Time again to read the tea leaves for who will be inactive for the game Sunday down in Tampa against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The list remains hard to nail down in two spots mainly because of the unknown future status of Dennis Dixon and his prospects of being placed on injured reserve and the expected heat down in Tampa. The Steelers get back Max Starks this week, but lose Trai Essex to an ankle injury. The Steelers rotated in every dressed lineman last week in the Nashville heat and they very well could dress all healthy linemen this week just in case. What we know for sure is that Dixon, Essex, Butler, Gibson and Dwyer are near locks to be inactives. Below is the weekly guess of the Steelers 8 inactives for the Bucs game.
QB Dennis Dixon - As of Saturday at 2:30 PM, Dixon has not been placed on injured reserve. He is rumored to be out 6 weeks after meniscus surgery, so at the very least will be an inactive list regular for some time. This could change in a matter of hours though as kickoff is a ways away.
CB Crezdon Butler - His day is coming, just not enough hats to go around.
RB Jonathan Dwyer - No explanation really needed with Dwyer. As I have stated numerous times, he will be here all season unless an injury happens or he is released.
G Trai Essex - I re-watched the play he was injured on a dozen times and it hurt my ankle. Essex did not work all week and was ruled out officially on Friday. Doug Legursky starts in his place this week at right guard.
WR Emmanuel Sanders - Sanders sat out with a quad injury last week and it gave fellow rookie wide receiver Antonio Brown a chance to show his wares. Sanders is probably the more versatile and better polished route runner at this point, but the return abilities of Brown can not be ignored. In essence it won the game last week in Tennessee and at the very least set the tone of the game.
LB Thaddeus Gibson - He has yet to crack the game day active list even when when fellow rookie linebacker Jason Worilds was out injured last week. I see no reason why he gets a helmet this week with Worilds back healthy.
T Tony Hills - With Max Starks returning and Trai Essex being out, Ramon Foster could get the 7th lineman hat this week. The Steelers of course could still carry 8 lineman on gameday with the heat, so there is a chance that both Foster and Hills could both be up. If that happened, they may have to sit Antonio Brown down and carry just 4 receivers on gameday. It should be noted that Hills was not at his best last week.
CB Keenan Lewis - That Mike Tomlin dog house can be a bitch sometimes. The secondary is healthy and playing good right now. Lewis will likely chew on the bone another week at least.