The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Carolina Panthers on the road on Sunday afternoon in their fourteenth game of the 2022 regular season and if you’re like me, you’re counting down the hours until the game begins. As usual, I will attempt to project the Steelers inactives for every game of the 2022 season and below is my best guess as to which players won’t be given helmets Sunday afternoon at Bank America Stadium against the Panthers.
Game inactives are officially announced 90 minutes before kickoff, so make sure you check back at that time to see the names of the players for both teams who will be sitting the game out. Also, the new roster rules make this exercise even harder as team’s can elevate up to two players from their practice squads to their active roster for gamedays. Team’s also can dress up to 48 players for games if eight offensive linemen are dressed.
QB Kenny Pickett – A concussion suffered early in the Steelers Week 14 home game against the Baltimore Ravens will result in rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett missing his first game of the 2022 season. Pickett entered the weekend listed as doubtful on the team’s injury report following him being limited in practice on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The team downgraded Pickett to out on Saturday and so he’ll be inactive on Sunday against the Panthers. With Pickett sidelined, quarterback Mason Rudolph will dress for the first time this season on Sunday, and he’ll be the backup behind announced starter Mitch Trubisky.
G Kendrick Green – Green has still yet to be active for a game this season and that isn’t expected to change on Sunday against the Panthers. So far this season, the Steelers have dressed eight of their nine total offensive linemen in their first thirteen games and Green has been the odd one out in that position group for all those contests. The Steelers have been utilizing Jesse Davis and J.C. Hassenauer as interior offensive linemen backups on a weekly basis and both have been ahead of Green on the depth chart all season. Green was the team’s third-round draft pick last year and he started most of the games at center, so he’s really considered a huge miss by the team at this point. It will take an injury at this point for Green to dress in any of the team’s final three games.
CB Josh Jackson – The Steelers still have not activated cornerback William Jackson III off the Reserve/Injured list this week, so Jackson’s roster spot remains safe for now. Even so, Jackson isn’t likely to dress on Sunday against the Panthers and especially with him missing practice time this past week with an ankle injury. The Steelers have been dressing an extra defensive lineman the last several games and that’s yet another reason to think that Jackson will be on the inactive list once again. Jackson has been inactive for the last four games and that streak should extend to five on Sunday afternoon.
OLB Malik Reed – The Steelers made Reed one of the team’s five inactive players last Sunday and he was technically a healthy scratch as well. With the Panthers being a run-centric team, the Steelers might once again decide to play Sunday’s game with just three outside linebackers dressed in T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, and Jamir Jones. Jones is a better special teams player than Reed so that’s why he’s nearly guaranteed to dress on Sunday. If Reed is inactive again, it would result in the team dressing seven defensive linemen once again. That means even newcomer Jonathan Marshall would get a helmet. If Reed does dress on Sunday, Marshall might be the one inactive.
ILB Mark Robinson – Like Pickett, inside linebacker Myles Jack entered the weekend listed as doubtful on the team’s Friday injury report. He is listed with groin ailment, but the team upgraded him to questionable on Saturday afternoon. The veteran linebacker sat out the team’s Wednesday and Thursday practice and was only able to work on a limited basis on Friday so it now seems like he will be a gametime decision on Sunday. This is really hard to call. If Jack sits, rookie inside linebacker Mark Robinson would likely get his helmet. If Jack is deemed okay to dress, Robinson will likely be inactive once again. Flip a coin on this one. With Jack yet to be inactive this season, I will guess that he dresses on Sunday and thus predict that Robinson won’t.