The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Cleveland Browns Sunday afternoon on the road to kick off their 2018 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 every Steelers game of the 2018 season and below is my best guess as to which seven players won’t be given helmets Sunday in Cleveland.
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.
Mason Rudolph – Rudolph’s rookie season will start with him being on the inactive list and that’s not overly surprising. For now, second year quarterback Joshua Dobbs will backup starter Ben Roethlisberger now that Landry Jones has been jettisoned. We’ll see how the season progresses and if Rudolph can eventually overtake Dobbs as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart.
Vance McDonald – McDonald’s 2018 season, his second with the Steelers, will begin with him being one of the teams seven inactive players against the Browns. McDonald, who has been sidelined by a foot injury since the very early stages of training camp, was officially ruled out for Sunday’s game on the team’s Friday injury report after failing to practice the final two sessions.
Matt Feiler – While Feiler did make the 53-man roster once again this year, he’ll likely start this season off on the inactive list just as he did in 2018. The Steelers normally only dress seven offensive lineman on Sunday’s and odds are good that B.J. Finney and rookie Chukwuma Okorafor will be the two backups who will get helmets Sunday in Cleveland.
Zach Banner – Like Feiler, Banner should find himself on the Steelers Sunday seven-man inactive list 90 minutes before the game gets underway. As previously mentioned, the Steelers normally only dress seven offensive linemen for games and even if they decided to dress eight, Banner would likely still be the odd man out.
Daniel McCullers – The Steelers usually only dress five defensive linemen for games and if that holds true again on Sunday, McCullers is likely to be the odd man out and thus one of the team’s seven inactive players. He was on the list quite a bit his first four seasons.
James Washington – If the Steelers give both Justin Hunter and Darrius Heyward-Bey helmets on Sunday in Cleveland, there’s a good chance the rookie Washington will be inactive for the contest. Additionally, Washington didn’t get a lot of preseason or training camp reps with Roethlisberger, so it might result in a slow start to the season for him. Even if he is inactive on Sunday, it shouldn’t take the Steelers second-round pick this year long to start contributing on offense.
Marcus Allen – The Steelers currently have six safeties on their 53-man roster and that’s a lot for them. Assuming veteran safety Morgan Burnett is healthy enough to play Sunday after missing time during the preseason, it makes sense for Allen, one of the team’s two fifth-round draft picks this year, to be on the inactive list to open the season. If, however, Burnett isn’t 100 percent, then he would obviously be a better inactive candidate. It’s worth noting, however, that Burnett was not on the Steelers injury report this week.