PITTSBURGH — Changes to the defense headlined the Ravens’ inactive list prior to Sunday’s AFC North showdown with Pittsburgh.
Ranked 27th in total defense after allowing a total of 73 points and over 1,000 yards in its two-game losing streak, Baltimore deactivated inside linebacker Kenny Young and cornerback Anthony Averett despite the two serving as starters in Week 4 and over much of the first quarter of the season. Averett had lost playing time to cornerback Maurice Canady in each of the last two games while Young sits after the Ravens signed veteran inside linebackers Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort earlier in the week.
During pre-game warmups, Bynes was lining up as the starter next to Onwuasor, a remarkable development considering he last played in an NFL game last November and hadn’t been with a team since being released by Arizona in early March. Bynes, 30, registered 40 starts over his first eight seasons.
It’s no secret the coaching staff has been displeased with the performance of the inside linebackers, and fellow second-year player Chris Board is a better special-teams player than Young, explaining why he was active over the 2018 fourth-round pick. Averett being inactive means the Ravens have just five true cornerbacks available for Sunday’s game, a list that includes starters Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr, Canady, and special-teams contributors Cyrus Jones and Justin Bethel.
Center Matt Skura (knee) and defensive tackle Brandon Williams (knee) are both active and will play after missing practice time this week and being listed as questionable on the final injury report. Jones is also active despite showing up as questionable on the injury report with a foot issue on Friday.
Wanting extra depth with Williams not 100 percent, the Ravens elevated defensive lineman Zach Sieler to the 53-man roster from the practice squad Saturday. He will be part of the rotation including Williams, Michael Pierce, Chris Wormley, and Patrick Ricard. Rookie Daylon Mack played only nine snaps in his NFL debut last week and was deactivated for Week 5.
After some substantial injury questions throughout the week, the Steelers will have the services of top wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe) and starting tight end Vance McDonald (shoulder). McDonald missed Pittsburgh’s Week 4 win over Cincinnati while Smith-Schuster re-injured his toe against the Bengals.
These teams are meeting for the 47th time in the regular season with the Steelers leading 25-21, but the teams are 4-4 over the last four seasons. Including the playoffs, the Ravens are 12-13 against Pittsburgh in the John Harbaugh era.
The Weather.com forecast in Pittsburgh calls for cloudy skies and temperatures reaching the low 70s with the chance of some afternoon showers and winds 10 to 15 miles per hour.
Walt Anderson is the referee Sunday’s game.
The Ravens are wearing white jerseys with purple pants while Pittsburgh dons its black tops with yellow pants.
Here are Sunday’s inactives:
ILB Kenny Young
CB Anthony Averett
QB Trace McSorley
CB Jimmy Smith
WR Jaleel Scott
G Ben Powers
DT Daylon Mack
WR Donte Moncrief
FB Roosevelt Nix
OLB Anthony Chickillo
G Fred Johnson
OT Chukwuma Okorafor
TE Zach Gentry
DE Isaiah Buggs