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Predicting the Steelers’ Week 9 inactive list vs. the Cowboys

The Steelers may still have some roster moves on Saturday before they ultimately decide on who is active in Dallas.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading to Arlington, Texas to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. While dealing with some nagging injuries, the Steelers are hoping to get through the last game of their three-game road stretch as well as get some players healthy following the game. While there is still the possibility of players being elevated off the practice squad, it’s not as clear-cut this week and there is a good chance the Steelers don’t pull someone up. But with newly acquired linebacker Avery Williams eligible to join the team on Saturday, there very well could be a roster move.

There are new rules in 2020 when it comes to the players active on game day. As long as a team has eight offensive lineman who will be dressing for the game, they could have 48 players on their active roster rather than the 46 in previous seasons. So unless the Steelers elevate any players from their practice squad, there inactive list should only be five players.

NOTE: If there is a change to the projected number of inactive players after the release of the projected inactives, it will be updated to reflect the move.

Game Status

DT Tyson Alualu

OL Stefen Wisniewski
CB Mike Hilton

TE Vance McDonald

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for Week 9:


DT Tyson Alualu- There was little surprise in seeing Alualu ruled out for this game on Friday. While it was good news it was only a sprained MCL and he likely shouldn’t have to go on the Reserve/Injured List, thinking the Steelers nose tackle wouldn’t miss at least one game would have been foolish.

Most Likely:

OL Stefen Wisniewski- It’s surprising the Steelers brought back and started the clock on Wisniewski in October as they were forced to bring him off of the injured reserve on Wednesday. But Wisniewski wasn’t able to practice until Friday and it was on a limited basis, so his doubtful status has it almost certain he will not dress Sunday.

CB Mike Hilton- Something encouraging with Mike Hilton this past week was he did practice each day although he was limited each time. What is discouraging is he went from questionable in Week 8 to doubtful in Week 9. Hilton will sit again this week and hopefully will be ready to go soon.

QB Josh Dobbs- Until something happens with a quarterback, this is where Dobbs stays. Right now he should just be happy to be back with the Steelers as Ben Roethlisberger seems to be happy he is there to throw out ideas on the sidelines.


TE Vance McDonald- Ending up on the injury report Friday after missing with an illness, McDonald is questionable for the game. Chances are McDonald’s status will be known Saturday as he will either be fine and travel with the team or will not be able to join them in Dallas and be ruled out.

TE Zach Gentry- Rather than being “most likely,” Gentry moves up to the “possible” category this week as it all comes down to Vance McDonald. If McDonald’s is out, Gentry is in.

OT Derwin Gray- The reason Gray is bumped down to being “possible” on the list is there is a good chance he will not be on the Steelers’ 53-man roster come game time. The return of Stefen Wisniewski came at a cost of an inside linebacker, so if Avery Williamson is activated from the commissioners exempt list on Saturday, look for Gray to be released and hopefully clear waivers to rejoin the practice squad.


DT Carlos Davis- It’s with near certainty Steelers fans will get to see their first action of the Steeler seventh-round draft pick from the 2020 NFL draft. The only way Davis doesn’t get a helmet this week is if the Steelers decided to promote Calvin Taylor Jr. from the practice squad instead. But I find that scenario highly unlikely.

Projected Inactive List:

  1. Tyson Alualu
  2. Stefen Wisniewski
  3. Mike Hilton
  4. Josh Dobbs
  5. Zach Gentry

This projection is assuming several things. First, it’s assuming there is no elevation from the practice squad. Second, is assuming Avery Williamson joins the team and Derwin Gray is released. Finally, I am guessing Vance McDonald is able to play. If all three of these things happen, this should be the inactive list.

UPDATE: After several roster moves by the Steelers, the inactive list will look much different. Derwin Gray was not released by the Steelers as instead it was Stefen Wisniewski. Additionally, the Steelers released running back Trey Edmunds and added linebacker Jayrone Elliott. Finally, the Steelers elevated Antoine Brooks Jr. from the practice squad again for Week 9.

Stefen Wisniewski

  1. Tyson Alualu
  2. Mike Hilton
  3. Josh Dobbs
  4. Zach Gentry
  5. Derwin Gray
  6. Avery Williamson

When it comes to the final spot, I have no idea what the Steelers are thinking. I don’t know if they’re going to not play Williamson because he hasn’t practiced or what the plan is. The elevation of Brooks is quite curious as the last inactive spots could really be anyone.

As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.