The Steelers head into today’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals without two of their starters on offense as JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion/knee) and James Conner (shoulder) are both inactive. Also inactive is Artie Burns, who suffered a knee injury against the Browns and hasn’t bounced back yet.
There is good news, though. While Smith-Schuster is out for the receiving game, Diontae Johnson was cleared by an independent neurological consultant on Saturday and is no longer in the concussion protocol and will play today. The same holds true for linebacker Ola Adenityi.
Mason Rudolph will have Johnson, James Washington, Johnny Holton, Tevin Jones and newly signed Deon Cain to go to in the passing game. Cain was signed last weekend and will see his first action in black and gold today. He said he already feels comfortable with the offense and is ready to go.
“I just want to get out there and play loose,” said Cain. “I am a football player. When it comes to football, it’s nothing. It’s concepts and stuff. It was easy just to pick up everything.
“(Mason and I) did a lot after practice getting the timing down. We talked on the side. He has confidence in me. I have confidence in him. My biggest thing was trying to get the timing down with the quarterback and making sure I am in the right spots at the right time. That is all I have been working on this week.”
With Conner out, the running game will be in the hands of Jaylen Samuels, Trey Edmunds, Benny Snell and newly signed Kerrith Whyte. Snell is excited to contribute and can’t wait to get on the field after missing the last three games with a knee injury.
“It was frustrating because I love football, I love my job, I love what I do every day,” said Snell. “Being away from my teammates and not being able to practice, it kind of hurt. It made me value how much I love the game, love my teammates. I love football.”
“I am very anxious (to play). I am ready. I am excited. I’m 110 percent baby. We’re going.”
Also inactive today are quarterback Paxton Lynch, linebacker Tuzar Skipper, who was signed on Tuesday, offensive lineman Chuks Okorafor and tight end Zach Gentry.
No. 5 QB Paxton Lynch
No. 19 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
No. 25 CB Artie Burns
No. 30 RB James Conner
No. 51 LB Tuzar Skipper
No. 76 OL Chukwuma Okorafor
No. 81 TE Zach Gentry
No. 7 QB Jake Dolegala
No. 18 WR A.J. Green
No. 20 CB Torry McTyer
No. 71 OT Andre Smith
No. 74 OG Fred Johnson
No. 89 TE Drew Sample
No. 90 DE Anthony Zettel