The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the New England Patriots Thursday night in Foxboro to kick off the 2015 NFL regular season and if you’re like me, you’re counting down the hours until the game begins. As usual, I will attempt to project the seven inactives for each and every Steelers game of the 2015 season and below is my best guess as to which seven players won’t be given helmets Thursday night.
Game inactives are officially announced 90 minutes before kickoff, so make sure you check back at that time to see the names of the players for both teams who will be sitting the game out.
Landry Jones – This is the easy one of the seven just as it has been every week for the last two seasons. On top of it all, Jones has now been ruled out for the game with a concussion that he received during the preseason finale. Unless injuries occur, get used to seeing Jones’ name on this weekly list. Just think, they could have Ryan Griffin once again. Maybe not a huge upgrade, but an upgrade nonetheless.
Ross Cockrell – The Steelers acquired Cockrell after he was waived by the Buffalo Bills and being as he is still very new to the team and not known as being a strong special teams player, I see no reason as to why he should get a helmet Thursday night. Like Jones, he might be a regular on this list.
Caushaud Lyons – Lyons was also a surprising late add and being as it looks like Stephon Tuitt is all healed up and ready to go, I just can’t see him getting a helmet against the Patriots. The fact that the Steelers have seven defensive linemen on their initial 53 is quite surprising to me so Lyons is a perfect candidate to be shuffled to the practice squad in the coming weeks.
Tyler Murphy – Some members of the local media believe that Murphy might actually dress Thursday night instead of rookie draft pick Sammie Coates. Personally, I don’t see the logic in that and especially being as Murphy is not a big help on special teams. Coates, on the other hand, played quite a few more snaps on special teams than Murphy did and while he isn’t likely to play much on offense against the Patriots, I would still give him a helmet.
Jesse James – Being as fullback Roosevelt Nix surprisingly made the initial 53, one would think he will get a helmet Thursday night. He’s an above average special teams player and can also function as a fullback should the need arise. James shouldn’t get a helmet because Will Johnson can serve as the team’s third tight end with Nix active.
Chris Hubbard – Being as the Steelers will only likely dress seven offensive linemen, either Hubbard or Doug Legursky will need be inactive. Hubbard has looked horrible during the preseason and Legursky is the better center of the two so this is an easy decision as far as I’m concerned.
L.T. Walton – This is where it gets tough. The Steelers normally only dress five defensive linemen but with Tuitt maybe not quite yet 100 percent, maybe they will dress six. If they go that route, one would think that either Sean Spence or Vince Williams would be inactive and that Walton would get a helmet. This will be interesting to watch play out.