The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Cleveland Browns at home on Sunday afternoon in their seventeenth 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 Acrisure Stadium against the Browns.
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 game days. Team’s also can dress up to 48 players for games if eight offensive linemen are dressed.
S Tre Norwood – Norwood will miss his second game of the season on Sunday afternoon due to a hamstring injury that he sustained later in the first half of the team’s Week 16 Saturday night home game. Norwood was ultimately ruled out for Sunday on the team’s Friday injury report after practicing on a limited basis just once during the week. The Steelers fortunately should have safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on Sunday despite his ankle injury that he sustained in Week 17 so that certainly will be big. Additionally, the Steelers promoted safety Elijah Riley from the practice squad a few weeks ago and he should once again dress on Sunday afternoon as a backup as well. The Steelers safeties on Sunday should be Fitzpatrick, Terrell Edmunds, Damontae Kazee, Riley, and Miles Killebrew.
QB Mason Rudolph – As expected, Rudolph has resumed his stay on the Steelers’ inactive list the last few games after being active for the first time this season in Week 15 due to starter Kenny Pickett being sidelined with a concussion. With Pickett and backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky very much healthy heading into Week 18, Rudolph can expect to end the 2022 regular season on the Steelers’ inactive list. There’s a good chance now that we’ve seen Rudolph in a Steelers’ uniform for the last time as he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent in March. In the meantime, look for Rudolph to be on the Steelers’ Sunday afternoon inactive list for the 16th time this season.
G Kendrick Green – Predictably, Green has still yet to be active for a game this season. He also remains the only Steelers’ player on the roster that has been inactive for every game this season. Barring some sort of surprise, Green will be inactive again on Sunday afternoon against the Browns. So far this season, the Steelers have dressed eight of their nine total offensive linemen in their first sixteen games and Green has obviously 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 and that should continue Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh against the Browns.
DT Jonathan Marshall – With Marshall still being relatively new to the team following his mid-December addition, we can probably look forward to him being inactive once again on Sunday afternoon against the Browns. The Steelers are likely to dress seven defensive linemen in total against the Browns with young players DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Renell Wren all likely to be included within that group once again. Marshall hasn’t even been with the Steelers for four weeks so it’s easy to predict that he won’t be given a helmet Sunday afternoon against the Browns.
ILB Tae Crowder – The Steelers signed Crowder off the New York Giants’ practice squad a few weeks ago and on the heels of fellow inside linebacker Marcus Allen being placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a biceps injury. After being added to the Steelers’ 53-man roster over a week ago, Crowder was inactive for his first game with his new team. With him still being very new and with rookie inside linebacker Mark Robinson again expected to get Allen’s’ helmet on Sunday, it’s very unlikely that numbers won’t break in the favor of Crowder, who does have some special teams experience from his time with the Giants. The Steelers will need six inactive players on Sunday against the Browns, and I fully expect Crowder to be one of them.
OLB Malik Reed – The Steelers one again elevated Wren from the practice squad on Saturday and like last Sunday, he should be active against the Browns as one of seven dressed defensive linemen So, what does the Saturday afternoon elevation of Wren mean? Well, like last Sunday, it could result in Reed being a healthy scratch on the inactive list. Reed is smallish and not much help against the run and we know the Browns will be looking to make an early living on the ground on Sunday. Additionally, and as I pointed out last week, Reed hasn’t played a ton on special teams this season. Basically, it’s pretty much useless to give Reed a helmet Sunday and especially if inside linebacker Myles Jack is healthy enough to play with his groin issue. Reed has been a healthy scratch twice this season and Sunday could be the third time. In closing, this final inactive should be either Reed or Jack.