Predicting the Steelers inactive list for Week 9 vs. the Titans
The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into the last week of the first half of the 2023 NFL season and have the second of their three-game home stand ahead of them on a short week. Despite having seven 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 Thursday to make any roster moves or practice squad elevations, the exact number for the list is technically subject to change. While there likely isn’t a need to elevate a player from the practice squad, there are a number of possible moves that could occur for Week 9. The Steelers are back up to 53 players on the roster, so they will have five players inactive if no other roster moves are made.
S Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring)
CB Levi Wallace (foot)
Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for the Steelers against the Titans on Thursday night:
S Minkah Fitzpatrick– Being ruled out, the only way Fitzpatrick‘s name is not on this list is if the unfortunate occurs and he goes on the Reserve/Injured List (IR).
QB Mason Rudolph– It was just a few days ago it looked like Rudolph could be the backup. But with Kenny Pickett cleared to play, Rudolph once again gets the third QB designation.
OT Dylan Cook– The offensive line is healthy, they just aren’t playing all that great. But unless the Steelers want to make a change, Cook is the last guy on the death chart.
DL Breiden Fehoko– With Cam Heyward returning, Fehoko should be more concerned about keeping his spot on the 53 rather than being active. As the eighth player on the depth chart, there is no chance the Steelers go with that many defensive lineman.
CB Darius Rush– He got a helmet last week because Wallace was down. If everyone is playing, I don’t see Rush in uniform.
CB Levi Wallace– He missed last week and was limited in the Steelers only practice before this game. It really is questionable if Wallace will be active.
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk or Armon Watts– The Steelers could go back to going with only six defensive linemen and have two inactive. I don’t know which one it would be as Watts was inactive in Week 1 but Loudermilk saw the fewest snaps by far in Week 8. More than likely both will get a helmet.
Projected Inactive List:
- Minkah Fitzpatrick
- Mason Rudolph
- Dylan Cook
- Breiden Fehoko
- Levi Wallace
I am concerned about Fitzpatrick landing on IR. If he does, I don’t know if the Steelers make a corresponding roster move or just go with 52 players again. They could bring back McFarland, but then that means it could be him or Igwebuike getting a helmet. This is so speculatory I didn’t even note it in the descriptions above. The Steelers don’t have to activate McFarland for this game but will have to do so over the weekend.
Another possibility is if the Steelers bring up a safety from the practice squad. Unfortunately, I don’t know that their options are great there. The Steelers already have two players at safety playing in every game this year but mainly just on special teams with Miles Killebrew and Elijah Riley. So bringing up another safety from the practice squad would not be mandatory but still remains a possibility.
I’m going with Levi Wallace missing the game again since he didn’t practice fully on Wednesday. If not, that I think the last spot is Darius Rush.
Other than all the speculations of the Steelers potentially making a move by 4 PM, the only question has to do with which cornerback is the last spot. If the Steelers do like last week and don’t make a 4 PM move, especially since they announced early that Cam Heyward was back on the roster, that I think this is what it really comes down to.
As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.