The Steelers announced their inactives for today's game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, and as we knew on Friday when the status report for the game was released, at least two starters would be sidelined, Marcus Gilbert and T.J. Watt. But when the inactives came out on Sunday morning, Stephon Tuitt was also on the list.
Tuitt suffered a biceps injury against the Cleveland Browns in the season opener, and missed the Vikings game last week. Tuitt practiced on Thursday and Friday, but was listed as questionable for the game.
Gilbert suffered a hamstring injury against the Vikings, and with him out the versatile Chris Hubbard will likely be called upon to step in at right tackle.
"I'm extremely confident in his abilities, whether it's the multiple offensive line positions that he plays, right and left tackle," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "He's also center-capable. You've seen that already this preseason, and obviously the work that he does for us as a situational tight end, it's just good to have a versatile guy like Hubb available to us."
Last week against the Vikings Hubbard stepped in at left tackle for Alejandro Villanueva, who was battling an illness, and when Gilbert injured his hamstring later in the game, he took the snaps at right tackle.
"I am going to prepare," said Hubbard. "They have big guys up front, they are good on the edge. We have to be ready for them. I get myself prepared every week, it doesn't matter if it's left or right."
Watt injured his groin against the Vikings, and despite being limited in practice to start the week on Wednesday, he missed by Thursday and Friday's practices.
With Watt out, Anthony Chickillo should step in as the starter. Last week Chickillo came in when Watt left the game, and responded with another strong effort.
"Playing outside linebacker requires some athletic ability and rush ability and Chick has got that," said defensive coordinator Keith Butler. "He realized he had to lose some weight when he got here so he can get the mobility to play the position and he's done what he needs to get himself into shape to play. He knew that when he got here, what he had to do to be able to get on the field. He's done whatever he's needed to do and he's lost weight.
"He's learned coverages, he's learned the position and he does not make a whole lot of mental mistakes. That's helped him out along the way."
Also inactive for today's game are quarterback Joshua Dobbs and receiver Justin Hunter, as well as tackle Jerald Hawkins, who is still batting an ankle injury. The Steelers depth on the offensive line will come from Matt Feiler, a backup guard who can also play tackle, and B.J. Finney, who can play guard or center. Rookie cornerback Brian Allen is also inactive.
Linebacker L.J. Fort, who was signed from the practice squad on Saturday, is active for the game.
Here are the players who will be inactive when the Steelers take on the Bears. Steelers Inactives
No. 5 QB Joshua Dobbs
No. 11 WR Justin Hunter
No. 29 CB Brian Allen
No. 65 OT Jerald Hawkins
No. 77 OT Marcus Gilbert
No. 90 LB T.J. Watt
No. 91 DE Stephon Tuitt
No. 6 QB Mark Sanchez
No. 26 SS Deon Bush
No. 33 RB Taquan Mizzell
No. 44 LB Nick Kwiatkoski
No. 71 OL Josh Sitton
No. 73 DT John Jenkins
No. 85 TE Daniel Brown