Matt Skura

Giants Promote Matt Skura 

The Giants have promoted offensive lineman Matt Skura to the 53-man roster (Twitter link via agent David Canter). Skura will be eligible to play tonight against the Washington Football Team, providing depth in the wake of Shane Lemieux‘s knee injury.

Lemieux, the starting left guard, was replaced by Ben Bredeson last week. Nick Gates could also step in at LG if former Bengals first rounder Billy Price is shifted to the middle. In any scenario, Skura offers some upside as a supporting cast member.

Skura spent four seasons as a Ravens starter, working at center and guard. He operated as Baltimore’s starting center for most of Lamar Jackson‘s tenure, helping the team to historic rushing totals. The Giants added him to their taxi squad earlier this month after he was dropped by the Dolphins.

Skura, 27, comes with 51 games of starting experience and a serious medical file. The veteran started 16 games for the Ravens in 2018 but tore his ACL, MCL and PCL towards the end of the 2019 season. He didn’t bounce back all that well last year — Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the league’s worst centers before he lost his starting job in Baltimore.

The offensive line has been a sticking point for the Giants for years, so they’re eager to find solutions. After falling 27-13 in the season opener against the Broncos, they’ll aim for the .500 mark tonight against Washington.

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Giants To Add Matt Skura To Practice Squad

The Giants continue to scoop up former AFC North O-linemen. After making two trades to bolster their front, they are planning to add Matt Skura to their practice squad, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweets.

Skura spent four seasons as a Ravens starter, working at center and guard. He operated as Baltimore’s starting center for most of Lamar Jackson‘s tenure, helping the team to historic rushing totals. The Ravens, however, did not re-sign him in free agency this year.

The Dolphins released Skura earlier this week, doing so after acquiring Greg Mancz from the Ravens. The Giants will give Skura, 27, another opportunity. This move comes after the Giants acquired center Billy Price from the Bengals and guard Ben Bredeson from the Ravens.

Although Skura is a Duke alum, his last year as a Blue Devils blocking cog (2015) came before Daniel Jones became the team’s starting quarterback. Still, this will bring a 51-game starter to Big Blue’s practice squad. Skura lost his starting job late last season, when Pro Football Focus graded him as one of the league’s worst centers, but he was coming off a severe 2019 setback. Skura, who started 16 games for the Ravens in 2018, tore his ACL, MCL and PCL late in the 2019 regular season.

The offensive line has been a sticking point for the Giants for years, and this preseason was no exception. At center, the team has Nick Gates in place as a starter, with Price on the active roster as a backup. Price has not been a full-time starter at center since his 2018 rookie season.

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Dolphins Release C Matt Skura

Matt Skura‘s stint with the Dolphins has already come to an end. The Dolphins are cutting the veteran center, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).

Back in March, Skura inked a one-year, $1.75MM deal ($400K guaranteed) with Miami. Today’s move will provide the organization with about $1.35MM in cap space.

The 28-year-old was expected to provide some experience to a young offensive line. However, it never sounded like the organization was committed to Skura as their starting center. Shortly after signing him, we learned that the Dolphins had still pursued center David Andrews before he landed back with the Patriots. We later heard that 2019 third-round pick Michael Deiter had likely earned the starting center gig, and it sounded like the team’s recent acquisition of lineman Greg Mancz could ultimately cost Skura his roster spot.

Skura had issues snapping the ball at times during his final season with the Ravens and wound up getting the hook in favor of Patrick Mekari. In total, he made 12 starts, giving him 51 total first-string appearances over the course of four seasons in Baltimore. Originally an UDFA out of Duke in 2016, Skura spent his rookie year on the practice squad. As a sophomore he was called on to start 12 games at guard when Marshal Yanda missed most of the season. The following year he became the team’s center, starting all 16 games. After starting 11 games in 2019 Skura tore an ACL and had significant other damage in his knee, but he made it back in time for 2020 training camp and started the season on time.

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Ravens Trade OL Greg Mancz To Dolphins

The Ravens have made their second trade of the week. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Baltimore has traded offensive lineman Greg Mancz to the Dolphins for a late-round draft pick. ESPN’s Jamison Hensley clarifies (on Twitter) that Mancz and a seventh-round pick (acquired from the Patriots earlier this week) will head to Miami, with the Dolphins sending the Ravens a sixth-round pick.

[RELATED: Ravens Trade Shaun Wade To Patriots]

Mancz, a former undrafted free agent, spent six years with the Texans, starting 13 of his 28 games. However, the veteran struggled to get on the field during his final two seasons in Houston, combining for only 13 games played. This included a 2020 campaign when he saw time in only four games, with the majority of his snaps coming on special teams.

The 29-year-old joined the Ravens practice squad late last season, and he inked a reserve/futures contract with the team in January. However, as the preseason went on, most pundits dropped the veteran from their roster predictions.

Now, Mancz will have a chance to stick around Miami. The veteran could be useful thanks to his versatility; he’s lined up at center, guard, and right tackle throughout his career. The Dolphins’ offensive line appears to be just about set, but the team could be looking for some reinforcement after second-round rookie Liam Eichenberg suffered an injury during this week’s practice. Adam Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com speculates that today’s move could also cost veteran Matt Skura his roster spot. The veteran center already found himself behind Michael Deiter on the depth chart, and cutting the 28-year-old could save Miami $1.4MM against the cap.

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Dolphins Make Changes On Offensive Line

Trading for 2019 second-round pick Greg Little, the Dolphins continue to shuffle their offensive line group. But they are making more changes among their in-house personnel as well.

They have shifted second-round pick Liam Eichenberg from tackle to guard, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. While Dolphins offensive line coach Lemuel Jeanpierre initially said the move was to give the Notre Dame product experience at guard, Adam Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com notes the Dolphins view versatile veteran Jesse Davis as a better option to start at right tackle this season than Eichenberg. Davis, a former UDFA, was the Dolphins’ primary right tackle in 2019. Eichbenberg was an All-American left tackle with the Fighting Irish, starting there for three years.

Eichenberg is working as Miami’s first-string left guard, however. The team’s directions with Davis and Eichenberg have resulted in two starters from last season — Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley — vying for the starting right guard role, Beasley adds. The Dolphins moved Hunt from tackle to guard this offseason. While they have been high on the 2020 second-round pick, viewing him as a possible Pro Bowler inside, the Louisiana product is currently battling for a starting spot in camp.

Additionally, Miami appears to be moving toward giving 2019 third-round pick Michael Deiter — a full-time guard starter as a rookie but a backup in 2020 — its starting center position over free agent acquisition Matt Skura, per Beasley. Skura represents a veteran presence on a group that lost D.J. Fluker early in camp, but Davis could end up being the only seasoned starter tabbed to be part of the Dolphins’ O-line in Week 1. Deiter played more games at guard at Wisconsin but was a 16-game center starter with the Big Ten program.

Pro Football Focus ranked the 2020 Miami O-line 28th, and it is possible only one player — left tackle Austin Jackson — will end up in the same position he primarily played last season. The team traded 2020 guard starter Ereck Flowers this offseason as well, and that change may be one of many at this Dolphins position group this year. It will certainly be interesting to see how Miami’s O-line configuration looks come Week 1.

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Dolphins Still Searching For Center

The Dolphins made an offer to center David Andrews even after signing Matt Skura, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Andrews ultimately wound up back with the Patriots, but Jackson hears the Dolphins are still in the search for center support. 

[RELATED: David Andrews Chooses Pats Over ‘Fins]

Andrews missed all of 2019 with a pulmonary embolism, but he managed to return for the 2020 season. Even though he missed a handful of games with a thumb injury, he suited up in 72% of the Pats’ offensive snaps across 12 games.

Presumably, the Dolphins were willing to give Andrews a deal that was in the neighborhood of his new Pats contract – $19MM over four years with $6.5MM fully guaranteed. Meanwhile, Skura was signed for just $1.75MM on a one-year deal. Between Skura’s struggles and his injury history, it’s a safe bet that he won’t be handed the starting job in South Beach.

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Dolphins To Sign Matt Skura

The Dolphins are set to sign former Ravens center Matt Skura (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). The lineman’s one-year deal is worth $1.75MM, per Garafolo on Twitter.

Skura had issues snapping the ball at times last year and wound up getting the hook in favor of Patrick Mekari. In total, he made 12 starts, giving him 51 total first-string appearances over the course of four seasons in Baltimore. Originally an UDFA out of Duke in 2016, Skura spent his rookie year on the practice squad. As a sophomore he was called on to start 12 games at guard when Marshall Yanda missed most of the season.

The following year he became the team’s center, starting all 16 games. After starting 11 games in 2019 Skura tore an ACL and had significant other damage in his knee, but he made it back in time for 2020 training camp and started the season on time.

He projects as the new starter in Miami, and it’s possible his struggles last year were due to coming off such a serious injury in such a short amount of time. He turned 28 in February.

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Ravens Place Robert Griffin III On IR

The hamstring injury Robert Griffin III suffered Wednesday in Pittsburgh will result in a prolonged absence. This could complicate matters for the Ravens.

While RG3 going on IR would not normally affect Baltimore’s starting lineup, it is not yet known if Lamar Jackson will be ready to return when first eligible to come off the Ravens’ reserve/COVID-19 list. Jackson tested positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 26 and cannot return to practice until Sunday. The Ravens will host the Cowboys on Tuesday night.

Baltimore used third-stringer Trace McSorley — who was recently activated from the COVID list — at the end of Wednesday’s loss to the Steelers. He would be in line to start for the Ravens against the Cowboys, should Jackson require more recovery time.

RG3 struggled against the Steelers but brings extensive NFL experience McSorley obviously lacks. An eighth-year NFL vet, Griffin has been Jackson’s backup for three years. Griffin cannot resume his QB2 duties until at least Week 16.

While the Ravens will be without Griffin for a while, they did receive word Friday they will have more depth available against Dallas. Baltimore activated J.K. Dobbins, Matt Skura, Patrick Mekari and Pernell McPhee from the virus list.

The Ravens held Dobbins and Mark Ingram out of their thrice-rescheduled game in Pittsburgh. Both backs tested positive for COVID-19 but would have been eligible to return for Week 12. Dobbins being back in action will be a boon to a Ravens team suddenly on thin ice with regards to playoff qualification.

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NFL Postpones Ravens-Steelers Due To COVID-19

Thursday’s game between the Ravens and Steelers has been postponed due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests. Now, the two teams are set to meet on Sunday afternoon, though the league will continue to monitor the situation between now and then.

We learned yesterday that Baltimore was dealing with 10 total coronavirus cases, including five players. As Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter), the Ravens have actually had seven players test positive over the past three days: RBs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins — which we already knew about — QB Trace McSorley, OLB Pernell McPhee, DE Calais Campbell, C Matt Skura, and G/C Patrick Mekari, all of whom will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. As such, the league really had no other choice but to push back the game.

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network points out that the league did not make the decision because the Ravens would have been extremely shorthanded. After all, the players who tested positive won’t be allowed to play on Sunday either. Instead, a number of Baltimore players are (obviously) close contacts with those who tested positive, and the NFL wants to make sure the spread is contained (Twitter link).

Unfortunately, things could get worse for the Ravens. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the league and the team know how the outbreak began, and there is a chance more players will test positive. By Friday, the NFL expects to know if everything is under control or if the game will need to be postponed again.

If another postponement becomes necessary, this game will likely be the first one set in on the novel Week 18. The Ravens are scheduled to play the Cowboys next Thursday, so the league will not make them play a game on Monday or Tuesday before a Thursday night contest.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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Ravens Bench C Matt Skura

The Ravens are making a bold move in advance of this afternoon’s critical matchup with the Titans. Per Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com, Baltimore is benching starting center Matt Skura. Second-year pro Patrick Mekari will get the nod in Skura’s stead.

Skura has had issues snapping the ball in each of the past two weeks. In a win over the Colts in Week 9, the problem was attributed to a cut on his hand, and in the team’s loss to the Patriots last week, the heavy rains throughout the game certainly didn’t help. Still, poor snaps torpedoed two second-half drives against New England, and head coach John Harbaugh said afterwards, “[the rain’s] not an excuse — we still have to make our snaps. They made their snaps.”

The Ravens’ offense has struggled to get in a rhythm this season, and the O-line play has been a big reason for that. The unit has often struggled to give QB Lamar Jackson ample time to throw, and it has generally been unable to open running lanes for Jackson and Baltimore’s stable of RBs. Losing RG Marshal Yanda to retirement in the offseason was obviously a major blow, and LT Ronnie Stanley went on season-ending IR with a severe ankle injury earlier this month. Yanda’s replacement, rookie Tyre Phillips, has also missed time due to injury.

Like the other members of the Ravens’ offensive front, Skura played well in 2019, though his season was cut short thanks to ACL, MCL and PCL tears that he suffered nearly one year ago today. The fact that he sufficiently recovered from that injury in time to participate in the team’s first padded practice this summer was remarkable, but it’s possible that he’s still not back to full strength.

Mekari has started three games at guard this year, and his move to the pivot will allow 2019 fourth-rounder Ben Powers to get his first start of his pro career at right guard, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets. Skura, meanwhile, will have a chance to return later in the season once he has had the opportunity to clear his head.

The former UDFA out of Duke is playing out the 2020 campaign on the low-level RFA tender (though if he hadn’t gotten injured, the Ravens may have needed to use a higher tender on him). He had the chance to position himself well for a big payday this offseason, but unless things improve quickly, he may need to settle for a modest one-year pact in 2021.

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