Predicting the Steelers inactive list for Week 7 vs. the Rams
The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into the seventh week of the 2023 season with another trip out west. Coming off the bye week, the Steelers were able to get a number of players healthy although they did suffer one setback during practice this week.
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 isn’t really a need to elevate any players from the practice squad, there has already been early roster moves to add Diontae Johnson back to the 53-man roster from the Reserve/Injured Designated to Return List and place Pat Freiermuth on the Reserve/Injured List (IR). Unless the Steelers announce another move, they only have 52 players on the roster and will only need four players on the inactive list.
TE Pat Freiermuth (hamstring)- Since placed on IR and will not appear on the list.
Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for the Steelers against the Rams on Sunday:
None– Since Frieirmuth suffered a setback during practice this week and went on IR, there are no other players who have been ruled out.
QB Mason Rudolph– He’s still the third quarterback so he’ll have a nice little designation when it is announced on Sunday.
OT Dylan Cook– After getting to dress and stand on the sidelines for two weeks, Cook will likely be back on the inactive list.
RB Godwin Igwebuike– The Steelers did not have Anthony McFarland return, so Igwebuike is still on the roster. Was there a reason he was kept for another week where they are giving him a shot on game day after being inactive for three games?
DL Breiden Fehoko– Finally getting a helmet against the Ravens, Fehoko did not play a snap of any type. For that reason, he’s the front runner to be the defensive lineman back to being inactive if the Steelers need to go that route. But since they only need four players on the inactive list, he could get the last helmet.
CB Darius Rush– He just joined the Steelers this week, so I don’t see Rush having the opportunity to take someone else’s helmet in the secondary. But much like Fehoko, he could be the recipient since there is one more available.
None– The list really does come down to the players listed above. A different choice would be a surprise.
Projected Inactive List:
- Mason Rudolph
- Dylan Cook
- Godwin Igwebuike
- Darius Rush
I thought this list would be a slam dunk if the Steelers made the moves expected to come on Saturday. In fact, the article was already written. But with the moves coming early and not what I was planning, a rewrite just prior to publishing had to occur.
The return of Diontae Johnson and the release of Gunner Olszewski was exactly what I expecting. I did not expect Freiermuth to go on IR, but if he was going to miss several weeks it made sense to have him miss this game as one of the four. The move that I was expecting was Anthony McFarland to also return and Godwin Igwebuike to no longer be on the 53. But McFarland has not been announced yet, and even if he was there is an open spot on the roster for him.
So who are going to be the four inactive players Sunday afternoon? Mason Rudolph and Dylan Cook are two obvious choices. I feel out of the final three of Godwin Igwebuike, Breiden Fehoko, and Darius Rush, one of them will get a helmet this week. It really could be any of these three players as I don’t see that the Steelers really need any one of them over the other for the game. While I am tempted to have Igwebuike active to give the Steelers a third running back and give an explanation as to why McFarland was not brought back, I’m going to go with the only player of the three who has been active this year in Breiden Fehoko to get the last helmet. But it’s really a tossup between them. Darius Rush can’t be completely ruled out, but only having a couple practices doesn’t bode well for him being thrown into the mix.
As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.