The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the San Francisco 49ers Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California 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 2019 season and below is my best guess as to which seven players won’t be given helmets Sunday afternoon against the 49ers.
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.
Roosevelt Nix – After failing to practice again all week due to a knee injury sustained in the team’s opener against the New England Patriots, Nix was officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the 49ers on the team’s official injury report. This will mark the second consecutive game that Nix, the Steelers special teams captain this season, will miss.
Anthony Chickillo – The Steelers backup outside linebacker and core special teams player suffered a foot injury late in the team’s Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and head coach Mike Tomlin immediately described it as being plantar fasciitis. That foot injury wound up preventing Chickillo from practicing all week and he ultimately was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the 49ers on the team’s Friday injury report. This will mark the first game this season that Chickillo has missed and his absence on Sunday should result in outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott getting a helmet for the first time this season.
Vince Williams – Against the Seahawks last Sunday, Williams started but quickly exited the game after just 10 plays due to a hamstring injury and he never returned. The hamstring injury prevented Williams from practicing this past week and on Friday the inside linebacker was officially ruled out for the team’s Sunday game on the Friday injury report. With Williams sidelined, the Steelers inside linebackers against the 49ers will be rookie Devin Bush and veteran Mark Barron.
Isaiah Buggs – The Steelers rookie defensive end out of Alabama has yet to dress for a game this season and that’s unlikely to change Sunday against the 49ers. With the five defensive linemen ahead of him on the depth chart all healthy, Buggs is destined to be inactive again Sunday afternoon against the 49ers.
Justin Layne – Like Buggs, Layne has yet to dress for a game this season and the rookie third-round draft pick out of Michigan State is destined to be inactive yet again on Sunday against the 49ers. The Steelers will likely dress nine defensive backs once again on Sunday and Layne isn’t expected to be one of them.
Fred Johnson – Johnson is yet another Steelers rookie who has yet to dress for a game so far this season and like Buggs and Layne, that’s unlikely to change on Sunday against the 49ers. The Steelers will likely dress seven offensive linemen in total on Sunday against the 49ers and Johnson shouldn’t be expected to be one of those players.
Chukwuma Okorafor – The Steelers decided to dress tackle Zach Banner over Okorafor the first two weeks of the regular season and that practice is likely to continue Sunday against the 49ers. Banner played 13 snaps against the Seahawks as an extra lineman/tight end and he figures play about the same amount on Sunday against the 49ers.