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Predicting the Steelers’ inactive list and roster moves for Week 18 vs. the Ravens

Even though they have a full roster, the Steelers once again don’t have enough offensive linemen for the game.

NFL: NOV 28 Steelers at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into their final game of the 2021 NFL regular season with a very narrow hope for a postseason birth. After taking care of business Monday night at Heinz field against the Cleveland Browns with a memorable sendoff of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers need another win on Sunday in Baltimore against the Ravens. With two players still on the Reserve/COVID-19 List and Kevin Dotson yet to be activated from IR, the Steelers are going to have some roster moves ahead of their game in order to get up to eight offensive linemen.

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

Out:
DT Isaiah Buggs (illness)

*NOTE: LB Buddy Johsnon (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured List on Friday after the injury report

Doubtful:
T Dan Moore Jr. (ankle)


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

Definitely:

DT Isaiah Buggs- Being ruled out after missing Friday’s practice with an illness, the biggest question in regards to Buggs being on the inactive list is if he’ll still be on the roster Sunday after the Steelers make their moves on Saturday.

Most Likely:

QB Dwayne Haskins- It should be 16 of 17 for Haskins on the season. That’s not passes, that’s times on the inactive list.

T Dan Moore Jr.- He’s listed as doubtful and the Steelers haven’t had a doubtful player in uniform for years. But, if the Steelers need another lineman he could at least dress but not start and only be called on in case of an emergency.

LB Tegray Scales- Signed to the Steelers roster last week, because he came from another teams practice squad Scales has to stick around. But with both starting inside linebackers off the Reserve/COVID-19 List, there’s no way Scales gets a helmet.

Possibly:

P Pressley Harvin III- The Steelers have two punters on the roster. They’re only going to dress one. The other ends up on the inactive list

P Corliss Waitman- Ditto everything from Pressley Harvin. It’s one or the other.

RB Anthony McFarland Jr.- Only being active for two games this season, I don’t see another one in McFarland’s sights as the Steelers barely use two running backs, let alone a fourth one who doesn’t play special teams other than returning kicks.

DT Carlos Davis- The Steelers have been going with five defensive lineman out of necessity the past couple weeks, so even with Buggs out the return of Wormley still has them at six. I see Davis is the last guy and may not get a helmet based on previous snap counts.

TE Kevin Rader- Trying to figure out who the other person could be inactive if they need one, Rader was a choice earlier this season and the Steelers went with two tight ends. So there is at least a chance the Steelers could do it again.

Unlikely:

Anybody else- Looking up and down the roster, unless the Steelers went with a different defensive lineman other than Davis, there’s not really anywhere else they can afford to have a player inactive.


Projected Inactive List:

  1. Isaiah Buggs
  2. Dwayne Haskins
  3. Tergay Scales
  4. Pressley Harvin III
  5. Anthony McFarland Jr.
  6. Carlos Davis*
  7. Dan Moore Jr.*

I put seven names on the list although I think the most there will be is six. I’ll explain that momentarily when I get to the expected moves. As for the order of everything, I think the top five players, assuming they’re still on the roster, will be inactive. The next two players in Davis (who I went with over Rader, but it could be the other way) and Moore depend on if the Steelers need someone else inactive and their moves in regards to the offensive line.

I also went with Corliss Waitman getting another week to punt and not having Pressley Harvin forced into action so he can continue to deal mentally with his family situation and come back to compete next season.

So these are the moves I think the Steelers will make…

First, I believe the Steelers will activate Kevin Dotson. They need another offensive lineman, so it makes sense. If they do, they will have to make a corresponding roster move in either releasing a player or putting someone on IR. I think the most likely candidate to go would be Isaiah Buggs. Players such as Corliss Waitman or Tegray Scales would still be paid because they were picked up off of practice squads and must be paid by the Steelers for three weeks or until the season is over. If the Steelers would prefer to have Buggs available to come into camp next year and want to keep his rights, they could decide that the paycheck for someone such as Tegray Scales is worth that money and simply release him and pay him anyway.

If Kevin Dotson does not come back, then it will be a practice squad elevation, most likely Rashaad Coward. The Steelers could also do another practice squad elevation of an offensive lineman in tackle Chaz Green. If so, this means that Dan Moore would be inactive.

So the movers coming on Saturday afternoon will tell the tale. It will either be Kevin Dotson and the removal of a player from the 53 man roster, or a practice squad lineman. If it’s only one of those moves, then Dan Moore Junior will be active. If the Steelers add two offensive linemen, either by adding Dotson and bringing up one player or by just bringing up two players from the practice squad, then Dan Moore will likely be on the inactive list.

UPDATE: As I predicted, Isaiah Buggs has reportedly been released, clearing the way for the Steelers to activate Kevin Dotson from IR.

The projected inactive list is adjusted as stated before with the other variable being another lineman added to replace Dan Moore Jr. The only thing which could throw a wrench in things is if Dotson is not activated.

UPDATE: It was Kendrick Green coming of the Reserve/COVID-19 List and not Kevin Dotson’s return in the roster move on Saturday afternoon. The other moves included the elevation of Rashaad Coward from the practice squad along with Joe Haden coming off the Reserve/COVID-19 List and James Washington going on the list.

By adding another lineman, it is most likely Dan Moore Jr. who is inactive, but having it be Kendrick Green due to his calf and lack of practice time is not out of the question.

So the revised projected inactive list is as follows:

Isaiah Buggs

  1. Dwayne Haskins
  2. Tergay Scales
  3. Pressley Harvin III
  4. Anthony McFarland Jr.
  5. Carlos Davis
  6. Dan Moore Jr.

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