Placing Maurkice Pouncey on injured reserve was not a huge surprise as I talked about it many days ago. Now comes the decision of do you dress newly elevated Dorian Brooks or not and do you dress an extra tackle just in case. There are several no-brainers in this week’s inactive guess and few that make you do a little thinking. I nailed the AFC Championship Game guesses so here we go at one last stab at Super Sunday. Below are the eight players we expect to see on the Steelers inactive list released 90 minutes before kickoff of Super Bowl XLV against the Packers and why.
QB Charlie Batch – This very well could be the last time Batch wears the Black and Gold. He says he wants to continue to play and with Dennis Dixon not a lock to be re-signed, there is an outside slim chance of Batch returning as the #3 quarterback. Time will tell and we wish Batch well and thank him for his services should this be it.
DE Aaron Smith – It is sad that Smith could not make it back by the Super Bowl. It was worth the risk to keep him on the roster in my opinion. There was no need to play him if he wasn\’t fully recovered though. Smith has all offseason to get ready and return to camp to battle Ziggy Hood for the starting left defensive end spot. All of Steeler Nation was rooting for him since the injury, but it was not in the cards.
DT Steve McLendon – McLendon has not dressed since Brett Keisel returned from his hamstring injury and with everyone healthy, McLendon will end the season on the inactive list. He will likely compete for a roster spot in 2011.
RB Jonathan Dwyer – The rookie has quite a bit of work to do in the offseason if he wants to make the 2011 roster. At least he got a taste of action in week 17 and knows what it feels like to play in a regular season game. He still has an uphill battle to learn the little things about becoming an all around back in the NFL.
T Chris Scott – Scott is another rookie that will try to battle for a spot in 2011. A foot injury basically caused the Steelers to red shirt him as he missed all of camp and the preseason. He will have a head start on any draft picks or undrafted free agents the Steelers sign, but must earn a roster spot as a 5th round pick.
CB Crezdon Butler – Considering the numbers, Butler looks like he will not dress again. The Steelers hope he can emerge as an every down corner or at least grab the nickel spot in 2011. He seems to be a bright and fun kid and I am really rooting for him to make an impact in next season.
T Tony Hills – Call it a gut feeling, but I think the Steelers go with just 7 linemen Sunday against the Packers. Dorian Brooks was signed from the practice squad and I think will dress. Trai Essex will be the first man in at guard or tackle should someone go down. Hills really has not showed anything in his time with the Steelers. This spot though could just as easy go to Brooks if the Steelers are comfortable with Essex backing up Doug Legursky at center. Mike Tomlin could also decide to sit down Jason Worilds and dress both Hills and Brooks just the same.
S Will Allen – Although Allen is not on injury report, I have a funny feeling he man be the odd man out. It comes down to Keenan Lewis, Worilds and Allen in my opinion and the Steelers might be worried about that knee holding up. This is just a gut feeling, but I certainly think the final inactive spot will go to one of these three.