Ravens QB Joe Flacco faces tough matchup in Chargers' Eric Weddle

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is accustomed to encountering an instinctive free safety every day, practicing against former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ed Reed.

Flacco will have to deal with a similar challenge Sunday against San Diego Chargers Pro Bowl free safety Eric Weddle, who's constantly around the football.

"Weddle has a good feel for where the ball's going to go and how to play certain things," Flacco said. "He tries to hide and bait me a little bit. He covers the field well. He has confidence and he understands the game."

Weddle has intercepted three passes this year after recording a career-high seven interceptions last season. In a loss to the Denver Broncos last week, he returned a Peyton Manning interception 23 yards for a touchdown.

"He doesn't have accolades for no reason," former Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "He's a great player with great ball skills who's very smart at diagnosing stuff and plays with a chip on his shoulder. You have to know where he is."

During a 34-14 loss last season in San Diego, Flacco was intercepted twice and sacked seven times.

Just as Flacco is respectful of his skills, Weddle, who has 65 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble, is accounting for the quarterback's ability to throw deep.

"Joe can throw it a mile long," Weddle told San Diego reporters. "We have to be on our toes, especially myself."

McPhee, Pitta on the mend

After missing the past three games with right knee and thigh injuries, starting defensive end Pernell McPhee practiced for the second consecutive day on a limited basis Thursday.

McPhee underwent two arthroscopic knee surgeries prior to training camp, and has only a half-sack after recording six sacks as a rookie last season.

"I'm getting better, getting my feet back under me," McPhee said. "I'm doing all the easy stuff on the field, but coach [John] Harbaugh will make the decision on whether I'm out there Sunday."

Tight end Dennis Pitta will take a baseline neurological test soon to determine if he's medically cleared for contact, but said he no longer has concussion symptoms.

"I've taken a few big hits these last few weeks, but I feel good," Pitta said. "We'll see where we're at, but I feel pretty good."

Reserve cornerback Chris Johnson didn't practice again because of a strained hamstring, but return specialist Jacoby Jones (ankle) was upgraded to limited participation after being held out Wednesday.

Also limited Thursday: nose guard Terrence Cody (left elbow), tight end Ed Dickson (neck), safety James Ihedigbo (neck), outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (shoulder, Achilles), safety Bernard Pollard (ribs), Reed (shoulder), inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (toe, thumbs) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (right knee, right shoulder).

Cornerback Jimmy Smith attended practice for the first time since undergoing sports hernia surgery last week.

Expected to return later this season, Smith declined to comment on his status and said he'll talk when he's healthy.

Rice looking to break out

It was an uncharacteristically quiet game for running back Ray Rice on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers' top-ranked defense