The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Cleveland Browns Thursday night on the road at FirstEnergy 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 Browns.
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.
Paxton Lynch – The Steelers still look very poised to keep Lynch on their 53-man roster for the remainder of the season as their No. 3 quarterback. Lynch isn’t expected to dress Sunday against the Browns, however, and thus figures to be one of the team’s seven inactive players 90 minutes ahead of kickoff.
Benny Snell Jr. – The Steelers rookie running back has yet to fully recover from the knee surgery that he needed performed several weeks ago and because of that he was ruled out for the Thursday night game against the Browns this week. This will be the third consecutive game that Snell has missed and hopefully he can resume practicing after the Steelers return from their forthcoming mini bye week.
Zach Gentry – Gentry has yet to find his footing on offense and hasn’t been helpful on special teams to boot and with the tight ends ahead of him on the depth chart both healthy, you can probably look for the rookie to be one of the team’s seven inactive players Thursday night against the Browns. Gentry has only dressed for three games so far this season and that’s not overly surprising.
L.T. Walton – Since he was signed several weeks ago, Walton has yet to dress for a game and that’s not likely to change Thursday night against the Browns. Steelers rookie defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs has been dressing and playing as a backup every since defensive end Stephon Tuitt was lost to a season ending injury in Week 6. The Steelers usually only dress five defensive linemen for games and if that;’s the case again Thursday night against the Browns, Walton will likely be the odd man out once again.
Chukwuma Okorafor – With guard Ramon Foster expected back Thursday night after missing the last two games wit a concussion, there’s a good chance Okorafor goes back to being inactive again. Okorafor was the Steelers starting right tackle last week due to a lineup shuffle instigated by Foster missing the Week 10 game. The Steelers usually dress just seven total offensive linemen for games and that’s the main reason why Okorafor could be the odd man out Thursday night.
Anthony Chickillo – The Steelers signed outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott to the 53-man roster on Thursday and off the street at that. That might be a sign that Chickillo, who ended the short week on the team’s injury report as questionable with a rib injury, might not be able to play against the Browns. Perhaps Chickillo will be a game-time decision but it’s tough to tell right now. Maybe the Steelers will dress both players just to be on the safe side. With it being a short and Elliott being signed ahead of the game, I’ll guess that Chickillo will down Thursday night.
Justin Layne – It’s hard to guess which last player might end up on the Thursday night inactive list but my best guess is that it will be Layne, who played all of two special teams snaps last Sunday. The Steelers placed wide receiver Ryan Switzer on the team’s Reserve/Injured list Thursday afternoon so running back Tony Brooks-James might be the new kickoff returner moving forward.