The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their fourth game of the 2017 regular season on the road Sunday afternoon against the Baltimore Ravens with the lead of the AFC North division up for grabs. As usual, I will attempt to project the seven inactives for each and every Steelers game of the 2017 season and below is my best guess as to which seven players won’t be given helmets Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
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.
Joshua Dobbs – Dobbs, the Steelers fourth-round draft pick this year out of Tennessee, has yet to dress for a game this season and that’s unlikely to change Sunday against the Ravens. As long as the rookie quarterback is third on the team’s depth chart behind Landry Jones and as long as starter Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy, Dobbs should continue to remain a weekly inactive list fixture.
Daniel McCullers – Sunday should mark the return to the field of starting defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who has missed the last two games with a biceps injury. If that indeed happens, McCullers will likely find himself back on the inactive list again. McCullers played sparingly in the Steelers last two games and the Steelers normally only like to dress five defensive linemen in total.
Marcus Gilbert – It’s hard to know for sure if Gilbert will indeed play Sunday against the Ravens as he ended the week listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. While Gilbert did practice fully on Wednesday, he was limited on both Thursday and Friday. The fact that he went backwards this week is generally not a good sign so with that, I will predict he’ll miss a second-consecutive game. If that happens, Chris Hubbard will get the start again at right tackle.
Eli Rogers – Steelers wide receiver Justin Hunter is expecting to dress for the first time this season Sunday against the Ravens and if that ultimately happens, a different wide receiver will likely take his place on the inactive list. With Rogers reportedly being replaced by wide receiver Antonio Brown this week as the team’s punt returner, he becomes a good candidate to be inactive on Sunday. If that ultimately happens, rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will likely get a lot of playing time in the slot.
Jerald Hawkins – Hawkins, the team’s 2016 fourth-round draft pick, finally stayed off the team’s injury report this week. If Gilbert is indeed inactive on Sunday and guard Ramon Foster also dresses, either Hawkins or Matt Feiler will need to sit the game out. With Hawkins just now getting back in the full flow of things, I’ll guess that Feiler gets a helmet again this week.
Brian Allen – Assuming the Steelers safeties Mike Mitchell and Sean Davis are both healthy enough to play Sunday after both ended the week listed as questionable, Allen could once again be the odd man out in the secondary. The Steelers fifth-round draft pick this year has only dressed for one game thus far this season and that was when safety J.J. Wilcox missed the team’s Week 2 game with a concussion. Should either Mitchell or Davis not dress on Sunday in Baltimore, Allen would likely get a helmet again and help out on special teams.
James Harrison – Assuming my first six inactive player guesses are correct, who will be the seventh player to not dress on Sunday? It has to be a linebacker, right? With rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt expected to return this weekend after missing one game with a groin injury, Harrison might go back to being the third option on the right side. Harrison has only played seven defensive snaps thus far this season and he’s not a contributor on special teams to boot. If that’s not enough, Harrison missed Friday’s practice with an illness and ended the week listed as questionable on the team’s injury report. Because of everything I just mentioned, I think Harrison has a decent shot of being inactive against the Ravens. If it’s a different linebacker that winds up being the seventh inactive, perhaps it will be Arthur Moats or L.J. Fort. We’ll see soon.