Ravens’ John Harbaugh defends team’s banned drop kick; center Matt Skura (knee) expected to play Sunday

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after Sunday’s 40-25 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team was in full contact with the NFL regarding its drop kick attempt against the Kansas City Chiefs, which the league later ruled was illegal.

“We were in contact with the league officiating office all the way through,” Harbaugh said Friday. “We didn’t just pull it out and decide to try it and sneak it past them.”


The failed attempt, which occurred during the fourth quarter of the team’s Week 3 loss to the Chiefs, was deemed illegal because kicker Justin Tucker failed to kick the ball as it hit the ground.

“A drop kick is defined the way it’s defined,” Harbaugh said. "We talked to them. We explained exactly what we were doing and how it was going to go, and they said it was legal, we could do it. We talked to the officials before the game. They called the league office again. They had been in contact with the league office, the officiating office, and they said it was legal.


"Probably, the competition committee decided they didn’t want to see it, someone on the competition committee — probably the chairman [Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay] — decided with [senior vice president of officiating] Alberto [Riveron] he didn’t want to see it. So now, it’s not legal. So, that’s pretty much how it works and how it worked in this case.”

Skura, Williams and Jones questionable for Sunday

Harbaugh said center Matt Skura is expected to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, despite missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a knee injury.

Skura, along with defensive tackle Brandon Williams (knee) and cornerback/punt returner Cyrus Jones (foot), are listed as questionable.

“He had something happen in practice," Harbaugh said of Skura’s injury. “I think he has a real good chance to play. [I’m] very encouraged, so we’ll just have to see. If not, we’ll go with the guys we have."

If Skura is unable to play, the team could start reserve lineman Patrick Mekari in his place, or slide over left guard Bradley Bozeman, who started two years at center in college.

“In the NFL, everybody plays every position,” Bozeman said. “That’s kind of where you get your value, being versatile. No matter what happens, we have guys who can fill those roles. Hopefully [Skura] can do it. Whatever [Harbaugh] says, that’s pretty much how it goes. It’s always a good opportunity to showcase what you can do.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (knee) has been ruled out and will miss his fourth straight game.

The Steelers listed wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster (toe), tight end Vance McDonald (shoulder) and linebacker Vince Williams (hamstring) as questionable.

Linebacker Anthony Chickillo (foot) and running back Roosevelt Nix (knee) have been ruled out.

Extra points

>> Harbaugh said the team is expected to make an additional roster move ahead of Sunday’s game after placing safety/special teams ace Brynden Trawick on injured reserve-designated to return with an elbow injury.

“It’s just a move we decided to make,” Harbaugh said. “It’s kind of the way it worked out. It’s not really as much medical. I mean, he’s not ready to play yet.”

>> Newly signed inside linebacker L.J. Fort said it was a “no-brainer” to sign with the Ravens following his release from the Philadelphia Eagles.


Harbaugh said Fort, who was signed Monday, is expected to be in the mix to contribute Sunday on defense and special teams.

“The schemes are pretty similar,” Fort said. “The biggest part is the language. So I just have to learn a different language as soon as I can and run with that. ... Special teams is mainly just hustle and want-to and I think I have that.”

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