The injury situation and available players for the Pittsburgh Steelers for Week 14 is very similar to what it has been over the last several weeks. While it is good from a defensive standpoint as no current players are injured, it is frustrating on the offense that two players who were 2018 Pro Bowlers have been unavailable the last three weeks. Because of this consistency for the first time in a while, there very well could only be one difference in the inactive list against the Cardinals then what the Steelers have had over the last two games.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee)
RB James Conner (shoulder)
Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for Week 14:
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster- in an interview this week, Smith-Schuster seems to think his timeline for return will be towards the end of the season.
RB James Conner- it has now been five straight practices where Conner has been participating in a limited fashion. He’s trying to stay in shape, but one bad hit to his shoulder could end his season.
QB Paxton Lynch- it didn’t take long for some people to ask me when the Steelers are going to start Lynch. Since he’s still not even their back-up option, he will continue to not get a helmet.
OT Chukwuma Okorafor- another week, another day off for Chuks. It’s hard to believe he was a starter the last time he was in uniform.
TE Zach Gentry- it’s basically a red shirt season for Gentry as he collects active roster paychecks. he has now been inactive for a very long stretch.
LB Tuzar Skipper- as happy as Steelers’ fans are that Skipper is back on the roster, he isn’t getting the chance to get onto the field unless there is an injury.
CB Justin Layne- he has played very well on special teams when given the opportunity, particularly as a gunner. But with Artie Burns coming back from his injury, chances are it will be only one of these two players active and not both.
CB Artie Burns- as mentioned above, Burns has pretty much been used for special teams this season. Justin Layne has done a nice job filling in when given the opportunity, but right now Burns would be the better option at corner should he be needed in an emergency situation.
LB Robert Spillane- taking the special team spot which Tuzar Skipper could earn, Spillane hasn’t done anything to cause doubt with his status for being active on Sunday.
Projected Inactive List:
- JuJu Smith-Scuster
- James Conner
- Paxton Lynch
- Zach Gentry
- Chuks Okorafor
- Tuzar Skipper
- Justin Layne
I feel the top six are locked in as they have made up this list over the last two weeks. With Artie Burns coming back, it’s not completely beyond the realm of possibilities for the Steelers make the switch to Justin Layne. I’m just not going to believe it until I see it, so Burns is in and Layne is out. The one other possible yet most surprising move could be for both Layne and Burns to be active in favor of someone like Robert Spillane.
As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.