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Predicting the Steelers’ inactive list for Week 5 vs. the Bills

The Steelers inactive list is likely to look at least a little different this week.

NFL: New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are venturing out on the road again to travel to Buffalo to face the Bills. As the season rolls on, the true nature of the depth chart has come much more into focus. But for Week 5, trying to predict who the Steelers will have on their inactive list on Sunday might not be as cut and dry as the previous four weeks. To add another wrinkle into things is there is likely to be additional moves by 4 PM on Saturday.

The rules in the 2022 season when it comes to the players active on game day have been carried over from the last two seasons. 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.

Game Status

CB Ahkello Witherspoon: OUT (hamstring)
CB Cam Sutton: Questionable (groin/hamstring)
S Terrell Edmunds: Questionable (concussion)

UPDATE: Terrell Edmunds have since been downgraded to OUT for Sunday’s game.

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


CB Ahkello Witherspoon- It’s two weeks in a row with Witherspoon ruled out. Hopefully he can return soon or heading to the Reserve/Injured List (IR) would have been a better option.

Most Likely:

QB Mason Rudolph- Big changes happened at the quarterback position this week, but according to Coach Tomlin it didn’t affect the third option.

G Kendrick Green- The offensive line is coming along, and part of the reason might be because who isn’t even wearing a helmet. Did I just go there?

LB Mark Robinson- The rookie seventh-round pick will continue to collect a game check while waiting for his opportunity.


S Terrell Edmunds- Still being limited on Friday, it’s unclear whether or not Edmunds will come out of the concussion protocol to play on Sunday. Look for news coming late Saturday afternoon as he will likely either be out of the protocol and his status removed or downgraded to out.

DT Isaiahh Loudermilk- There’s still a chance that Loudermilk could get an opportunity on the defensive line sooner than later, but I don’t have a specific player to put on this list who he would replace.

OLB David Anenih- For the fourth-straight week, this will come down to a practice squad elevation on Saturday. If there is one at outside linebacker, then Anenih will be inactive. If not, he would likely get a chance.

UPDATE: The Steelers are reportedly signing Ryan Anderson to the 53-man roster, likely taking the spot from Anenih.

WR Gunner Olszewski- Steven Sims saying he was getting his opportunity this week, someone else has to go on the inactive list. If Sims is the returner, it would make sense that the person whose job he took would be inactive. But that’s not necessarily cut and dry.

TE Conner Heyward- There could be another option for the spot to be taken by Sims at the expense of the younger Heyward brother. Connor has only played 12 snaps on offense all season which is less than half of that of Gunner O. Is his one offensive snap last week enough to earn him a helmet, or is it really his 75 special team snaps so far this season that would keep Heyward active?


WR Steven Sims- Early in the week Sims told reporters he would be getting his opportunity to return kicks this week. Unless it was a misunderstanding and he only meant having a shot to earn the job and practice, it looks as if he will be active on Sunday for the first time in 2022.

CB Cam Sutton- Despite having a questionable status, Cam Sutton was confident after practice that he would be playing Sunday. So there’s still the possibility he won’t, but I am leaning heavily towards him taking the field.

Projected Inactive List:

  1. Ahkello Witherspoon
  2. Mason Rudolph
  3. Kendrick Green
  4. Isaiahh Loudermilk
  5. Mark Robinson
  6. Connor Heyward*

I’m already assuming at least one practice by elevation but there will likely be two. Exactly who is brought up will determine more of the inactive list and I’ll do a new projection at that time. If it’s an outside linebacker again, then David Anenih would likely be inactive. But the Steelers might not have that luxury this week. If they elevate a safety, it means Terrell Edmunds is likely out. I also expect a corner to be in the mix with Witherspoon ruled out.

There is also the possibility of other roster moves more than practice squad elevations. The Steelers could bring Calvin Austin III back onto the roster, but being a rookie and only having one week of practice I assume they would probably wait at least another week before they do so, especially since they’re going to have to make a decision in regards to the inactive list at wide receiver due to the expected switch to Steven Sims as a kick returner. There is also still the possibility of Ahkello Witherspoon going on IR, but that move would have made much more sense last week to give him an earlier chance to return.

As for the players actually on the list, it is basically the same as last week with the exception of Steven Sims. The big question is who loses their helmet in his place, assuming a player is elevated from the practice squad. If there isn’t an elevation the Steelers would be going into the game with an extra receiver at the expense of a cornerback. For some reason, I just have a feeling that the Steelers would want to have Gunner Olszewski available in case Sims has a similar problem, and I believe Connor Heyward’s contributions on special teams could be replaced. Ultimately, Connor Heyward hasn’t made an impact on offense so the Steelers might try a week with only two tight ends. It’s a longshot, but I’m tired of this being the same old list and want to think outside the box.

UPDATE: With Terrell Edmunds now downgraded to OUT, here is the updated list:

  1. Ahkello Witherspoon
  2. Terrell Edmunds
  3. Mason Rudolph
  4. Kendrick Green
  5. Mark Robinson
  6. Isaiahh Loudermilk*
  7. Connor Heyward*

With the Steelers now down another member of the secondary, and Cam Sutton technically questionable for the game, they have to bring up at least one, if not two players in the secondary from the practice squad. Whether it be standard elevations or having to make a roster move, the Steelers will likely bring up a cornerback and/or a safety. Last week it was Josh Jackson at cornerback who is likely to be elevated again. The Steelers options at safety are either Scott Nelson or, more likely, Elijah Riley. If both of these moves are made, The Steelers bringing up a different outside linebacker in place of David Anenih would not be available, hence why the Steelers are reportedly signing Ryan Anderson to the 53-man roster.

Since the elevations are not yet official, I have my two players indicated who I think would receive a helmet. But in all honesty, I’d be shocked if Josh Jackson and Elijah Riley are not in uniform for the Steelers on Sunday.

UPDATE: The two practice squad elevations are as follows expected and now official, so those 7 players are still the prediction.

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