The heat has gotten turned up on Joe Flacco over the last few days after what some - including safety Ed Reed - feel was a sub-par performance against the Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Flacco went 14-of-27 for 176 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday against Houston's No. 2 ranked defense, and he didn't turn the ball over. But that hasn't stopped the Ravens quarterback from being the brunt of criticism from fans, media members and even teammates.
Today, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron stood up for Flacco, saying there were only six plays from the Houston game where Flacco didn't receive a "plus" grade from the coaching staff.
"He played at an extremely high level against a very good defense," said Cameron, who added that he's very hard on his players when it comes to his postgame grading. "That's through my eyes, and those are the eyes, and his, us collectively, those are the ones that matter to us, because we know what we're trying to get done. We know what the audible packages were. There were 12 plays in that game where he made the exact audible that he needed. That got us two touchdowns and a lot of others. But those are things I've told you I don't talk a lot about."
Flacco and Cameron have also gotten heat for throwing the ball twice with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Those plays both resulted in incompletions, essentially giving the Texans two extra timeouts.
Flacco said the third down play was a called pass, but on second down, he saw the Texans were set to bring a hard run blitz, so he audibled into a pass play to try and exploit a one-on-one matchup on the outside.
"Joe and I were in sync on that," Cameron said of the passing plays. "We were overly aggressive. We were trying to get a two-score lead and probably made it a little harder than we needed to by getting the clock stopped there a couple times. That's just he and I being over-aggressive, and I probably should have communicated better to him, but the bottom line is we were on the same page and we were probably both wrong. We can both admit we were wrong, but we were able to get three (points) there and make it a one-score game. Then, hey, putting our defense out there ... these guys are unbelievable."
Cameron also responded to criticism (there's been a lot of that going around lately, huh?) from Greg Cosell, the senior producer of NFL Films, who said that the Ravens' offense is "incredibly predictable."
"Watching their tape is like watching the 1960s," Cosell said, according to ESPN.com. "One receiver to each side. Isolation routes. No bunch sets or rub routes."
Cameron said that his offense is tailored to the physical nature of the AFC North.
"This division is a Fu Manchu kind of division," Cameron said, referencing Flacco's facial hair. "It's not a clean-shaven one, for sure. So we've got a style we like. ... We're trying to build an offense to win a division championship. That's what it's about to us. They said the same thing about us in San Diego when we were the No. 1 offense in the league. Hate to make that comparison, but just so you know, they said the same thing.
"We're an outdoor team in a tough division. I think the people that I would listen to the most (would be) people that were in this division and that know what it's like, the men on the ground in this division that have to go out and compete in these stadiums against these defenses. That's how we're built. There's probably some predictability to it, and if they can just keep predicting we're winning, then that's the prediction I'm going to be happy with."