The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon on the road and if you’re like me, you’re counting down the hours until the Week 8 game begins. As usual, I will attempt to project the Steelers inactives for every game of the 2021 season and below is my best guess as to which players won’t be given helmets on Sunday afternoon 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. Also, the new roster rules make this exercise even harder as team’s can elevate up to two players from their practice squads to their active roster for gamedays. Team’s also can dress up to 48 players for games if 8 offensive linemen are dressed.
OLB Melvin Ingram – Ingram, who showed on on the Steelers injury report this week with a groin injury, ended Friday afternoon listed as doubtful after failing to practice earlier in the day. He had previously been listed as a limited practice participant on Wednesday and Thursday as well. The Steelers downgraded Ingram from doubtful to out on their injury report on Saturday afternoon. This will mark the first game that Ingram has missed this season. Ingram might also be traded away by Tuesday afternoon as it appears he wants out of Pittsburgh now due to him not being happy with his current role. The Steelers elevated outside linebacker Taco Charlton from the team’s practice squad on Saturday and he’ll now dress in place of Ingram on Sunday.
TE Eric Ebron – Ebron, like Ingram, was ruled out for Sundays game against the Browns due to an injury. Ebron showed up on the Steelers injury report on Thursday with a hamstring injury and then proceeded not to practice on Friday. This will mark the first game this season that Ebron has missed.
QB Dwayne Haskins – Haskins, as expected, was once again one of the Steelers inactive players in Week 6. He still remains the Steelers third string quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph yet again this week so he undoubtedly will be inactive again on Sunday afternoon against the Browns, barring any last-minute injury or surprise. Expect Haskins to continue to show up on the Steelers inactive list quite often throughout the 2021 season. He has yet to dress for a game this season.
CB Ahkello Withersoon – The Steelers have a healthy cornerback group this week and not surprisingly coming out of their bye. Look for Witherspoon to once again be inactive on Sunday against the Browns. Witherspoon hasn’t been active for a game since Week 2. He is not an asset on special teams and that continues to hurt his chances of getting a helmet on a weekly basis. He’ll be inactive quite a bit more this season if the cornerbacks all remain healthy.
ILB Buddy Johnson – Johnson dressed for the Steelers first three games due to injuries at various positions. In Week 4, Week 5, and Week 6, however, Johnson was inactive and he figures to be on the list again on Sunday afternoon against the Browns. The Steelers have been dressing inside linebackers Devin Bush, Joe Schobert, Robert Spillane, Marcus Allen and Ulysees Gilbert III the last few weeks and that should continue on Sunday.
RB Kalen Ballage – The Steelers now have running back Anthony McFarland Jr. back on their 53-man roster as of this week and he should make his 2021 debut on Sunday. Because of that, the Steelers will likely have one running back inactive on Sunday against the Browns. If indeed that’s the case, Ballage figures to be the odd running back out as fellow running back Benny Snell Jr. is the better special teams player of the two. The Steelers could make tackle Zach Banner instead, but with them being down a tight end in Ebron, it would make sense to dress an extra tackle and one that has experience as an eligible player at the position.