The Baltimore Ravens season fell off the rails in 2012, before they got “Super” hot. The 2016 meltdown came much sooner in the season, but the parallels of the championship run and the 2016 season are uncanny.
The 2012 Baltimore Ravens got off to a red hot start. With a 9-2 record the Ravens lost three straight games. The third consecutive loss was against the Washington Redskins. After a game against Washington that Baltimore could have easily won, John Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron. The Ravens then promoted quarterbacks coach, Jim Caldwell to be the new offensive coordinator.
The 2016 Ravens got off to a hot start. They were 3-0, with the number one defense and an offense that still had time to get it going. Things were peachy in Baltimore, even if the wins weren’t all that pretty. That’s when things started to become unhinged. When they played the Oakland Raiders, the Ravens made the same mistakes they had gotten away with against inferior opponents. Being the good team that the Raiders are they made them pay for it. The offense then vanished against the Redskins after an impressive opening drive. Harbaugh really had no choice, he did what everyone in Baltimore wanted him to do, he fired Marc Trestman.
Both times Harbaugh has fired an offensive coordinator, the decision was reached after a game against the Redskins. The 2012 Ravens played their first game with Jim Caldwell calling the shots against the New York Giants. The Ravens blew the Giants out of the water. They won that game 33-14. The 2016 Ravens can only hope these freakish similarities continue, the Ravens play the Giants on Sunday.
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The Cameron firing was different though. Cameron had taken the offense to higher peaks than the Ravens could ever remember. It just reached a point where he was in the way of progress. The Ravens needed to take the proverbial handcuffs off of Joe Flacco. Flacco torched the Giants, Colts, Broncos, Patriots and San Fransisco 49ers in one of the greatest streaks in NFL history.
Cameron and Harbaugh had a tight relationship. Cameron gave Harbaugh a job working for him in the college ranks. There was a weird dichotomy, the mentor was no longer the boss. The reason Cameron lasted so long in Baltimore was Harbaugh’s loyalty. Harbaugh felt the world falling down on him in 2012. He acted out of desperation and it hurt his friend and mentor.
Trestman got the benefit of the doubt last season. In the back of Harbaugh’s mind, I think he knew he may have to part with Trestman this season. Everything is easier the second time you do it. The good thing about this situation is that it happened with about 70 percent of the season still ahead of us. Last time, Baltimore built a huge cushion in the first half of the season. This time, the Ravens made changes early enough to prevent a promising season from falling apart.
The parallels are unfathomable. You couldn’t make this up if you tried. I’m not about to suggest that the Ravens are now destined for the Super Bowl. At this point it wouldn’t be completely shocking to see them miss the playoffs. However, if the Ravens get hot, you know what happened the last time they changed offensive coordinators. With the pain of a two game losing streak lingering, that’s a comforting thing for Ravens fans to remember.