The bye week is behind us now and it is time once again to read the tea leaves for who will be inactive for the week 6 game Sunday at Heinz Field against the Cleveland Browns. We have done well to nail these the last two weeks and this week is not as much of a challenge if indeed the news about Emmanuel Sanders being active is indeed correct. Also the Steelers are very healthy coming out of the bye with only Trai Essex listed 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.
QB Byron Leftwich – Every week Leftwich can recover from his knee injury, the better it is for the team depth at quarterback. Charlie Batch has earned the back-up job for now based on his play in 2 plus games. This is the Browns after-all and as long as the offense doesn\’t do anything stupid, Terry Bradshaw could still be the back-up on Sunday. I see Leftwich listed as the emergency 3rd QB this week.
G Trai Essex – Essex is listed as doubtful and it is also doubtful he will start at right guard ever again unless an injury happens. While Doug Legursky is not going to the Pro Bowl as a right guard, he seems to be more stable there than Essex was based on the tape we have reviewed. Of course Legursky does not have but two starts under his belt, I think his mistakes are correctable. Regardless, Essex will be out this week and sure to be inactive.
T Tony Hills – Jonathan Scott is just plain better than Hills and Ramon Foster is just more versatile. Hills continues to disappoint and baring injury, might just be on the weekly hatless list for many more weeks to come. Like it or not, Hills is a liability at left tackle.
WR Antonio Brown – The early word is that rookie wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will be up this week and share punt return duties with Antwaan Randle El. Not only that, Sanders is the better route runner, the higher draft pick and reportedly has a better grasp of the offense. It would not totally surprise if both Sanders and Brown were both active, that would mean special teams ace Arnaz Battle would be sat down and against the Browns talented Joshua Cribbs, I just do not see that happening.
CB Keenan Lewis – Another week and another inactive list for Lewis. William Gay has been more than adequate back in his nickel back role and both Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden are playing above the line thus far. Sometimes there is no need to fix what is not broken and such is that when talking about the Steelers secondary.
LB Thaddeus Gibson – One again, rookie linebackers Jason Worilds and Stevenson Sylvester will be getting the gameday hats as they have the special teams knack thus far. The future is bright for Gibson, but it will not be any time soon baring an injury to the other two rookie linebackers.
RB Jonathan Dwyer – Even though Mewelde Moore is playing under the line as of late, there is no way that that Dwyer is a better option at this point, especially where special teams play and blitz recognition comes into play. Watch and learn young fella.
CB Crezdon Butler – Despite being inactive every week, he has a ton of potential. Probably the best hands of all the defensive backs on the roster. Much like Gibson, his future is bright, it is just way down the road right now.