The Ravens are getting healthier heading into Sunday's playoff opener against the Tennessee Titans, but they aren't all the way back yet.
Pass rushing outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue (thigh) returned to practice Wednesday after sitting out last week's practices and the regular-season finale. Ngakoue was limited, but it's still a good sign that he's making progress.
Ngakoue was joined by center Patrick Mekari (back) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (rib/shoulder). Mekari had not practiced since tweaking his back two weeks ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Smith returned for a couple limited practices last week but did not suit up in Cincinnati.
All three would be key pieces for the Ravens in Sunday's matchup. Ngakoue finished with eight sacks this season and would help put pressure on Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, especially with Tennessee missing both of its starting tackles.
Smith hasn't played since the Ravens' Monday night win in Cleveland, but he's the team's third cornerback and would be critical in helping to defend the Titans' dangerous weapons of A.J. Brown, Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith.
Mekari had settled into the starting center role and played very well. He has been replaced by undrafted rookie Trystan Colon-Castillo.
While the Ravens are looking healthier, they still had four players out of practice Wednesday: wide receiver Willie Snead IV (ankle), tackle D.J. Fluker (knee), cornerback Marlon Humphrey (shoulder) and defensive end Calais Campbell (not injury related).
Snead, who did not play in the regular-season finale, finished third on the Ravens in receptions (33) and receiving yards (432). He's a trusted chain-mover and key blocker in the rushing attack.
Fluker has started eight games this season, sharing the right tackle role in recent weeks with rookie Tyre Phillips. Humphrey (shoulder) also missed some practice time early last week but still played.
The Titans had three starters miss practice: guard Rodger Saffold (ankle), right tackle Dennis Kelly (knee) and safety Kevin Byard (NIR). Guard Aaron Brewer also didn't practice for non-injury reasons. Saffold, who missed the regular-season Ravens-Titans matchup, told Titans reporters that he “absolutely” will play Sunday.
Wide receiver A.J. Brown (knee/hand), cornerback Adoree Jackson (knee) and center Ben Jones (hamstring) were among the six Titans limited in Wednesday's practice.