Ravens work hard in the weight room to prevent getting hurt on the field

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens’ success last season had a lot to do with staying healthy.

With the exception of a few players, the Ravens kept most of their playmakers in the lineup, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, and had the best record in the NFL.

All 53 players on the Ravens’ active roster were able to practice leading up to the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, who emerged with a 17-10 victory.

Strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Elliott is looking to help keep players healthy again this year.

“I would say [that] building off the successes last year is the engagement with the weight room, [and] the players understanding that we’re here to work for them and with them,” Elliott said. “But we talk about the customization of the workouts, and then we talk about different recovery modalities that we’ve implemented with the guys through training camp [and] throughout the year. And then we kind of reworked – we tweaked [it] last year, and we’ve continued to tweak it this year – how we approach our programming.”

Elliott replaced Steve Saunders as the strength and conditioning coach in February 2023. Saunders joined the team in 2016 and was promoted two years later. In 2021, the Ravens had 25 players on injured reserve, which prompted former Ravens outside linebacker Matt Judon to criticize Saunders on social media.

Coach John Harbaugh suspended Saunders for a month in 2020 after he reportedly was not wearing a mask required by the NFL’s Covid-19 protocols.

The Ravens have avoided similar issue under Elliott, who has been praised by the coaches and players for his approach to training.

“Scott stepped in, and in maybe a little bit of a tough circumstance, right?” coach Harbaugh said “And [he] just handled it gracefully and aggressively and did a great job. He’s one of the stars of the season – not just Scott but the whole group I just mentioned before. That weight room is one of the stars of the season for sure. They’ve just done phenomenal.

“The guys love going in there; they work really hard. I think it’s very comprehensive in what we do, and I’m in there. I’m in there every day with people, maybe not [lifting] quite as much weight as some of the guys. But I think it’s just a great environment that we have in there.”

Elliott revamped the team’s workouts to focus on keeping players healthy. So far, that strategy has been effective.

“Last year was effort and energy,” Elliott said. “Bring the effort, bring your energy; we match it.’ This year was ‘intensity,’ but we talked about it in the sense of, ‘How do you get to intensity? It’s not the rah-rah, it’s not the one-rep max, it’s your level of intent.’ So, I think that’s how we take it this year.

“What we were able to kind of accomplish last year, and with a high level of intent or tenacious intent to make intensity, that’s where we can be specific. We individualize the programs; we make it customized to them to give them the best opportunity to – again – be the best version of themselves out on the field.” 

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