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Predicting the Steelers’ Week 16 inactive list vs. the Colts

The health of two players will determine if the Steelers elevate any players from their practice squad.

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are set the face off against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. With the Steelers having four players questionable for the game, the expectations of their availability could cause an elevation or two from the practice squad. The main two players to watch are Chris Boswell and Marcus Allen. Obviously the Steelers would need a kicker if Boswell is unable to go, and If Allen is unavailable the Steelers would be down to only 2 inside linebackers since Ulysees Gilbert went on the Reserve/Injured list on Friday.

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. If the Steelers elevate any players from their practice squad, their inactive list would increase by the same number of 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

Questionable:
LB Marcus Allen (shoulder)
OLB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi (shoulder)
K Chris Boswell (groin)
RB Anthony McFarland Jr. (illness)


Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for Week 16:

Definitely:

None

Most Likely:

QB Josh Dobbs- All season we were hoping to see Dobbs active in Week 17. The result of Week 16 may be a big factor in that decision.

LB Marcus Allen- Out of all the questionable players, Allen is the one who did not practice all week. While there is a chance that Steelers could have him active, not being available in practice is definitely working against him and I’m surprised he hasn’t been ruled out yet.

Possibly:

RB Anthony McFarland Jr.- Carrying a questionable status after missing Friday’s practice due to an illness, McFarland may not of even been active on game day regardless with the return of James Conner.

DT Isaiah Buggs- It seemed as of late Buggs is the last of the defensive linemen the Steelers have on the depth chart. But it could still switch.

DT Carlos Davis- I’m still not sure why the Steelers have waffled between Buggs and Davis, but so far Davis has been getting the helmet even more.

LB Cassius Marsh- Still new to the Steelers, Marsh probably ends up on the list if all other outside linebackers are healthy.

OLB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi- This issue is all about health. Only practicing in a limited capacity on Friday, it’s hard to say if Adeniyi will be able to go on Sunday.

K Chris Boswell- This injury is quite concerning for Steelers’ fans because if Boswell is out, the odds of going for a long field goal decreases significantly. But if Boswell may not be able to kick, it’s better to not have him active than to lose him partway through the game.

OL Derwin Gray- With the Steelers going back to nine offensive linemen who are all healthy, one of them will be without a helmet. It was Gray prior to Week 15, but getting 25% of the offensive snaps last week may have elevated him into the primary back-up role at guard.

OL Danny Isidora- Another newcomer to the Steelers, it’s hard to say what the Steelers think of Isadora yet and if they would rather have him active ahead of Derwin Gray.

S Antoine Brooks Jr.- Whether or not Brooks gets a helmet will ultimately depend on practice squad elevations and the health of others. If Marcus Allen can’t go, Brooks could be active to fill in as a hybrid linebacker to help boost the depth chart.

Unlikely:

After listing so many as possible, it would seem silly to more players here.


Projected Inactive List:

  1. Josh Dobbs
  2. Isaiah Buggs
  3. Anthony McFarland Jr.
  4. Danny Isidora
  5. Ola Adeniyi
  6. Marcus Allen*
  7. Chris Boswell*

To explain, I included two extra spots this week as I expect Tegray Scales and Matthew Wright to be elevated off the practice squad. If so, it will not be good news for Chris Boswell. I think Scales will be elevated even if Marcus Allen can’t go, but I find it hard to believe for the Steelers to have him active after not practicing and being such an inexperienced player. If Scales is elevated and Allen dresses, it would most likely be Brooks who loses the spot. Also, if Ola Adeniyi can go Sunday, Cassius Marsh would probably fill his inactive position. As usual, defensive line is a bit of a shot in the dark, but if it is Buggs for a third straight week I think he can move into the “most likely” category from here on out.

UPDATE:
As predicted, the Steelers added both Tegray Scales and Matthew Wright to the roster on Saturday. Wright is a practice squad elevation while Scales was signed to the 53-man roster with offensive lineman Derwin Gray being released. The new 6-man projection is as follows:

  1. Ola Adeniyi
  2. Marcus Allen
  3. Chris Boswell
  4. Josh Dobbs
  5. Isaiah Buggs
  6. Anthony McFarland Jr.

With the release of Gray, all offensive linemen will be active so Isidora was removed. All other projected players are the same. The Steelers could choose McFarland to be active in place of Antoine Brooks Jr. as one other possibility.

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