When the Steelers signed Donte Moncrief this offseason, the last thing anyone would have expected was the veteran receiver finding himself on the inactive list Week 3 of the season, and it not being injury related.
But that is just the case today as Moncrief is among the Steelers inactives as the team is set to take on the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.
Moncrief has struggled in the first two games with five drops and won’t be in uniform for today’s game.
“People go through tough times at times, and sometimes you’re afforded an opportunity to give them a chance to recover, whether it’s in-game or in practice settings, but other times you have to move on,” said Coach Mike Tomlin during an interview with Bob Labriola on Friday for steelers.com. “It’s just the nature of the business. He has been able to continue to be a part of us, and he’s working hard at practice to get his mojo back, but in the meanwhile we have expectations to meet and plays to make. So, we’re going with the guys who are consistently making them.”
Rookie Diontae Johnson, who was drafted in the third round, will make his first NFL start today with Moncrief sitting.
“I am just trying to do what I can, I am part of the offense right now, starting, continue to show the coaches I know what I am doing,” said Johnson. “They just put me in and told me I am starting from here on out. I have to keep executing and making plays and help the team win.”
Johnson saw increased playing time against Seattle last week when Moncrief was pulled at halftime.
“He knows the plays,” said JuJu Smith-Schuster. “He is showing his skillset, what he can do. Last game you saw what he could do. This game will be his first start, so I am super excited to see what he puts on film.”
Joining Moncrief on the inactive list today are fullback Roosevelt Nix and linebackers Vince Williams and Anthony Chickillo. With two linebackers down, Jayrone Elliott, who was signed on Sept. 10, will be active for the first time this season. Elliott was with the team for part of the preseason but released when the team cut down to the 53-man roster.
“I am real comfortable,” said Elliott. “I feel like when I get out there, I will be comfortable enough to know what I am doing. I am excited to put the black and gold back on and add to this organization. I am just trying to help our team get a win.”
Also inactive are offensive linemen Fred Johnson and Chuks Okorafor and rookie Isaiah Buggs.
No. 11 WR Donte Moncrief
No. 45 FB Roosevelt Nix
No. 56 LB Anthony Chickillo
No. 74 OL Fred Johnson
No. 76 OL Chukwuma Okorafor
No. 96 DE Isaiah Buggs
No. 98 LB Vince Williams
No. 3 QB C.J. Beatherd
No. 17 WR Jalen Hurd
No. 20 DB Jimmie Ward
No. 26 RB Tevin Coleman
No. 65 OT Sam Young
No. 74 OT Joe Staley
No. 77 DL Jullian Taylor