I wanted to get a feel for where fans were directing most of their frustration following Monday night’s debacle in Jacksonville, so I took a little Twitter poll yesterday.
I asked my followers (if you’re not already a member of that prestigious group, feel free to join in) who they felt deserved the bulk of the blame following the Ravens’ embarrassing offensive performance against the Jaguars.
Four names/position groups were thrown out there as options - quarterback Joe Flacco, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, the offensive line and the wide receivers - and head coach John Harbaugh and “All the Above” also received votes from fans.
Not surprisingly, Cameron dominated the voting, earning 44 percent of the vote.
I guess that’s what happens when you’re the offensive coordinator on a team that doesn’t pick up a first down for the first 39 minutes of a ballgame and scores just seven points on national television against a one-win team.
Asked after Monday’s game about the level of blame that will be directed at him personally, Cameron said he understands that’s how it works in the NFL.
“That’s part of our deal,” Cameron told reporters. “Heat on me, heat on Joe. We can all do better. That goes with the territory.”
Cameron has been a lightning rod for criticism through much of his four seasons in Baltimore, largely because while the talent level on the offensive side of the ball has seemingly risen, the level of consistency out of that unit has not.
This season, Flacco is completing just 52 percent of his passes, Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice has seen his carries decrease and the offensive line continues to struggle in pass protection.
While the team ranks eighth in the league in scoring, it has dropped to 20th in the NFL in total offense. The Ravens rank 17th-best in passing offense and 19th-best in rushing offense through the first seven weeks of the season.
While the players and specific position coaches certainly deserve a share of the blame for those issues, Cameron and, to an extent, Harbaugh will get the bulk of the heat.
Like his offensive coordinator, Harbaugh said he feels that criticism is warranted, not just for Cameron, but for all parties involved.
“I think we all deserve to have fingers pointed at us when the offense plays like that,” Harbaugh said. “That’s tough. It’s just a bad performance, and everybody knows it. Cam’s got broad shoulders; he’s a tough guy. And he’s been doing this for a long time, and everybody in this building respects him, and nobody’s going to fight harder to make this offense achieve what it’s capable of achieving.
“It’s still early in the season, but we can’t afford more performances like that; we all know that. Cam’s the offensive coordinator - he’s got broad shoulders - and I’m the head coach, and everybody on offense is that position on offense, and we’ve all got to go to work.”