Ravens center Matt Skura vowed to be ready to return to the field during training camp and is now set to fulfill that promise.
The 27-year-old has passed his physical and is expected to take part in Baltimore’s first full padded practice on Monday morning. It’s quite a feat after Skura tore the ACL, PCL, and MCL and dislocated the kneecap in his left knee in Week 12 of the 2019 season.
Head coach John Harbaugh had said Skura was “right on schedule” and would be practicing soon despite the Ravens placing him on the active physically unable to perform list at the start of camp.
“That was our plan and work him in as we go. We want to make sure that he’s moving the right way,” Harbaugh said earlier this month. “Then, you want to put him against some pressure where the knee has to react to certain movements with pressure. We want to do all that before we put him on the field. This is a really slow ramp-up period anyway this year, so we have time to do it and we’re going to bring him along.”
Having started 39 games over the last three seasons including 12 at right guard in 2017, a healthy Skura paints a more stable picture for an interior offensive line trying to replace retired eight-time Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda. Skura is expected to face competition at center from 2019 undrafted free agent Patrick Mekari, who played well in his place down the stretch last year. Pro Football Focus graded Skura 17th among qualified centers last season while Mekari surprisingly finished 14th.
The competition at right guard will be even busier with veteran newcomer D.J. Fluker, 2019 fourth-round pick Ben Powers, and rookie draft choices Ben Bredeson and Tyre Phillips all in the mix to varying degrees. However, Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have both acknowledged the possibility of shuffling linemen to different interior spots to find the best combination bookended by Pro Bowl offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. That could include moving even starting left guard Bradley Bozeman to another inside spot.
“Every [practice] rep is going to carry an added value to it when you consider no preseason games,” Roman said last week. “I definitely think that’s going to really be our platform to evaluate what gives us the best chance to be the best group we can be. Everybody is going to have an opportunity, and we are always constantly trying to develop every player to their utmost.”