The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Cleveland Browns 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 – Rudolph has been on the Steelers inactive list each of the first six games of the 2018 regular season and the rookie third-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State is expected to be on it again Sunday afternoon against the Browns. As has been the case in the first six games, Joshua Dobbs will likely serve as the backup to starter Ben Roethlisberger Sunday at Heinz Field against the Browns.
Marcus Gilbert – Gilbert ended the week listed as out on the Steelers official injury report after he failed to practice all week because of a knee injury and that was a bit surprising with the team coming off their bye week. With Gilbert sidelined on Sunday we should see backup offensive lineman Matt Feiler start in his place at right tackle just as he did several weeks ago against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Steelers have been dressing eight offensive linemen the last several weeks but even so, it really doesn’t make sense to do so this Sunday.
L.T. Walton – Walton has only dressed for one game so far this season and that was only because fellow Steelers defensive lineman Tyson Alualu missed a contest with a shoulder injury. Currently, there’s no reason to think that defensive tackle Daniel McCullers won’t continue to get a game day helmet and if that’s indeed the case again on Sunday at Heinz Field against the Browns, Walton will be inactive once again and that’s an easy guess to make coming off the team’s bye week.
Zach Banner – While the Steelers have dressed eight offensive linemen for the last several weeks, there’s no reason to expect that trend to continue Sunday against the Browns. Instead, expect Banner to be inactive along with Gilbert and for the Steelers to only dress seven offensive linemen in total.
Marcus Allen – Allen has yet to dress for a game this season and with veteran safety Morgan Burnett expected to return from his groin injury on Sunday, you can expect the rookie fifth-round draft pick out of Penn State to be inactive against the Browns Sunday afternoon. Burnett has been sidelined since Week 2 and thus had been on the inactive list with Allen every week since then.
Brian Allen – With veteran wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey likely to return from his ankle injury on Sunday, you can make a great case for fellow veteran wide receiver Justin Hunter to go back to the weekly inactive list. With that said, Roethlisberger sure has talked glowingly about how well Hunter played prior to the team’s bye week and how he expects him and rookie James Washington to continue seeing playing time. The only way for that to happen is for both Hunter and Washington to both be active and if indeed Heyward-Bey returns this week to help on special teams, Brian Allen might just be the odd man out on Sunday. If, however, Heyward-Bey is held out another game, both Hunter and Allen will obviously both get helmets. The Steelers haven’t dressed all six of their wide receivers since Week 1 against the Browns.
Matthew Thomas – The Steelers should also get inside linebacker L.J. Fort back from his ankle injury on Sunday and if indeed that’s what happens, Thomas, a rookie undrafted free agent inside linebacker, might wind up on the inactive list for the first time this season and especially if Heyward-Bey and Hunter both get helmets. This would mark the first time this season Thomas is on the inactive list should that ultimately be what happens.