Predicting the Steelers inactive list for Week 11 vs. the Browns
The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into the 11th week of the 2023 and are kicking off two straight weeks going on the road in the AFC North against backup quarterbacks. Despite having nine games under their belt, the inactive list continues to evolve due to various injuries.
The rules in the 2023 season when it comes to the players active on game day have been carried over from the last three seasons with one additional caveat. As long as a team has eight offensive linemen who will be dressing for the game, they could have 48 players on their active roster rather than the 46 in past years. If the Steelers elevate any players from their practice squad, their inactive list would increase by the same number of players. The one change this season is one quarterback on the inactive list can be designated as the “third quarterback” and will be in uniform, but they can only enter if the other two quarterbacks are injured. The player must be on the 53-man roster and will be designated when the inactive list is released 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
With the Steelers having until 4 PM on Saturday to make any roster moves or practice squad elevations, the exact number for the list is technically subject to change. While there likely will be a need to elevate two players from the practice squad along wih filling two open spots on the 53-man roster, there are a number of possible moves that could occur for Week 11. Because of these potential moves, they will ultimately determine the number of players who will be inactive.
S Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring)
DL Montravius Adams (ankle)
S Keanu Neal (ribs)
TE Pat Freiermuth (hamstring)
Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for the Steelers against the Browns on Sunday:
S Minkah Fitzpatrick– This is the third-straight game Fitzpatrick will be out of the lineup. I want him back as soon as possible, but only if he’s healthy.
DL Montravius Adams– His misfortune for yet another week is Keeanu Benton‘s fortune.
S Keanu Neal– It’s not that Neal has been tearing it up this season, but having two starting safeties out is not a good thing.
QB Mason Rudolph– There are very few certain things in life: Death, taxes, and Mason Rudolph being designated as the third quarterback on game day.
OT Dylan Cook– Every week Cook is on the inactive list, it’s a good thing for the Steelers offensive line because it means everyone is healthy.
RB Godwin Igwebuike– The Steelers showed us last week that it was going to be McFarland over Igwebuike on game day. For now, he should be content with a spot on the 53-man roster even if it means he’s inactive.
CB Darius Rush– Last week Rush was a surprise inactive, and it’s also quite possible he gets the same treatment again this week but it would be much less surprising.
TE Rodney Williams– I’m not listing Pat Freiermuth anywhere here because he’s not on the 53-man roster despite being questionable. But if Freiermuth ends up back on the roster Saturday as expected, the only way I see the Steelers getting Rush active is by having Williams inactive. Otherwise, there’s just not a helmet anywhere else.
DL Armon Watts– Although he’s been inactive a couple times this season, with Adams out and Fehoko back on the practice squad, I think the Steelers go with all six healthy defensive linemen.
Projected Inactive List:
- Minkah Fitzpatrick
- Montravius Adams
- Keanu Neal
- Mason Rudolph
- Dylan Cook
- Godwin Igwebuike*
- Darius Rush*
The way the roster is currently configured, the only inactive players the Steelers would have to list are the three who have been ruled out since they only have 51 players. But with Pat Freiermuth likely coming back, and the Steelers most likely needing three players from the practice squad in the form of safety Trenton Thompson and linebackers Mykal Walker and Tariq Carpenter, the only question is which one comes up to the 53 while the other two are simply practice squad elevations.
For this reason, I’m listing seven names. Honestly, the top six are easy. The only decision comes down to the seventh spot between the extra cornerback in Darius Rush or a fourth tight end in Rodney Williams. While there’s no guarantee that Freiermuth will be back on the roster, if he’s not I think both players would get a helmet unless there’s a fourth practice squad guy called upon. But I don’t see anyone else the Steelers would bring up this week.
Ultimately I went with Darius Rush being inactive because of how much Rodney Williams contributes on special teams. But if it were the other way around I would not be shocked.
As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.