Ex-Raven Matt Judon Calls for Coach’s Firing After Latest Brutal Injury

Ravens Matt Judon

Getty Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matt Judon looks on during a 2020 playoff game.

Former Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Matt Judon has seemingly called for the Ravens to fire strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders after yet another major injury in Baltimore.

Starting safety DeShon Elliott tore his bicep and pectoral muscles during today’s win over the Minnesota Vikings, likely ending his 2021 season. He is the sixth Ravens starter to be lost for the season, joining left tackle Ronnie Stanley, running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, cornerback Marcus Peters and linebacker L.J. Fort.

Judon, who left Baltimore this offseason to join the New England Patriots, tweeted his support for Elliott shortly after news of the fourth-year safety’s injury broke.

He added “#firesteve” to his response to Elliott’s original tweet, likely referring to Ravens head strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders.

While Judon is no longer a Raven, he clearly believes that Saunders is to blame for Baltimore’s series of brutal injuries this season. While some injuries have been the result of in-game play, others have been non-contact, including the torn ACLs that ended the seasons of both Gus Edwards and Marcus Peters.

Those injuries also raised concerns about Baltimore’s staff responsible for player health and safety, though this is the first time that any player or coach, former or current, has called out Saunders by name.

Judon’s tweet caught the attention of Ravens fans on Twitter, though many were initially unsure what his hashtag meant.

It’s extremely unlikely that the Ravens heed Judon’s words and fire Saunders, though their spate of injuries this season suggests that the team should reexamine their training and injury prevention protocol.


Saunders Responsible for 2020 COVID Outbreak

This isn’t the first time that Saunders’ job in Baltimore has come into question. Last year, he was suspended for 30 days by the Ravens for “not always wearing a mask and contact-tracing device in the facility,” according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

The suspension came amid the Ravens’ COVID-19 outbreak that sidelined 23 players, including superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson, and forced several postponements of scheduled games.

The Ravens also received a $250,000 fine for the outbreak, which was among the worst in the league last season.

But Saunders’ position in Baltimore seems secure, despite his connection to multiple controversies in the past year.

According to the Ravens’ website, Saunders “guides all sports science, speed, strength training and recovery initiatives, working closely with the team’s athletic training department,” with a focus on “player injury prevention, recovery and energy system training in an effort to maximize performance.”


Ravens Top AFC North Despite Injuries

With their win today, the Ravens held onto sole possession of first place in the AFC North. If the Pittsburgh Steelers lose tomorrow night’s matchup against the Chicago Bears, the Ravens will have a two-game lead in the division just over halfway through the season.

Baltimore’s ability to cope with injuries this season has been impressive, with several players stepping up to make up for key absences.

Today’s victory was no different, with running backs Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman combining for 127 yards on 24 carries. Their 5.3 yards per carry, as well as Jackson’s usual brilliance, helped the Ravens double the Vikings’ total time of possession.

With Elliott out for the rest of the season, the Ravens will be looking to rookie safety Brandon Stephens to fill the void, with veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith, undrafted rookie Ar’Darius Washington and safety Geno Stone also likely to see more playing time.


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