The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday afternoon at home 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 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
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 – As expected Rudolph’s rookie season started last Sunday with him being the odd quarterback out and thus inactive against the Cleveland Browns. While starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger officially ended this week listed as questionable with an elbow injury, it’s hard to imagine him sitting out the Sunday game against the Chiefs. Assuming he’s good to go, count on Rudolph being inactive on Sunday against the Chiefs.
Joe Haden – After suffering a mild hamstring strain in the Steelers week 1 game against the Browns, Haden then proceeded to miss practice all week. He ended the week listed as doubtful on the team’s injury report and thus it will be a minor miracle if he plays Sunday against the Chiefs. With Haden likely to be inactive on Sunday, look for fellow cornerback Coty Sensabaugh to get his helmet. Sensabaugh was inactive in Week 1.
David DeCastro – Like Haden, DeCastro, the Steelers starting right guard, ended the week listed as doubtful on the team’s official Friday injury report. DeCastro suffered a fractured hand last Sunday against the Browns and it prevented him from practicing all three days. The Steelers will likely give DeCastro at least one game off to heal and that will start Sunday against the Chiefs. With DeCastro likely to be inactive you can expect backup interior offensive lineman B.J. Finney to start in his place at right guard. Additionally, look for the team’s other backup interior lineman, Matt Feiler, to get DeCastro’s helmet Sunday against the Chiefs. Feiler was inactive last Sunday against the Browns.
Tyson Alualu – Alualu suffered a shoulder injury last Sunday against the Browns and while he was able to practice some this past week on a limited basis, he ultimately was listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs on the team’s Friday injury report. In short, expect Alualu to be inactive on Sunday and for fellow defensive end L.T. Walton to get his helmet. Walton, like Feiler and Sensabaugh, was a healthy scratch in Week 1.
Zach Banner – The Steelers generally have two offensive linemen inactive on game days and with DeCastro unlikely to play Sunday against the Chiefs because of his hand injury, there’s a good bet that Feiler will likely get his helmet after being inactive in Week 1. If that’s ultimately the case, you can count on Banner being inactive for a second consecutive game on Sunday at Heinz Field.
Marcus Allen – As expected, Allen, a fifth-round pick this year, was inactive for the Steelers Week 1 game against the Browns. Likely, Allen will not be given a helmet once again Sunday against the Chiefs.
Xavier Grimble – If the Steelers allow tight end Vance McDonald to make his 2018 debut on Sunday that will be a welcomed sight. Additionally, one would assume that McDonald should be able to play a fair amount of snaps as well if given the go ahead to dress Sunday against the Chiefs. McDonald getting a helmet could result in Grimble being inactive in Week 2. Grimble really isn’t much of a special teams asset and wouldn’t play many, if any, snaps on offense if he’s the No. 3 tight end on Sunday. This last spot is tough to guess as it could go to wide receiver Justin Hunter, linebacker Matthew Thomas, or even McDonald, if the team wants to give him one more week of injury rehab.