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Predicting the Steelers’ inactive list for Week 12 vs. the Bengals

The Steelers will get back most, and possibly all, of the defenders who missed Week 11

NFL: OCT 10 Broncos at Steelers Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to get back several key defenders for their next AFC North road matchups. With two players ruled out Friday and only 52 players on the active roster, the Steelers currently do not have enough offensive linemen available to dress the required eight in order to have 48 players active on game day. With this in mind, as well as only having four wide receivers, the Steelers are going to be making some moves on Saturday once again in order to have their roster ready for game day.

The rules in the 2021 season when it comes to the players active on game day have been carried over from last season. 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 (not sign them to the active roster), their inactive list would increase by the same number of players. With moves definitely coming on Saturday, we’ll look at the possibilities of how things could play out.

Game Status

G J.C. Hassenauer (pectoral)
TE Eric Ebron (knee)

CB Joe Haden (foot)

UPDATE: Haden has been downgraded to OUT for Sunday.

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for the Steelers against the Bengals on Sunday:


G J.C. Hasssenauer- There haven’t really been any reports on Hassenauer’s injury, but based on how quickly he was ruled out of the game last Sunday night heading to the IR is not out of the question.

TE Eric Ebron- As for Ebron, he is expected to miss some time and for him to head to the Reserve/Injured List is expected, especially after already signing tight end Kevin Rader to the active roster.

Most Likely:

QB Dwayne Haskins- The fact Haskin got a helmet at all this season isn’t ideal. When he’s not active, it means better things are happening for the Steelers.

LB Buddy Johnson- This really has turned into a red-shirt season for Johnson. With two other linebackers ahead of him on the depth chart who haven’t even seen a snap on defense, it would be hard for him to crack the lineup.

RB Anthony McFarland Jr.- Right now it is McFarland who is the odd man out of the running back room. I’m assuming it’s going to be him until the Steelers show otherwise.


CB Joe Haden- Since he’s questionable for the game, this is the category where I believe Haden belongs. Me being the optimist, I’m hopeful that he plays and think that he will unless the Steelers downgrade him on Saturday.

UPDATE: Haden has been downgraded to OUT for Sunday.

CB Ahkello Witherspoon- If Haden goes, a cornerback likely has to sit out and it has been Witherspoon who has been that player all season.

CB Justin Layne- With Ahkello Witherspoon getting a helmet last week and actually getting 10 snaps on defense, the Steelers could opt to not dress Layne as he did not see the field for defense. Are his 11 special team snaps worth it at this point? That is the ultimate question.


Any Offensive Lineman- The Steelers need another offensive lineman active. Unless they bring two to the roster before Sunday, there is no way one of them will be inactive.

Projected Inactive List:

  1. J.C. Hassenauer
  2. Eric Ebron
  3. Dwayne Haskins
  4. Buddy Johnson
  5. Anthony McFarland
  6. Ahkello Witherspoon Joe Haden

I believe the Steelers will add an offensive lineman and wide receiver to the active roster on Saturday. With one position available as a Covid replacement for Ray-Ray McCloud, I think the Steelers will either elevate a practice squad player or place one or both of the players ruled out on IR. If it is one of the players going on IR, then they will go off the list but the proper number of players needed are listed above at this time.

I also believe Joe Haden is going to play if at all possible. It’s not any insight that I have into the situation, merely just my gut feeling. So if he is active, I think it will still be Witherspoon who is not.

UPDATE: Haden has been downgraded to OUT for Sunday.

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