The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday afternoon on the road at Paul Brown Stadium 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 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.
James Conner – Conner aggravated his shoulder injury late in the first quarter of the team’s Thursday bight loss to the Cleveland Browns and he ultimately led to him failing to practice any this past week. Conner was officially ruled out for the Sunday night road game against the Bengals on the team’s Friday injury report and that means he’ll be one of the seven inactives. This will mark the third game this season that Conner has missed due to injury. The Steelers do get rookie running back Benny Snell Jr. back this week so there’s that.
JuJu Smith-Schuster – The Steelers top wide receiver was knocked out of the team’s Thursday night loss to the Browns with a concussion and it was later discovered that he also suffered a knee injury on that same play. Smith-Schuster failed to practice all week and that resulted in being ruled out for the team’s Sunday road game against the Bengals on the Friday injury report. This will mark the first game this season that Smith-Schuster has missed and hopefully the last.
Artie Burns – After suffering a knee injury during the Steelers Thursday night loss to the Browns, Burns was only able to practice on a limited basis twice this past week and failed to practice any on Friday. He ended the week being listed by the Steelers as doubtful on the injury report for the team’s Sunday road game against the Bengals and thus isn’t expected to play in that contest. Should Burns indeed wind up being inactive on Sunday, we could see rookie cornerback Justin Layne dress in his place and help some on special teams.
Paxton Lynch – The Steelers seemingly remain locked in to keeping Lynch on their 53-man roster for the remainder of the season as their No. 3 quarterback. Lynch has dressed just once this season for the Steelers back in Week 6 but isn’t expected to dress Sunday against the Bengals, however, and thus figures to be one of the team’s seven inactive players 90 minutes ahead of kickoff.
Zach Gentry – Gentry has still yet to find his footing on offense and hasn’t been helpful on special teams to boot. With the tight ends ahead of him on the depth chart both healthy, you can probably look for the rookie to once again be one of the team’s seven inactive players Sunday against the Bengals. Gentry has only dressed for three games so far this season and that’s not overly surprising and shouldn’t change on Sunday.
Chukwuma Okorafor – The Steelers promoted center Patrick Morris from the team’s practice squad on Thursday to fill the spot of suspended starting center Maurkice Pouncey and he will dress on Sunday against the Bengals. That should be the only change in the dressed offensive linemen this week, so the odd man out once again is likely to be Okorafor
Tuzar Skipper – The Steelers signed the rookie outside linebacker off the practice squad of the New York Giants this past week. Even so, the Steelers figure to get outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo back this week from his rib injury that had him sidelined Thursday night. Additionally, outside linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi looks like he’ll play Sunday against the Bengals despite suffering a concussion Thursday night. All of this when combined with Skipper just getting back in the fold will likely result in in the rookie being inactive on Sunday.