The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday night on the road 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 Monday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
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 has been on the Steelers inactive list the first two games and the rookie third-round draft pick is expected to be on it again Monday night against the Buccaneers. As has been the case in the first two games, Joshua Dobbs will serve as the backup to starter Ben Roethlisberger against Tampa.
David DeCastro – DeCastro, the Steelers starting right guard, ended the week listed as doubtful once again on the team’s official Saturday injury report and thus he isn’t expected to play Monday night against the Buccaneers. DeCastro suffered a fractured hand in Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns and it has forced him to miss practice time ever since. With DeCastro likely to be inactive once again Monday night, you can expect backup interior offensive lineman B.J. Finney to make a second consecutive start in his place at right guard.
Marcus Gilbert – A hamstring injury suffered during the Steelers Week 2 home loss against the Kansas City Chiefs had Gilbert hobbled this past week and he was only able to practice on a limited basis on Saturday. Gilbert, who also dealt with a hamstring injury at the beginning of last season, ended this week listed as doubtful on the Steelers official injury report and thus he isn’t expected to play Monday night against the Buccaneers. Should Gilbert indeed wind up not playing against Tamp Bay, backup offensive lineman Matt Feiler would start in his place at right tackle. Additionally, Gilbert being inactive on Monday could result in backup tackle Zach Banner dressing for the first time this season.
Morgan Burnett – Burnett, like DeCastro and Gilbert, ended the week listed as doubtful on the Steelers official injury report. Burnett is now slowed by a groin injury just as he was during training camp and the preseason. In all likelihood, Burnett will be inactive Monday night against the Buccaneers and that means rookie safety Terrell Edmunds is likely to start in his place.
Justin Hunter – With it looking as if rookie wide receiver James Washington has now overtaken Hunter on the depth chart, you can probably expect the veteran wide receiver to be inactive once again Monday night against the Buccaneers. Hunter was inactive last Sunday against the Chiefs and the fact that he’s not a special teams contributor certainly hurts his cause when it comes to getting a helmet moving forward.
L.T. Walton – After missing the Steelers Week 2 game against the Chiefs with a shoulder injury, backup defensive end Tyson Alualu is expected to be back on the field Monday night against the Buccaneers. Assuming that happens, the Steelers are likely to send Walton back to the inactive list just as he was in Week 1 as Daniel McCullers will likely continue to get a helmet.
Marcus Allen – Even though fellow Burnett isn’t likely to dress Monday night against the Buccaneers, him being inactive still might not be enough reason to give the rookie Allen a helmet for the first time this season. Instead, the Steelers will likely keep Allen on the inactive list once again as they still have backup safeties Nat Berhe and Jordan Dangerfield they can rely on should the need arise.