The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Denver Broncos on Sunday at home and if you’re like me, you’re counting down the hours until the game begins. As usual, I will attempt to project the Steelers inactives for every game of the 2020 season and below is my best guess as to which players won’t be given helmets Sunday afternoon against the Broncos.
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. Also, the new roster rules make this exercise even harder as team’s can promote up to two players from their practice squads to their active roster on gamedays. Team’s also can dress up to 48 players for games if 8 offensive linemen are dressed.
G David DeCastro – DeCastro officially ended the week listed as out for Sunday on the team’s injury report due to a knee injury that he suffered during a training camp night practice more than three weeks ago. DeCastro failed to practice all week once again and will not play against the Broncos. This will be his second game missed of the season. With DeCastro set to be inactive Sunday and with veteran backup offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski now on the team’s Reserve/Injure list as well, rookie guard Kevin Dotson is expected to start in his place at right guard. Backup interior offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer is also expected to dress Monday night against the Giants with DeCastro sidelined and the same goes for Derwin Gray, who was promoted from the practice squad on Friday.
QB Joshua Dobbs – Dobbs, as expected, remains the third-string backup quarterback to starter Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph going into the team’s Week 2 game. Barring injuries, Dobbs is likely to remain the Steelers third quarterback all season so that means he’ll likely be listed quite frequently on the team’s game-day inactive list in 2020. Dobbs was inactive all 16 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. He’ll be inactive against the Broncos again on Sunday as well.
DT Carlos Davis – Davis, the team’s seventh-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, was inactive for the team’s Week 1 Monday night game. With everyone seemingly healthy on the defensive line heading into the Week 2 home game, odds are great that Davis will once again be inactive on Sunday against the Broncos. Davis surprisingly made the 53-man roster out of training camp this year but with the Steelers propensity to dress just five defensive linemen for games and with the Nebraska product being sixth on that position groups depth chart, he’ll likely sit out again against the Broncos
ILB Ulysees Gilbert III – Surprisingly, Gilbert was one of the Steelers inactives in Week 1. Was that a result of head coach Mike Tomlin needing a sixth inactive because of him not knowing the roster rules, or was Gilbert destined to be one of the five anyway had that been how many listed? We may never know the answer to that question. It seems like Gilbert and Marcus Allen are the two players that might be battling over one helmet to start the season. If that’s the case, and with Allen being the slightly more experienced player and more position flexible, we could see Gilbert inactive again on Sunday despite him being an above average special teams player.
TE Zach Gentry – The last inactive guess comes down to Gentry and rookie running back Anthony McFarland Jr., both of whom were listed as scratches on Monday night. With Gentry not being much of a special teams asset and with the Steelers set to dress eight offensive linemen in total in addition to tight ends Vance McDonald and Eric Ebron, odds are probably good that the second-year Michigan product will be inactive again on Sunday at Heinz Field. Additionally, Steelers running back James Conner is currently dealing with a minor ankle injury and perhaps that will play a tiny part in a decision to allow McFarland to dress for his first NFL game and then play a handful of offensive snaps against the Broncos.