Secondary concern: Pats place rookie CB Dowling on IR

The New England Patriots have placed rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling on injured reserve, further depleting their secondary one day after releasing veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden on Friday.

The team used their two vacant roster spots to activate running back Kevin Faulk and defensive end Brandon Deaderick.

The Patriots -- who rank at the bottom of the league in pass defense -- are left with six defensive backs on their roster. Only two -- Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington -- have significant starting experience.

Dowling, selected in the second round of April's draft, appeared in two games this season, both as a starter. A hip injury has kept him out of action since Week 2 and now will cut short his first season.

The Patriots travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers and their ninth-ranked passing offense on Sunday.

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