8. steelers4385 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:15 PM

    I hate the ravens. For obvious reasons. That being said…flacco will never be elite but their offense is furthest thing from their major issues. If cam calls a play and it doesnt work..its not always Coord’s fault. He cant help that a guy runs a wrong route..or flacco cant make throw. I mean they did put up over 30 pts on skins. Mabye their defense shoulda..well..ya know…stopped them from scoring? Much respect to the ravens. We as steeler fans feel your pain for the loss of some of your best defensive players. We went through it last year and this year.

  9. joetoronto says: Dec 10, 2012 1:16 PM

    Man, replaced by Jim Caldwell.

    That’s nasty.

  10. tjules21 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:21 PM

    Harbaugh should have hired the defensive line coach as offensive coordinator. It’s called “The Bizarro Castillo.”

  11. CKL says: Dec 10, 2012 1:21 PM

    I just don’t get why any coach gets fired in the middle of the year especially one in the playoff hunt unless whomever does the firing knows for a fact that the second in line will do a better job because they’ve done it before or the fired coach was doing something horrible besides not being good at their job.

  12. jeffperk says: Dec 10, 2012 1:28 PM

    Playoff ticket money from season ticket holders is due by 5 pm today, was Cam the scapegoat to try to get STH to cough up for playoff tickets?

  13. brenenostler says: Dec 10, 2012 1:33 PM

    Can you Ravens fans tell me why you’re so excited about this? Because this move doesn’t make much since to me. The Ravens have made the playoffs every year since Flacco and Cam have been there and are going to make it again. Cam is being replaced by someone who’s never been an OC before, and the Ravens were one field goal away from the SB last year.

  14. surfinbird1 says: Dec 10, 2012 1:34 PM

    Zombies don’t call plays at the NFL level.

  15. ccjcsr says: Dec 10, 2012 1:45 PM

    Contract is still guaranteed for this year, not bad severance pay. Good thing he got out, the Ravens are getting old!

  16. ravenmuscle says: Dec 10, 2012 1:49 PM

    I hate the steelers…soooo glad they keep losing…have a terrible fan base…a dump for a stadium…and an aging/crumbling defense.

    WE OWN THE STEELERS.

  17. dprouse says: Dec 10, 2012 1:55 PM

    Personalities shouldn’t enter into this, but inevitably they do. Cam Cameron doesn’t have a reputation for being the warmest guy in the world, so whacking him was fairly easy. It’s not like a lot of players just lost their best friend and confidant on the coaching staff. Fire a coach who is popular with the players, and now it gets more difficult in the room…

  18. FoozieGrooler says: Dec 10, 2012 2:01 PM

    I would have thought acting like a respectable human being was the hardest thing he ever had to do…

  19. thetroofishere says: Dec 10, 2012 2:01 PM

    1st Down – Running play with Ray Rice

    2nd Down – Running play with Ray Rice

    3rd Down – Throw to Ray Rice

    Repeat each new set of downs

    - Anybody with a clipboard.

  20. joebrooster says: Dec 10, 2012 2:03 PM

    Cam would look great in Silver and Black!!

  21. zaggs says: Dec 10, 2012 2:13 PM

    Didnt think it was hard saving one’s own butt.

  22. riverhorsey says: Dec 10, 2012 2:13 PM

    It wasn’t about devising a game plan it was something personal but having Cauldwell seems desperate.

    Going to a guy who’s never been an OC with 3 games left before the playoffs may turn out to be a big mistake.

  23. whenimrightimright says: Dec 10, 2012 2:14 PM

    Two weeks ago Harbaugh said on Sirius NFL radio he had the best coaching staff in the league. What happened? It was the defense and special teams that lost the game. Not Cameron, your friend. That’s called a power move if I’ve ever seen one.

    I think what he meant by “the hardest thing he has had to do” is that its easier to blame someone else than take responsibility.

    As a former special teams coach what happened with the 57 yard punt return? The flubbed field goal last year?

    Harbaugh is a phony. There’s no accountability. He’s the problem.

  24. oldirtyman says: Dec 10, 2012 2:20 PM

    Know what is harder then firing the OC, winning a Super Bowl, of course Harbaugh doesn’t know how to do that

  25. bigdubba says: Dec 10, 2012 2:27 PM

    i’d think the hardest thing he’s ever had to do is hire jim caldwell.

  26. myroncopesflask says: Dec 10, 2012 2:28 PM

    John can fire as many assistants as he wants. Unless he finds a QB that can show up in big games he will be the one that gets the ax. Hopefully as a Steeler fan he doesn’t do what his brother did. Jim was smart… he relized that the 49ers will not win a SB with Alex Smith and replaced him. Have a feeling John is gonna live and die with Joe Flacco which is great for the Steelers. He said it himself that the goal is to make the playoffs. Ask Tomlin, McCarthy, and Jim Harbaugh what their goal is and they will tell you win a SB.

  27. micktanner says: Dec 10, 2012 2:36 PM

    @ joebrooster …. Take him…he’s yours! And…if your Black&Silver does take him…it would make perfect sense because NOTHING that team does makes any sense! Except of course…helping to make the Bengals relevant again in another year or two!

  28. uhnoreally says: Dec 10, 2012 2:39 PM

    other than resigning I guess.

  29. jackericsson says: Dec 10, 2012 2:55 PM

    More like rearranging chairs on the Titanic than next chair up! And please,”Ravens own the Steelers”? That statement doesn’t even work from a weak ago!

  30. weepingjebus says: Dec 10, 2012 3:12 PM

    Let’s face it, Harbaugh probably fired the first staffer he saw Monday morning. Never be the first (or last) guy into the boss’s office after something blows up.

  31. moagecu says: Dec 10, 2012 3:14 PM

    @whenimright you clearly don’t know business. Jon is not the boss, Steve is. If Steve tells you to fire your friend, you fire your friend.

  32. rayray5227 says: Dec 10, 2012 3:19 PM

    @brenenostler

    The reason we are so excited is because of the very questionable calls of Cam. When we had Ray and Bernard averaging about 5.5 yards a carry in the game, he kept trying to get Flacco going. Whats the need?! Your running game is more than effective right now, use it to open up the passing game. Theres no need to keep trying to throw it on each down! That being said, Cam has not been a great OC. His offenses have barely ever made it to the Top 5, IMO he cant bring the best out of the players he is with. You have to be able to match your offensive scheme with the personnel you have, the Ravens have always drafted to run. Their lineman are built for a solid rushing game. Torrey Smith is a burner who can get behind the defense and would be way more effective when you got the defense thinking your gonna run every down. I believe Harbough will take over the playcalling himself and get this 22nd ranked rushing game back to the top.

  33. mancinibread says: Dec 10, 2012 3:58 PM

    Why is everyone acting like Harbaugh had anything to do with this? He does not have hiring/firing power. This is a shocking move for a team that was supposed to have a playoff chance. They will continue to self-destruct.

  34. stevepea says: Dec 10, 2012 4:36 PM

    “Cam is my friend, he taught me a lot about coaching, and he is an outstanding coach. ”
    Pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with the Ravens

  35. whenimrightimright says: Dec 10, 2012 4:41 PM

    moagecu says:
    Dec 10, 2012 3:14 PM
    @whenimright you clearly don’t know business. Jon is not the boss, Steve is. If Steve tells you to fire your friend, you fire your friend.

    ————————————————————

    Well… I have a degree in business. But, that really doesn’t mean anything.

    So what your telling me is… The owner of a team that has as many wins right now as the 49ers, Patriots, Packers, and Colts. Has more wins than the Seahawks, Giants, and bears. Just came down to Johns office and told him to fire the offensive coordinator with 3 games left in the regular season? After they put up 30 points on the road, after the defense gave up a touchdown and 2 point conversion with 20 seconds left to a backup rookie quarterback, then gave up a 57 yard punt return to set up a game winning field goal in overtime. Is that what your telling me when you say I don’t know business?

    2. The head coach absolutely has hire/fire authority, in fact, that’s his job to put the assistants in place. Head coaches want their own guys.

    3. Clearly…. CLEARLY… You have NO IDEA what your talking about.

    The head coach does not have hire/fire power? Wow! Tell that to Juan Castillo.

    So, where is the article that says Steve told John to do it? Where you in the office? I can’t believe I had to explain this. I’m almost upset.

    If you don’t believe head coaches don’t have hire/fire power, you have no business commenting on this site.

    Aside from all those talking points, it hurts my feelings you don’t like my business knowledge. I’m better at football stuff anyway.

  36. whenimrightimright says: Dec 10, 2012 4:42 PM

    excuse me.

    If you believe head coaches don’t have hire/fire power, you have no business commenting on this site.

  37. daysend564 says: Dec 10, 2012 4:50 PM

    Two weeks too late….

  38. richabbs says: Dec 10, 2012 5:39 PM

    Cameron got fired by Steve Bisciotti, not Harbaugh. Cameron was Harbaugh’s “boy.” Watching the game yesterday, I had to keep asking why Ray Rice wasn’t even in the game, let alone why he wasn’t getting touches. Hopefully, Caldwell keeps Rice in the game, gets him the ball more often and has Flacco play-action more.

    Next move for the Ravens is to get Ed Reed out of there. His inability to tackle has become a major liability. Maybe he needs shoulder surgery, but he just can’t cut it right now. Unfortunately, with Webb and Jimmy Smith out they are short staffed in the secondary, but they ought to be able to find someone who can play Free Safety who can actually make tackles.

  39. david37499 says: Dec 10, 2012 8:03 PM

    The offense has been putting points on the board. The defense has been blowing the leads and allowing the other teams to come back. And they fire coach Cameron .Go figure!

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