The Ravens hope to have starting center Matt Skura in the lineup Sunday, facing the Pittsburgh Steelers who had eight sacks in their last game.
Skura (knee) missed his second straight practice and is questionable. However, Head Coach John Harbaugh is optimistic Skura will play.
“He had something happen in practice (Wednesday),” Harbaugh said. “I think there’s a real good chance he’ll play. We’ll just have to see. If not, we’ll go with the guys we’ve got.”
If Skura can’t play, the Ravens could replace him with undrafted rookie Patrick Mekari, or they could slide Bradley Bozeman from left guard to center and start James Hurst or rookie Ben Powers at left guard.
It will be a major adjustment for the offensive line if Skura can’t play. He has started 20 straight games for an offensive line that has performed consistently. The Ravens are ranked No. 1 overall offensively in the NFL and have the league’s No. 1-ranked rushing offense, averaging 205.8 yards per game.
Brandon Williams Practices for Second Straight Day, Cyrus Jones is Questionable
After being inactive against the Cleveland Browns in Week 4, Pro Bowl nose tackle Brandon Williams (knee) practiced for the second straight day and is expected to be in the lineup on Sunday. Williams is one of the NFL’s best run-stoppers and the Ravens gave up 193 yards rushing against Cleveland.
Punt returner/cornerback Cyrus Jones (foot) was added to the injury report Friday, listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis. Jones is the team’s primary punt returner, meaning wide receiver Willie Snead IV would assume that role if Jones cannot play.
Tight end Mark Andrews (foot) was a full participant Friday after being limited Thursday and sitting out Wednesday. He was not even listed as questionable for the game, which is a sign that he’s getting healthier.
Safety Earl Thomas missed practice for non-injury reasons. Veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith (knee) will miss his fourth straight game.
Bynes and Fort Could Play; Ferguson in Line for More Snaps
Two inside linebackers the Ravens signed during the week could play Sunday – Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort. Both have immersed themselves in the playbook and are eager to contribute if called upon.
The 29-year-old Fort has plenty of special teams experience and could be used in that role Sunday, even if he doesn’t play defensive snaps. Fort spent four seasons in Pittsburgh (2015-2018).
“I’ve been around a few teams, so the [defensive] schemes are pretty similar. The biggest part is just the language,” Fort said. “Special teams is mainly just hustle and want-to. I think I got that.”
Meanwhile, rookie outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson is in line for increased playing time after outside linebacker Tim Williams was released this week. Ferguson played a season-high 22 snaps Week 4 against Cleveland and Harbaugh said Ferguson was active, although he did not show up on the stat sheet.
“I thought he did a good job,” Harbaugh said. “Yes, taking steps in the right direction. He's going to get more snaps this week, so I'm looking forward to see how he progresses.”
WR Smith-Schuster, RB Conner, LB Williams All Practice Friday
The Steelers had three starters listed as questionable, but all of them practiced Friday: No. 1 wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe); tight end Vance McDonald (shoulder) and inside linebacker Vince Williams (hamstring). All of them had missed practice Wednesday and Thursday.
The loss of Smith-Schuster would be another offensive blow for the Steelers, who are already missing franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, out for the season with an elbow injury. Smith-Schuster leads Pittsburgh wide receivers in receptions (17) and receiving yards (258).
Two Steelers have been ruled out for Sunday: linebacker Anthony Chickillo (foot) and fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee).