You may have noticed that the Baltimore Ravens are having a bit of a moment, in a negative way. Aside from the fact that they are seemingly at a contract stalemate with their quarterback, they have seen multiple current and former players comment on some negative aspect of the organization.
The most notable comment was from former first-round draft pick Rashod Bateman, who took issue with general manager Eric DeCosta’s characterization of the team’s wide receiver group. Straying from his typical comments, he acknowledged that what they’ve done in the draft at this point hasn’t worked.
Bateman touched on the subject of doing a better job of keeping their receivers healthy. The Ravens recently received the worst grade in the NFL from the NFLPA, an F-, for their strength coaches. And more than one player spoke out.
That includes former third-round defensive tackle Carl Davis, who played three seasons in Baltimore, including his second season on the Reserve/Injured List. He was waived going into his fourth season, and is still in the NFL, currently with the New England Patriots.
He said that he was definitely “a victim of the strength coaches” in Baltimore, citing two labrum injuries (presumably tears) and multiple pectoral strains. Former wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo blamed Baltimore’s staff as well, saying that they “Definitely ruined my career”.
Adeboyejo was a college free agent out of Ole Miss in 2017, who only ever played in one NFL game, seeing 21 snaps on offense and 17 on special teams during his rookie season. He said that he suffered three season-ending injuries in a row, beginning with a leg injury in 2018, noting that he was healthy throughout his amateur career.
He noted that he fully tore his quad in rookie minicamp (in which first-year players are eligible to participate) in 2018 and that “Everything went downhill from there”. He added that he still has love for head coach John Harbaugh but that “it’s never good when the training room and strength coaches aren’t on the same page”.
He even went so far as to say that the two groups did not like each other and that it was evident, citing a disconnect that “led to multiple injuries for a lot of guys”. And it should be noted that the Ravens fired their long-time strength coach, Steve Saunders, earlier this offseason.
A strength coach that they stuck up for when he was traced back as the source of a COVID-19 outbreak in the team facilities during the height of the pandemic, cited for violating protocols, including not reporting symptoms of illness. They did suspend him briefly, but welcomed him back at the end of the year.
And that was far from the only complaint that was ever levied against Saunders. In fact, the Ravens have had rashes of injuries before. Hilariously, he was the one that they hired in 2016 in part to help study why they were having so many injuries. Just two years later, it wasn’t working well. And never really has.
It should be noted that only two teams in the entire league received less than a B grade for their strength staff in the NFLPA’s club report cars. The Atlanta Falcons received a D-. The New York Jets were the only other team to get less than a B+ from their players. So just think about how horrible you have to be. And the Ravens employed Saunders, and stuck by him, for seven years.