The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the New York Giants Monday night on the road to kick off their 2020 NFL regular season 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 Monday night against the Giants.
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 Monday night on the team’s injury report due to a knee injury that he suffered during a training camp night practice more than two weeks ago. DeCastro has failed to practice all week and will not play against the Giants. With DeCastro set to be inactive Monday night, veteran backup offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski 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.
QB Joshua Dobbs – Dobbs, who was brought back to the Steelers after final cuts around the NFL took place, is the third-string backup quarterback to starter Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph to start the 2020 season. all last season. Barring injuries, Dobbs is likely to remain the Steelers third quarterback all season so that means he’ll likely be listed quite frequently ion the team’s game-day inactive list in 2020. Dobbs was inactive all 16 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
DT Carlos Davis – Davis, the team’s seventh-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, surprisingly made the 53-man roster out of training camp and it resulted in veteran defensive tackle Daniel McCullers losing his $1.5 million contract. While Davis is now on the 53-man roster, there’s no guarantee he dresses right out of the chute. The Steelers have plenty of capable defensive linemen ahead of him on the depth chart, so the Nebraska product might need to sit, watch, and learn for the first few weeks of the season, barring injuries.
CB James Pierre – The Steelers rookie undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic reportedly turned a lot of heads in training camp. The fact that he made the 53-man roster in an offseason that was heavily truncated by the coronavirus is a testament to what the Steelers think of him heading into the 2020 season. That all said, it might be hard to find Pierre a spot on the active 48 game-day roster as a cornerback buried on the depth chart. Unless he starts getting the helmet of second-year cornerback Justin Layne, or unless injuries strike the Steelers secondary, Pierre is likely to spend a lot of his rookie season on the game-day inactive list.
RB Anthony McFarland Jr. – McFarland, the Steelers first of two fourth-round draft picks this year, will get playing time as a rookie. That said, he might spend Week 1 on the inactive list if the team doesn’t feel comfortable with him being their kick returner to start the season. Honestly, it feels like this last spot could come down to McFarland or wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud. Would Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin really let a rookie return kickoffs to open a season and especially one that didn’t do it but once in college? I’ll bet that he won’t. The Steelers also only have five wide receivers on their 53-man roster for Week 1 so that’s another reason to think that McCloud might dress over McFarland if it is indeed a choice of the two.