Cam Cameron met with reporters for over nine minutes today, and the Ravens' offensive coordinator calmly and truthfully answered question after question about the Ravens' offensive struggles and their inability to score more than 10 points last week against the Steelers.
Cameron's message throughout his press conference was simple: The blame should fall squarely on me.
"I'm not naÃ¯ve. I knew exactly what happened, and I knew why it happened," Cameron said. "No one wants to hear any excuses on what happened. I know where the accountability lies on what happened. I've just been in it too long. It's my responsibility. It's my responsibility to get it fixed too, and that's the good news. I know how to get it fixed. That's the important thing.
"You're in this business long enough, you're going to get hit in the teeth every now and then. It's just that you look at it dead in the eye, and you get it fixed. And, I think the important thing is, again, to know that wasn't a fatal blow for this team. And I'm not going to let it be a fatal blow for this offense. It ain't going to happen. Not as long as I'm here."
Cameron has come under fire for a number of things in the loss to Pittsburgh, but it was unclear from an outside perspective who was to blame for the second-and-five play late in the fourth quarter that resulted in safety Troy Polamalu's sack of Joe Flacco and the forced fumble that followed.
Was it the fault of left tackle Michael Oher? Was someone else supposed to come over and pick up a blitzing Polamalu?
Nope. Cameron said the blown assignment on that play was his bad as well.
"You're looking at the guy responsible," Cameron said. "There was a flaw in that protection. We don't have a protection where 43 [Polamalu] comes unblocked. We don't have a run play where 43 comes unblocked in that game. There are some cases where guys can be unblocked. Not him. There was a flaw there that I did not catch for some reason. In 25 plus years, I've never seen that happen.
"It showed up at the worst time it possible could have. It's my job to catch that flaw and that flaw has been corrected. Now, they aren't going to get us from the quarterback's backside. The next time you see a guy unblocked in that protection, it will be where the quarterback is expected to be unblocked."
It's been a rough week for Cameron, who has been criticized in newspapers, online, and on radio talk shows.
The Ravens' offensive coordinator was asked if he feels that the criticism has been unfair.
"Absolutely not," Cameron emphatically responded. "There's nothing that's been said that I wouldn't have already said. You just didn't get to me first. I mean that sincerely. I would have said all that before anyone else could have said it. That's the bottom line."
The question everyone is asking now is what needs to be done from here. How do the Ravens get to the point that they are consistently producing on offense, and not moving the ball at points, and struggling to get anything going at others?
"I think it's coaching execution," Cameron said. "Our players have all said to me, the first thing they say because we look at the tape critically is, 'We have to execute better.' Well, when you have to execute better that's not players just executing better. That's coaching better and coaching guys to execute better. That's the way this thing works.
"We take a ton of pride here in our ability as coaches to get the most out of every guy whether it's a rookie all the way to the guys at the back of their career. We take a lot of pride in getting the most out of these guys."
Despite all the weapons that the Ravens have at their disposal on the offensive side of the ball, they've failed to take the next step into an elite offensive unit. The Ravens rank 14th in total offense, and are 17th in scoring offense, averaging 21.7 points per game.
"For whatever reason right now, it's not where we want it to be," Cameron said. "There's glimpses of it, which leads to we're too inconsistent. You can't flash and be inconsistent and think you're going to score points. To me, that's the only stat that ultimately matters. We got to take care of the ball. You got to find ways to score points and at the same time not turn it over. The running game is several things that we've had the ability to address this week. If you ask any of our guys, they'll all say they're all a part of it. There's nobody pointing fingers at anybody. We're all a part of it, the guy calling the plays to the guy who runs the ball to the people who block for him, plain and simple.
"That is what's important. Now, it's December. Now, we're in the fourth quarter of the season, I'm talking offensively, for us to play the way we're capable of playing and I'm confident with the guys we have and the staff that we have that we can get that done."