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Steelers coach Tomlin boosts kick coverage

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By Scott Brown
Monday, Nov. 30, 2009

BALTIMORE — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin showed Sunday night just how serious he is about shoring up a woeful kickoff coverage unit. James Harrison, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, played on the Steelers' kickoff coverage unit against the Ravens. Harrison had been a special teams standout before becoming one of the top linebackers in the NFL. Linebacker Rocky Boiman and cornerback Corey Ivy each played extensively on special teams, as expected, after signing with the Steelers last week. Both were on the kickoff and punt coverage teams. Boiman was also on the kickoff and punt return teams, while Ivy was on the punt return unit.

» The Steelers got some good news on the injury front this weekend. Travis Kirschke started at left defensive end last night against the Ravens after missing the previous three games with a torn muscle in his left calf. Kirschke returned to a lineup that was missing three other starters, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (concussion). Nick Eason had started in Kirschke's absence, but the Steelers deactivated him last night. Rookie Ziggy Hood backed up Kirschke and right defensive end Brett Keisel.

» In addition to Roethlisberger, strong safety Troy Polamalu (knee), left guard Chris Kemoeatu (knee) and backup quarterback Charlie Batch (wrist) didn't play last night because of injuries. Joining them on the Steelers' list of inactives were Eason, cornerback Keenan Lewis, guard Kraig Urbik and defensive end Sunny Harris.

» Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs did not play last night because of a knee injury. Also inactive for Baltimore were offensive tackle Oniel Cousins, linebacker Antwan Barnes, cornerback Cary Williams, fullback Charles Ali, guard/tackle Tony Moll, nose tackle Kelly Talavou and quarterback John Beck.

» Dennis Dixon's first career touchdown pass, a 33-yarder to Santonio Holmes early in the second quarter, ended a scoring drought for the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII. Holmes hadn't scored a touchdown since the season opener Sept. 10.

» Hines Ward has caught at least one pass in 173 consecutive regular-season games.

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