Ravens Q&A with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron

Play-caller on Flacco's development, returning to head coaching and the toughest defenses in the NFL

  • Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron gets a huge from his son, Danny, 14, while son Chris, 12, looks on.
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron gets a huge from his son,… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
November 23, 2010|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Each week, we've brought you a Q&A with a Ravens player to help you learn a little more about the team. Today is a little different. The guest is offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who has guided the offense to 12th in the NFL in average yards gained. Cameron reflected on life as an offensive coordinator, the process of crafting the weekly game plan, and the impact of other coaches on him.

Question: What's the most difficult part about being the offensive coordinator?

Answer: I never looked at anything being real difficult other than going against great defensive coordinators and veteran defensive players. I would say going against veteran NFL defensive players [is difficult] because they know you, they study you, you very seldom can fool them, there's not many plays that they haven't seen. Linebackers like Ray Lewis, Zach Thomas, those guys, veteran safeties like Rodney Harrison — all of those players are so smart and so good that they make it really hard for you to move the football.

Q: How tough has it been to keep all of the players happy in terms of sharing the football?

A: I don't know that it's ever easy because defenses don't make it easy. I think you see it play out across the league. I'm well aware of all of our guys' individual and team goals, and I try to do everything I can within what we're trying to do as a team. That's hard, but it's doable. I believe in doing everything you can to get everybody involved. I grew up playing with Larry Bird all the way through high school, and the thing that I learned from Larry Bird — and you saw he and Magic Johnson, probably two of the greats of all time, do this — is, getting everybody involved. I've watched that play out, and I think that's my job. It's to win the game, but I think our best chance to win the game is to get everybody involved. I think [quarterback] Joe [Flacco] is on board with that. We have plays in every game plan for every guy. Does it always work? No. Defenses can take a guy away, but we've got enough guys to go to. Over the course of time, we should be able to keep everybody involved, and I try to make sure that every guy is going to get an opportunity in a critical situation to help us win the game. Does it always work? No. But they know it, and if it's in the plan, there's going to be a potential opportunity.

Q: During last week's radio program, coach John Harbaugh said that Joe Flacco has the ability to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Is that a recent development or something he's had at his disposal for a while?

A: Actually, we probably did more of that during his rookie year because we were a no-huddle team during his rookie year. But now, people are attacking Joe differently. People didn't disguise defenses for a year-and-a-half against Joe. So it became a little easier. But now, people have gone to a disguise. Without getting too tactical, we have stuff built into everything we're doing. Everybody would be very surprised if they knew all of the options and decisions that Joe is making while he's out there. We're just not going to let everybody know what we're doing.

Q: When you are crafting the game plan for the week, what's the process? Do you run it by John Harbaugh? Ultimately, do you have the final say on what to incorporate and what to leave on the cutting-room floor?

A: It evolves, and it evolves throughout the course of the week. On Monday and Tuesday, we're all kind of looking at things on our own. We have a coordinators' meeting on Tuesday night, and then we kind of collectively come together. I get to hear what [defensive coordinator] Greg [Mattison] is thinking, I get to hear what [assistant head coach and special teams coordinator] Jerry [Rosburg] is thinking, and I kind of give them how I see it. And then we blend it all together. That's the starting point. And then things kind of evolve as the week goes on, and it can evolve all the way up to game time based on who they have active or inactive, a change in weather. It is truly a fluid situation, but there's great communication here. We're all on the same page. John gives us tremendous input of the opposing team's defense because he comes from that defensive perspective, and yet he knows offense, he knows our system, he knows it inside and out. We're all working together. We get a lot of feedback from our defensive coaches every week. Everybody's involved. And then our players, this is the best group of players I've been around for input. We get input from [wide receiver] Derrick [Mason], from Q [wide receiver Anquan Boldin], from [center] Matt [Birk], from [wide receiver] T.J. [Houshmandzadeh], from [running back] Willis [McGahee], from [tight end] Todd [Heap]. Those guys, we ask them for their input, and we get a lot of input during the week from them and even during games. So we've got a great situation here on how we want to approach things.

Q: Who was your major influence as a coach?

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