Wednesday’s announcement from Ravens coach John Harbaugh that a healthy Joe Flacco would back up rookie Lamar Jackson reverberated throughout the NFL. However, it barely made a ripple with the teammate most responsible for getting the football to either quarterback.
Despite Jackson’s listed height of 6 feet 2 being four inches shorter than Flacco’s, center Matt Skura said he has not had to make any changes in his snaps to Jackson — shotgun or otherwise.
“I think really just getting practice reps have been the biggest thing,” he said. “Just making sure that if we have to take extra snaps before practice or after practice, we’re doing that. Just building that chemistry together is always good. At the same time, you’ve got to do it. You figure out a way to get it done, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
In his first year as the starting center, Skura has graded out to a 59.5 rating by Pro Football Focus, which ranks 22nd among centers in the league. That’s 4.5 points and seven spots higher than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Ryan Jensen, whom Skura replaced in the offseason. Skura has also been flagged only three times, while Jensen has been cited for nine penalties.
“Matt has played really well, and he’s in there battling, first year starting at center, young player,” Harbaugh said. “I think he’s done a good job. He’s mentally smart. He gets us in the right protections, gets us up on the right combination blocks to which [linebacker] we’re going to, and he’s played very well.”
Skura said the improvements has made are encouraging, but acknowledged that he is far from a finished product.
“I think I’m just getting more comfortable and more settled in every single game with every snap I’ve played,” he said. “I’m definitely my own toughest critic, and there are things I see every game that I want to work on and make sure that I’m improving on. I’m just trying to make this offensive line the best it can be.”
Jensen will return to Baltimore for the first time since signing a four-year, $42 million contract with the Buccaneers in March. Skura said it will be unusual to see Jensen in anything other than the Ravens’ colors.
“It’ll be good to see him,” Skura said. “I haven’t seen him since last year. So it’ll be exciting, and I know he’ll be pumped up for this game.”