The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon at home, and if you’re like me, you’re counting down the hours until the Week 10 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 Lions.
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 teams can elevate up to two players from their practice squads to their active roster for gamedays. Teams also can dress up to 48 players for games if eight offensive linemen are dressed.
WR Chase Claypool – Claypool was ruled out for the Sunday afternoon game against the Lions due to a toe injury that he suffered late in the Monday night home win. Claypool failed to practice all week after reportedly undergoing an MRI on his injured toe on Tuesday. It’s unclear how long Claypool will be sidelined because of it. This will mark the second game this season he’s missed due to an injury, as he also sat out the team’s Week 4 game with a hamstring issue. The Steelers elevated wide receiver Steven Sims from the practice squad on Saturday, and he will dress in place of Claypool on Sunday against the Lions.
QB Dwayne Haskins – Haskins, as expected, was once again one of the Steelers’ inactive players in Week 9. 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 Sunday afternoon against the Lions, barring any last-minute injury or surprise. Expect Haskins to continue to show up on the Steelers’ inactive list quite often throughout the remainder of the 2021 season. As expected, he has yet to dress for a game this season.
CB Ahkello Withersoon – The Steelers still have a healthy cornerback group in Week 10. Because of that, look for Witherspoon to once again be inactive Sunday afternoon against the Lions. Witherspoon hasn’t been active for a game since Week 2. As mentioned several times previously, Witherspoon 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, like has been the case for the last several weeks.
ILB Buddy Johnson – Johnson dressed for the Steelers’ first three games of the regular season due to injuries at various positions. He has not dressed for a game since, however. Johnson figures to once again be on the inactive list again Sunday afternoon against the Lions. The Steelers have been dressing inside linebackers Devin Bush, Joe Schobert, Robert Spillane, Marcus Allen and Ulysees Gilbert III the last several weeks, and that should continue on Sunday.
T Zach Banner – Banner has yet to dress for a game since coming off the Reserve/Injured list several weeks ago, and with all of the offensive linemen healthy entering Saturday, it certainly looks like the tackle is destined to be inactive again on Sunday against the Lions. Unless the Steelers bench rookie tackle Dan Moore Jr. on Sunday, it’s hard to imagine Banner being active for that contest.
RB Anthony McFarland Jr. – The Steelers surprisingly made McFarland inactive on Monday night. Instead of giving McFarland a helmet, the team gave it to fellow running back Kalen Ballage. Because of what happened on Monday night with McFarland, it’s hard to envision the second-year running back being allowed to dress over Ballage on Sunday against the Lions. McFarland doesn’t play on special teams, and that’s another thing that hurts his cause. The Steelers are bound to have one inactive running back on Sunday, and that running back is unlikely to be Benny Snell Jr. In short, it will likely either be McFarland or Ballage, and this week, my money is on the former after having it incorrectly on the latter in Week 9.