The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their third game of the 2017 regular season on the road Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Bears and if you’re like me, you’re counting down the hours until the game begins. As usual, I will attempt to project the seven inactives for each and every Steelers game of the 2017 season and below is my best guess as to which seven players won’t be given helmets Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.
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.
Joshua Dobbs – As expected, the Steelers rookie quarterback has been inactive for the team’s first two games of the 2017 regular season and he should be on the list of seven players in Week 3 as well. There’s currently no sign that Dobbs will pass No. 2 quarterback Landry Jones on the depth chart in the near future so for now, you can expect him not to dress for a while.
Marcus Gilbert – Gilbert, the Steelers starting right tackle, suffered a hamstring injury in the Week 2 game against the Minnesota Vikings and after failing to practice this past week, he was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Bears on the team’s Friday injury report. With Gilbert out, Chris Hubbard will start in his place at right tackle. Additionally, reserve offensive lineman Matt Feiler is expected to dress Sunday for the first time this season and he’ll be the team’s first tackle off the bench.
T.J. Watt – The Steelers rookie first-round draft pick suffered a groin injury against the Vikings and while he didn’t believe his ailment was very serious earlier in the week, it ultimately prevented him from practicing a few days. Watt, like Gilbert, was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Bears on the team’s Friday injury report and that means he’ll be inactive in Week 3. With Watt out, fellow outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo is now the favorite to start in Watt’s place on the right side with veteran outside linebacker James Harrison expected to back him up. At this point, the only thing that needs to be speculated is the amount of snaps that Harrison will ultimately play against the Bears.
Jerald Hawkins – Hawkins was inactive for the Steelers first two regular season games and he’ll likely be on that list of seven players again against the Bears. While the 2016 fourth-round draft pick officially ended the week listed as questionable, the fact that he failed to practice on Friday due to his lingering knee injury is enough reason to believe he won’t dress against the Bears.
Justin Hunter – Hunter has been a healthy scratch in the Steelers first two regular season games. That streak is likely to continue Sunday against the Bears as the Steelers remain healthy at the wide receiver position heading into their Week 3 game. Hunter not being a special team asset hurts his chances of dressing weekly.
Brian Allen – With safety J.J. Wilcox now seemingly over the concussion he suffered in Week 1, Allen will likely find himself back on the inactive list against the Bears. The Steelers rookie fifth-round draft pick dressed in place of Wilcox against the Vikings last Sunday and played well during that contest on special teams. Even so, the Steelers are likely going to need a defensive back to sit this Sunday and Allen is the logical choice.
Stephon Tuitt – After missing the Steelers Week 2 game against the Vikings due to a left biceps injury that he suffered early in the team’s Week 1 game, Tuitt was able to return to the practice field this past week. Even so, Tuitt still ended the week listed as questionable on the team’s Friday injury report. Currently, Tuitt appears to be a game-time decision, however, he certainly left the door open for him sitting out against the Bears when he talked to the media on Friday. The Steelers might be wise to let Tuitt sit out this weekend in order to make sure he’s fully healthy for the team’s Week 4 road game against the Baltimore Ravens. Besides, backup defensive end Tyson Alualu has played well in place of Tuitt thus far. I’m going to guess that Tuitt will ultimately be inactive on Sunday and that defensive tackle Daniel McCullers will dress in his place as he did in Week 2. Obviously, if Tuitt is ultimately allowed to play against the Bears, McCullers will likely go back to the inactive list. I flipped a coin and it came up Tuitt being down Sunday. We’ll see what the verdict is 90 minutes before kickoff.