Time again to read the tea leaves for who will be inactive for the week 4 game Sunday at Heinz Field against the Baltimore Ravens. We nailed last weeks prediction and this week is a bit easier to predict with both Chris Hoke and Trai Essex ruled out on the injury report. Below are the eight players we expect to see on the Steelers inactive list released 90 minutes before kickoff on Sunday.
NT Chris Hoke - Hoke sustained a MCL sprain late last week against the Buccaneers and did not practice at all this past week. He was ruled out on the Friday injury report and the Steelers were forced to activate Steve McLendon from the practice squad to back up Casey Hampton on Sunday against the Ravens. If things go right, Hoke will be ready to play against the browns following the bye week.
G Trai Essex - Essex did not practice all week for the second straight week following an ankle sprain he suffered against the Titans in week 2. Doug Legursky started last week against the Buccaneers at right guard and did an admirable job. The are rumblings that Essex may have lost the starting job to Legursky. Regardless, Essex has been ruled out this week on the injury report and will not play Sunday.
T Tony Hills - Hills will likely be down again as the Steelers will likely dress the more versatile Ramon Foster for the second straight week. With Essex being down, Foster is the better backup, should a guard go down and is also the better lineman all the way around.
WR Emmanuel Sanders - Fellow rookie Antonio Brown will likely get the rookie receive hat again for the Steelers and return kicks Sunday against the Ravens. It would not be surprising though to see both rookie receivers active at the same time on Sunday in the near future, but I doubt it will be this week.
CB Keenan Lewis - Lewis still has not emerged from the Mike Tomlin dog house ever since he lost his cool in the preseason loss to the Denver Broncos. Based on the way the secondary has placed thus far, they are not misssing him.
LB Thaddeus Gibson - Rookie linebackers Jason Worilds and Stevenson Sylvester have been getting the gameday hats as of late and are contributing big on special teams in the process. Unless an injury occurs, Gibson could be a regular here for quite a while.
RB Jonathan Dwyer - Not much explanation needed here. Another week, another inactive list for Dwyer. Baring an injury, Dwyer will be here a while.
CB Crezdon Butler - Butler is a rookie like Dwyer and will be a regular here unless an injury or poor play in the secondary takes place. There are just not enough hats to go around on gameday for Butler.