Cameron served as the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers from 2002 to 2006. Under his guidance, he helped develop Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. While in San Diego, Brees had pedestrian statistics in 59 games: 209.2 yards per game, a 60.8 percent completion rate, 80 touchdowns (1.4 TDs/game), 53 interceptions, and a QB rating of 84.9. Once Brees left San Diego, and Cameron, he went to New Orleans to play under an offensive mastermind, Sean Payton. Under Payton, Brees has amassed Hall-of-Fame numbers in 111 games: 311.4 yards per game, a 67 percent completion rate, 244 touchdowns (2.2 TDs/game), 112 interceptions, and a QB rating of 99.1.
While in San Diego, Cameron also guided Rivers in his young career. In 20 games under Cameron, a much smaller sample, Rivers turned in the following statistics: 176.8 yards per game, a 61.4 percent completion rate, 23 touchdowns (1.3 TDs/game), 10 interceptions, and a QB rating of 90.5. Once under Norv Turner’s leadership, here are Rivers’ statistics in 96 games: 253.7 yards per game, a 64 percent completion rate, 166 touchdowns (1.7 TDs/game), 83 interceptions, and a QB rating of 95.2.
So, what have we learned other than that Payton and Turner are renowned offensive geniuses? Well, this was a bit surprising, dare I say encouraging. Both Brees and Rivers increased their yards per game by 33 percent. That is quite an overall jump. Moreover, Brees increased his touchdowns per game by 50 percent. That is downright frightening. Rivers has not fared quite as well, yet he has improved—he has increased his touchdowns per game by 33 percent. Finally, Brees and Rivers increased their attempts per game by 30 and 33 percent, respectively. Brees went from 30 attempts per game to 39 attempts per game. Rivers went from 24.5 attempts per game to 32 attempts per game.
What does this mean for Flacco? Flacco compiled the following statistics under Cameron: 221.3 yards per game, a 62.6 percent completion rate, 98 touchdowns (1.3 TDs/game), 55 interceptions, and a QB rating of 87.9. If history is an indicator, we can expect an uptick of about 30 percent in his overall statistics. I believe it is reasonable for Flacco to approach the 285 yards per game plateau, as well as approach 1.8 touchdowns per game, which translates to about 29 touchdowns over the course of 16 games. I do not see Flacco’s attempts per game increasing too much from his 31 attempts per game because current Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell held to 31 attempts per game over the final three regular season games and the four postseason games. However, I would not be surprised to see this number grow to about 35 attempts per game. This means a more efficient Flacco might emerge under the tutelage of Caldwell versus Cameron.
As you see, I am in no way suggesting that Flacco and Caldwell will go all Brees/Payton-like and start chucking the ball all over the field, especially since the Ravens deploy a powerful running attack led by Ray Rice and supported by Bernard Pierce. However, history does support that we could possibly see Joe Flacco improve and grow as a quarterback, without Cam Cameron, as we head into the 2013 season.