Steelers' four-fold mission

Tuesday, September 23, 2003 at 1:00am

1.Keep it in perspective. The Steelers probably have the Titans in their sights, considering the way they lost to Tennessee twice last season, first with Tommy Maddox getting hurt, and then on Joe Nedney's controversial fall on a missed field goal in the playoffs. The Steelers must channel their emotions into productivity.

2. Show themselves improved. Last year, the secondary was the Steelers' Achilles' heel, as teams threw almost at will on them. Thus far this season, they are No.2 in the NFL against the pass. They'll need that type of effort again Sunday.

3. Keep the chains moving. The Steelers are tied for best third-down conversion rate in the AFC (44.7 percent). They'll get a test from a Titans defense that has only allowed 21.9 percent on third downs this season.

4. Shore up the coverage units. Pittsburgh's kickoff cover unit is ranked last in the league, while the punt cover unit is 23rd. The Steelers can ill afford to give up a big return or a botched play on special team to give the visiting Titans life.

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