The Pittsburgh Steelers have their first game of the 2021 NFL season under their belt and are ready to continue the season at Heinz Field. After getting a feel for the inactive list last week, the nature of the depth chart has shown us how things may shake out early in the season. The biggest factors now are injuries and players with a questionable status.
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, their inactive list would increase by the same number of players. Until the Steelers announce an elevation, we will assume it is only five players but will adjust the projection if necessary.
DT Carlos Davis (knee)
CB Joe Haden (groin)
LB Devin Bush (groin)
TE Zach Gentry (ankle)
Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for the Steelers against the Raiders on Sunday:
DT Carlos Davis- Missing the last two days of practice this week, Davis was ruled out on Friday.
QB Dwayne Haskins- Having Haskins on this list every week is a good thing for the Steelers. If he’s not, things are not going well.
G Rashaad Coward- With the Steelers having Coward inactive last week, it appears he’ll be the offensive lineman on the sidelines unless there’s an injury or a change in the roster.
CB Joe Haden- He was listed as questionable on Friday, so there’s a possibility Joe Haden is inactive on Sunday. It would be nice if the Steelers updated the list on Saturday again this week to remove his status.
LB Devin Bush- Ditto everything about Joe Haden.
TE- Zach Gentry- Further down the depth chart, the availability of Gentry will most likely be known on Saturday. If the Steelers think Gentry won’t be able to go, they will likely elevate Kevin Rader from the practice squad.
LB Buddy Johnson- It was believed Johnson was inactive last week for about nine minutes as it was incorrectly reported because of a last second switch. With no status for Spillane, chances are Johnson goes back on the list.
CB Ahkello Witherspoon- The answer for Week 1 was Witherspoon wasn’t the best option yet for the Steelers to utilize him, and we’re not sure when that time will be.
CB Arthur Maulet/Justin Layne- If Witherspoon gets the helmet, there’s got to be someone else who does not. If and when that is the case, it’s likely either Layne or Maulet who he replaces.
G B.J. Finney- There’s a chance the Steelers could change up their philosophy of which lineman they have active, but I’m going to assume they are stuck in their ways until they show otherwise.
DT Isaiahh Loudermilk- With Carlos Davis out, Loudermilk should be the recipient of the additional helmet UNLESS the Steelers elevate Henry Mondeaux from the practice squad and make Loudermilk an additional inactive.
Projected Inactive List:
- Carlos Davis
- Dwayne Haskins
- Rashaad Coward
- Buddy Johnson
- Ahkello Witherspoon
As is now the case in the NFL, this list is depending on no practice squad elevations. I’m playing the role of optimist and all the questionable players will be available. Therefore, it will be three names that are the same as last week with Davis replacing Loudermilk and Johnson replacing Spillane. If Joe Haden can’t go I assume Witherspoon would get the helmet, likewise it would be Johnson in place of Bush. As stated before, If Gentry is out I look for a Kevin Rader elevation.
As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.