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News » FROM DOLPHINS DEBACLE TO REBOUND WITH RAVENS


FROM DOLPHINS DEBACLE TO REBOUND WITH RAVENS


FROM DOLPHINS DEBACLE TO REBOUND WITH RAVENS
Exactly one year ago today, Cam Cameron was relieved of his duties as coach of the Dolphins. Many fired coaches are comfortable spending a year or two on a fishing boat or in a golf cart, content to allow their former employer to pad their bank account rather than make an immediate return to the sidelines and forfeit guaranteed money.


"[My wife] Missy would tell you, I'm a Football coach. There was never a thought in my mind that I'd sit out Football for a couple of years and collect on a contract," Cameron says. "I was going to get right back in it."

And he did, joining the Ravens coaching staff as offensive coordinator, his enthusiasm hardly tarnished from the wear and tear of that single disastrous season with the Dolphins - one win, 15 losses. Sunday, he and the Ravens return to Miami to open the postseason against Cameron's former team.

While the arrival of a new head coach and rookie quarterback has garnered more attention, the addition of Cameron was among the most important moves of the offseason. Less than a year later, the Ravens, long-feared for their tenacious defense, suddenly have an offense that can move the ball.

"He has taken this offense where it couldn't take itself," says John Matsko, offensive line coach. "He had a vision for this offense and he's turned this offense into that vision."

Asked about returning to Miami this weekend, Cameron shrugs his shoulder.

"It's a new year. It's a new season," Cameron said.

Cameron's focus is to prepare the rejuvenated Baltimore offense for another smooth performance at Dolphin Stadium. On Oct. 19, the Ravens amassed 357 yards, rookie quarterback Joe Flacco completed 17 of 23 passes and Baltimore cruised to a 27-13 victory.

Cameron has spent years tweaking his system, but in simple terms, it's run out of an I-formation and noted for its numbered pass routes - many aimed downfield - plus quick throws to tailbacks and a power running game. In addition, this season Cameron has consistently mixed in more trick plays than with his recent teams.

He describes it as a soup of sorts, borrowing ingredients from legends like Schembechler and John Robinson and even contemporaries, such as Norv Turner, his former boss in San Diego, and Ernie Zampese, whose Cowboys offenses won three Super Bowls in the 1990s. For his part, Zampese traces it all back to Don Coryell, a longtime coach and godfather for much of what we see offensively in today's NFL.

"No question about it, everyone around Don Coryell learned from him," Zampese says. "It was an offense that worked."

Not much worked last year. Saddled by injuries, the Dolphins nearly became the NFL's first winless team last season. Their lone win came in December against the Ravens, a game that provided one of the final death knells for former Ravens coach Brian Billick's career in Baltimore.

Those who've watched Cameron's development over the years never saw the Dolphin debacle as a serious setback.

"Everybody goes through that. I mean, [Hall of Famer Vince] Lombardi had years things just didn't fall right," says Sam Wyche, who coached the Bengals to the Super Bowl in 1988. "I always use the expression, 'Players play the game.' People say, what kind of stupid comment is that? Well, they do, and you're going to have years where sometimes your key players can't do it for whatever reason. I think Cam, over the long run, is going to be measured as one of the better offensive minds to ever coach in the game."

Last January, John Harbaugh, a career assistant given the keys to the Ravens franchise, certainly thought so. Within days of accepting the head coaching job, Harbaugh pegged Cameron as a top target.

"I guess you never know how something will play out," Cameron says.

"I prayed about it, talked with my family. But the discussion that John and I had, it was a pretty easy decision."

And installing his offense was almost as effortless. It didn't hurt that several Ravens coaches have worked in some version of the offense before.

"I've been as fortunate as any guy could be," Cameron says. "It's truly a collective effort."

Information from wire services supplemented this report.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 3, 2009

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Fabian Washington Name: Fabian Washington
#31
Position: CB
Age: 25
Experience: 4 years
College: Nebraska
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