Going into tonight’s game the Steelers already knew they would be without Vince Williams, Anthony Chickillo and Roosevelt Nix, all ruled out on Saturday because of injuries.
It became official tonight they will also be without tight end Vance McDonald, who was listed as doubtful with a shoulder injury but is inactive as the Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.
With McDonald out, newly acquired tight end Nick Vannett will be relied on heavily and he spent the past week preparing for whatever is asked of him. McDonald missed practice all week, giving Vannett plenty of reps that will benefit him.
“That is the easiest way for me to learn is be able to physically do the reps, run through it, go through my assignment rather than just read off a piece of paper,” said Vannett. “I always learn better that way. It’s nice I was getting so many reps, but at the same time I have to make sure I am taking care of my body because I am getting so many reps.”
Another player who should see plenty of action is rookie tight end Zach Gentry. Gentry played last week against San Francisco after McDonald and Xavier Grimble, now on the reserved/injured list, left the game. Gentry got work in practice this week as well, and his teammates saw growth in him.
“Zach has sort of matured a lot this week,” said McDonald. “His attitude, his mindset. And I think being in live action last week has helped him realize what it takes and stuff. It’s been cool to see that from him this week.”
Gentry agreed that being more active in practice and the game plan was a huge benefit.
“It’s one thing to have an idea you might be a part of the game plan, like I have previous weeks,” said Gentry. “It’s another thing when I know I am absolutely going to be a part of the system and contributing so it forced me to mature a lot more.
“It’s was great getting the reps. It’s prepared me to do my job against multiple different looks. I am feeling more comfortable every day.”
Also inactive tonight are offensive linemen Fred Johnson and Chuks Okorafor and defensive end Isaiah Buggs.
No. 45 FB Roosevelt Nix
No. 56 LB Anthony Chickillo
No. 74 OL Fred Johnson
No. 76 OL Chukwuma Okorafor
No. 89 TE Vance McDonald
No. 96 DE Isaiah Buggs
No. 98 LB Vince Williams
No. 7 QB Jake Dolegala
No. 18 WR A.J. Green
No. 32 RB Trayveon Williams
No. 58 DE Carl Lawson
No. 72 DE Kerry Wynn
No. 77 OT Cordy Glenn
No. 98 DT Ryan Glasgow