The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night at Heinz Field 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 Monday night against the Bengals.
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 the knee injury he sustained in the team’s opener against the New England Patriots, Nix was officially ruled out for the Monday night game against the Bengals on the team’s official injury report. This will mark the third 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. After sitting out last Sunday with the injury, Chickillo once again failed to practice any this past week and he ultimately was ruled out for the Monday night game against the Bengals on the team’s Saturday injury report. Chickillo’s absence Monday night should result in outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott once again getting a helmet.
Vince Williams – Against the Seahawks two Sundays ago, Williams started but quickly exited the game after just 10 plays due to a hamstring injury and he never returned. That hamstring injury prevented Williams from playing last Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers and the inside linebacker once again failed to practice any this past week. Williams was officially ruled out for the team’s Monday night game on the Saturday injury report so expect the starting inside linebackers against the Bengals to once again be rookie Devin Bush and veteran Mark Barron.
Vance McDonald – After suffering a shoulder early in the second quarter of the team’s loss last Sunday to the 49ers, McDonald left the game and did not return. On Wednesday, Tomlin said he was optimistic that McDonald would play Monday night against the Bengals. However, after McDonald failed to practice this past week, McDonald was listed as doubtful on the team’s Saturday injury report and wasn’t upgraded on Sunday. Tomlin doesn’t play doubtful players so expect McDonald to be on the inactive list Monday and that means newly acquired tight end Nick Vannett will likely get the start.
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 Monday night against the Bengals. With the five defensive linemen ahead of him on the depth chart all healthy, Buggs is destined to be inactive again against the Bengals.
Fred Johnson – Johnson, an undrafted rookie this year out of Florida, has yet to dress for a game so far this season and like Buggs, that’s unlikely to change on Sunday against the Bengals. The Steelers will likely dress only seven offensive linemen in total Monday night against the Bengals and Johnson shouldn’t be expected to be one of those players.
Chukwuma Okorafor – The Steelers have decided to dress tackle Zach Banner over Okorafor the first three weeks of the regular season and it’s a good bet that practice continues Monday night against the Bengals. Banner failed to play any snaps last Sunday against the 49ers after playing 13 snaps in Week 2 against the Seahawks as an extra lineman/tight end. Look for Banner to be on the field some Monday night as a blocker if he once again dresses over Okorafor.