The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Oakland Raiders Sunday afternoon 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 Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum in Oakland.
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 has still yet to dress for a game so far this season as the rookie third-round draft pick 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 and as of right now that’s not looking likely. Look for Rudolph to once again be one of the Steelers seven inactive players Sunday against the Raiders as Dobbs once again backs up Roethlisberger.
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 afternoon will mark the seventh-consecutive game that Gilbert has missed and his eighth of the season. With Gilbert sidelined again Sunday, backup offensive lineman Matt Feiler is expected to start in his place once again at right tackle with rookie tackle Chukwuma Okorafor serving as the backup again.
James Conner – An ankle injury suffered late in the Steelers Week 13 Sunday night home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers will now result in the second-year running back missing his first game of the season Sunday in Oakland. Conner was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Raiders by head coach Mike Tomlin this past Tuesday and it was made official on the team’s Friday injury report. With Conner sidelined Sunday in Oakland, backup running backs Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley are expected to split the work in the Steelers backfield. Additionally, the Steelers promoted running back Trey Edmunds from their practice squad this past week with Conner sidelined and he should now dress Sunday against the Raiders and help some on special teams.
Zach Banner – Banner will likely remain on the team’s inactive list Sunday against the Raiders as he’s only dressed for one game so far this season. The Steelers usually have two offensive linemen on their inactive list every game so look Gilbert and Banner should be the scratched duo again Sunday afternoon. Barring more injuries to members of the Steelers offensive line, Banner is likely to remain a weekly inactive player the remainder of the season.
L.T. Walton – Defensive end Stephon Tuitt returned from his two-game absence last Sunday against the Chargers and that resulted in Walton returning to the team’s inactive list. The Steelers will likely roll with backup defensive linemen Tyson Alualu and Daniel McCullers Sunday afternoon against the Raiders as the team usually only dresses five from that position group for games.
Marcus Allen – Allen made his NFL debut last Sunday against the Chargers due to safety Morgan Burnett and cornerback Cameron Sutton both being scratched. Burnett who missed that week 13 Sunday night game with a back injury, looks like he might return Sunday against the Raiders after being listed as a full practice participant all week. It’s worth noting, however, that Burnett still ended the week listed as questionable on the team’s Friday injury report. As for Sutton, he missed last Sunday’s game due to a personal reason and thus should be back dressed Sunday in Oakland. In short, Allen will likely go back to being inactive on Sunday and especially if Burnett is healthy enough to play.
Brian Allen – Even though outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo officially ended the week listed as questionable on the team’s injury report with an ankle issue, it sounds like he intends on playing Sunday against the Raiders. If that’s indeed the case, and if rookie outside linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi winds up also dressing again, we could see two Allens on the team’s Week 14 Sunday afternoon inactive list. As previously mentioned, if Burnett and Sutton are both back active on Sunday the Steelers should have more than enough defensive backs on Sunday, nine in total, not counting both Allens.