The Pittsburgh Steelers are kicking off the 2022 NFL preseason Saturday night at 7 PM. With no injury reports required or any limitations on the numbers of players from the 90-man roster who can take the field during the preseason, exactly which members of the Steelers will play or not is still to be determined.
While head coach Mike Tomlin did not rule out any players during his press conference on Thursday, there is likely a somewhat lengthy list of who will not appear Saturday night at Acrisure Stadium. With only three preseason games, there isn’t a historical template as to how the Steelers will handle which players will see the field. The following list is players who I project will not appear in the game. They are broken into two categories of limited by injury (players who have missed time and playing may not be worth it), and why take the risk (players who the coaches feel may not need to see any time).
Here are the possibilities of who won’t see the field Saturday night:
Limited by Injury:
RB Najee Harris- Working his way back from having his foot stepped on almost two weeks ago, there’s no reason to risk anything with the Steelers Pro Bowl running back in the first preseason game.
RB Benny Snell Jr.- After leaving practice earlier this week with his knee wrapped, no report has been given on Snell and if he’s available but he likely is going to miss this one.
WR Diontae Johnson- A hip flexor is not something to take lightly, so there’s a little upside in putting Johnson on the field Saturday night.
WR Chase Claypool- Not practicing Thursday was a big indication Claypool is still recovering from a shoulder injury.
FB Derek Watt- I don’t even know what the injury is, but Watt has not been practicing this week so it’s unlikely he’ll see the field.
OLB Alex Highsmith- Dealing with a rib injury, Highsmith doesn’t need to rush back for this one.
TE Pat Freiermuth- Although he’s been working his way back with his hamstring injury, Freiermuth might not be 100% and anything less should hold him out.
TE Zach Gentry- This is another player who’s injury I’m not sure what’s going on, but being limited in the last practice open to the public will likely hold him out.
G Kevin Dotson- It’s unclear at this time the severity of Dotson’s ankle injury, but he hasn’t practiced for a while and is a sure shot to not play Saturday.
LB Marcus Allen- I don’t even know if there’s been any reports on Allen he’s been out for so long. For all I know he came back to no fanfare. But it sounds more likely that he’s still injured and not playing.
DT Montravius Adams- Carted off the field on Wednesday, there was no update on Adams given. But the fact they had to use the cart makes his likelihood for Saturday very low.
Why take the risk:
DT Cam Heyward- The longest tenured member of the Steelers, it’s not like they don’t know what they have in Cam Heyward.
S Minkah Fitzpatrick- After missing him a lot of time on the non-football injury list, Minkah Fitzpatrick doesn't need to suit up.
OLB T.J. Watt- Proving last year he didn’t need any preseason games to hit the ground running, I don’t see a reason for T.J. Watt to see any action Saturday unless the Steelers are very thin at OLB.
So there is a list of players I think will not be playing the Steelers Week 1 preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. How did I do? If there are anyone on the list you think will play? Are there other players I’m missing? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.