The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday night 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 night 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 yet to dress for a game so far this season as the rookie third-round draft remains at the bottom of the quarterback depth chart behind second-year signal caller Joshua Dobbs. Barring an injury to either Dobbs or starter Ben Roethlisberger, Rudolph only get a chance to dress for the Steelers regular season finale should that contest ultimately become a meaningless one. Look for Rudolph to once again be one of the Steelers seven inactive players Sunday night against the Chargers.
Marcus Gilbert – Gilbert once again ended the week listed as out on the Steelers official injury report after he failed to practice all three days because of a knee injury that has been bothering him since the team’s bye. Sunday night will mark the sixth consecutive game that Gilbert has missed and his seventh of the season. With Gilbert sidelined again Sunday night, backup offensive lineman Matt Feiler is expected to start in his place after not playing last Sunday due to a pectoral injury. Rookie tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, who made his first career start last Sunday in place of Gilbert and Feiler, will likely resume his backup role Sunday night against the Chargers.
Morgan Burnett – Burnett surprisingly showed up on the Steelers injury report on Wednesday with a back injury and after failing to practice all three days the team officially listed him as doubtful for the team’s Sunday night game against the Chargers on Friday. Burnett previously missed four games during the first half of the regular season with a groin injury. With Burnett likely to be inactive Sunday night, reports indicate that rookie safety Marcus Allen will dress for the first time this season against the Chargers. Obviously, rookie safety Terrell Edmunds is expected to start again Sunday night alongside fellow Steelers safety Sean Davis and fellow safety Jordan Dangerfield is also expected to dress.
L.T. Walton – With starting defensive end Stephon Tuitt expected to return Sunday night from his two-game absence because of an elbow injury, there’s a good chance that Walton will find himself back on the Steelers seven-player inactive list. The Steelers will likely roll with backup defensive linemen Tyson Alualu and Daniel McCullers against the Chargers.
Zach Banner – With Feiler no longer on the injury report, Banner will likely remain on the team’s inactive list Sunday night against the Chargers. He’s only dressed for one game so far this season. The Steelers usually have two offensive linemen on their inactive list every week so look Gilbert and Banner should be the scratched duo again Sunday night.
James Washington – The Steelers are once again likely to have one wide receiver on their seven-player inactive list Sunday night and that player could very well wind up being Washington after his poor showing last Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Media reports from this past week indicated that veteran wide receiver Justin Hunter could be active Sunday night against the Chargers in lieu of Washington after receiving a lot of practice reps. Hunter has been inactive for the Steelers last four games and Sunday night would mark just the fifth game he’s dressed for this season. Should Washington wind up being the odd wide receiver out Sunday night it will mark the second time this season he’s been on the inactive list.
Bud Dupree – This last guess is a tough one with rookie outside linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi being activated to the 53-man roster on Saturday along with Dupree ending the week listed as questionable on the team’s injury report. Dupree, however, did practice fully on Friday and his words after practice indicated that he might try to play Sunday night against the Chargers. Another interesting aspect to all this is that reports indicate that rookie safety Marcus Allen might dress on Sunday with Burnett doubtful. If that happens, cornerback Cameron Sutton, who sat out practice on Friday and thus ended the week listed as questionable, might not dress Sunday night as cornerback Brian Allen might just get a helmet again being as he wasn’t the player waived to make room Adeniyi. Personally, I think the Steelers might not know who their final inactive will be at this point. I really want to put Sutton in this final spot but will go ahead and guess that Dupree is sat down Sunday night.