It’s the final week of the NFL regular season and one would think the inactive list would pretty much fall into place accordingly. But with Mason Rudolph going on injured reserve and being replaced by an offensive lineman, there seems to be more players who have been inactive recently than spots remaining on the list. So beyond the two players who have already been ruled out, who else will not get a helmet on Sunday?
C Maurkice Pouncey (knee)
RB James Conner (quad)
Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for Week 17:
C Maurkice Pouncey- he was ruled out early in the week, and with the Steelers promoting center J.C. Hassenauer instead of a third quarterback it was a big sign that Pouncey was not going to play.
RB James Conner- there was hope early in the week that Conner would be able to go, but he was unable to step on the practice field in any capacity this week and will miss his sixth game of the season
LB Tuzar Skipper- if it were not for other positions having to go shorthanded, Skipper might have been a consideration strictly for his special teams play. But skimping on another defensive positions for a 10th linebacker just doesn’t seem to make sense.
OT Chukwuma Okorafor- with the addition of another offensive lineman when Mason Rudolph went on IR, it means Chuks still will be out since the Steelers needed more depth for the interior.
TE Zach Gentry- even though the Steelers carried three tight ends all last season on the active roster, they just haven’t used the position in the passing game nearly as much in 2019 to justify having Gentry active.
CB Artie Burns- he hasn’t been active since returning from injury, but Burns could be the choice to get a helmet with an extra player being active compared to previous weeks.
WR Amara Darboh- I don’t know if it makes sense to have a sixth wide receiver active on game day, but it would also be nice to know what Darboh brings to the receiver’s room.
S Marcus Allen- he was inactive last week after being promoted to the 53-man roster, but the Steelers going with just three safeties might not be a move they would like to make very often.
DL Isaiah Buggs- it really makes no sense to have Buggs inactive since it’s not a dire need like several weeks ago.
Projected Inactive List:
- Maurkice Pouncey
- James Conner
- Chuks Okorafor
- Zach Gentry
- Tuzar Skipper
- Artie Burns
- Amara Darboh
To me, I feel it really comes down to Marcus Allen or Artie Burns. Having the extra player in the secondary might be beneficial, so the Steelers will have to decide if they want to not skimp at safety or if they would like to see what Burns could do one last time. While both starting cornerbacks did miss a day of practice this past week, I still went with Burns being inactive since it seems the Steelers have pretty much decided he isn’t going to be used.
As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.