How new Dolphins center is addressing any snapping concerns
New Dolphins center Matt Skura has a history of committing few penalties and allowing few sacks.
But perhaps the biggest reason Skura was benched by the Ravens last November is he had two consecutive games with poor snaps.
In a loss at New England, Skura had a wild snap to running back Mark Ingram in the Wildcat formation on fourth down. Skura had another poor snap to Lamar Jackson late in the contest.
"It was the Patriots game when we were having a little bit of a torrential downpour," Skura said Friday. "But I'm someone who really doesn't like to make excuses. I don't care if it's a blizzard, a hail storm, whatever it is. That's something that I have to take responsibility for. That's one of the main things in this offseason."
So what has Skura been doing to make sure it's a non-issue as a Dolphin?
"Literally every day, snapping, whether it's 10 snaps or 30 snaps," Skura said. "Whatever time permits. I'm doing snaps. Doing o-line drills. Doing everything I can to make myself feel prepared."
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When Skura had difficulty snapping during a prior win at Indianapolis, it was noted he was playing with a cut on his thumb. Last fall, Skura said his family had received "hateful and threatening" direct messages on social media following the snaps.
That's uncalled for, of course. And it does seem there are plausible explanations for why a center who had not had snapping problems before encountered a few bad moments.
Skura was not graded as well in 2020 and he did in 2018 and 2019, when he was considered a top-notch starting center. But Skura will be one year further removed from ACL, MCL and PCL tears in his left knee suffered in November of 2019.
He made no excuses about his health.
"Going into the season, I felt really good," Skura said. "And throughout the season, felt good as well. The knee held up great. Didn't really have any problems with it."
Skura noted that it was an unfortunate confluence of circumstances that he would be rehabilitating during a pandemic.
"I only had one kettle bell and one strength band," Skura recalled. "That was kind of it at first. I needed way more than this. So I had to go online and buy a whole bunch of stuff. With the pandemic I started to ramp up. Shipping took forever.
"I would get half of my equipment in a month and then the other half like two months later. So it was basically like creating a home guy, working out and building one all at the same time. So yeah you definitely find creative ways in your back yard or going to a local park. Whatever you can. You definitely get creative."
Skura has signed for a reported $1.75 million, which is a relative bargain compared to whatever, say, David Andrews signed for to return to New England. The Dolphins were interested in Andrews but not at the market price point.
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It is possible the Dolphins allow Michael Deiter to compete with Skura in camp, though Skura would go into camp with an edge based on track record and experience.
It's also possible the Dolphins draft a center in Rounds 2-4 who could compete with Skura and try to take his job at some point, if not in September.
But Skura, who has been a solid pass protector for years in the league, could be an excellent value on his one-year contract. Skura wanted to be in Miami, too.
"I had a few different offers," Skura said. "Seeing coach (Brian) Flores' passion for the game and how much he truly cares about his players and really wanting to improve the culture of this team, this was a big thing for me."
Skura has worked with Lamar Jackson in Baltimore and he's looking forward to forging a relationship with Tua Tagovailoa.
"One of the big things is communication," Skura said. "Him communicating on the line. Me communicating the protection changes. And also just understanding how he sees the game. Everyone is different. Everyone has different perspectives. Understanding how he sees certain blitzes. How he sees certain defenses. How he wants the offensive line to protect him are all things that go into it.
"For me, too, just building a relationship off the field helps that as well. Lamar and I have a great relationship off the field. And so I think that definitely helps us on the field. That's always been big for me. Just building those relationships. When it comes time to play communication becomes that much easier."
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