The Steelers inactive list for today's game against the Cincinnati Bengals is not what you want to see heading into an AFC North game.
In a contest that is going to be physical, the Steelers will be without two of their outside linebackers, starters T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Watt suffered a groin injury last week that forced him to miss a good portion of the Las Vegas Raiders game. He was limited in practice this week and listed as questionable on Friday, but then was downgraded to out on Saturday.
Highsmith also was hampered all week by a groin injury, missing practice and ruled out on Friday.
With Watt and Highsmith out, it will be Melvin Ingram III and Jamir Jones who will get the majority of the work at outside linebacker. Ingram, who was signed before training camp, is a proven veteran who was part of the rotation with Watt and Highsmith already. Jones is a first-year player who opened a lot of eyes in training camp, earning him a spot on the 53-man roster.
"We're very comfortable with him," said Ingram of Jones. "There is a reason why he's here. We're very comfortable and he's a great player. When he gets his opportunity, he's going to get the job done for sure.
"I've seen him grow tremendously just every day from camp. From the practices, to the games, day in and day out, he's working to become a great football player in this league."
Receiver Diontae Johnson, who suffered a knee injury on the final play of the Raiders game and missed practice all week, is also inactive, ruled out on Friday as well.
The defensive line will be without Carlos Davis, inactive once again with a knee injury. The line is already missing Tyson Alualu, placed on the Reserve/Injured list this week after suffering a fractured ankle, and Stephon Tuitt, who has been on the Reserve/Injured list since the season started. It will be up to young players like Isaiah Buggs, Henry Mondeaux and rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk to be the next man up.
In addition, with the injuries at linebacker and receiver, the Steelers elevated receiver Cody White and linebacker Derrek Tuszka to the Active/Inactive roster from the practice squad. After the game, both White and Tuszka will automatically revert to the practice squad without having to pass through waivers.
The full list of inactives is below.
No. 3 QB Dwayne Haskins
No. 18 WR Diontae Johnson
No. 25 CB Ahkello Witherspoon
No. 56 LB Alex Highsmith
No. 73 DT Carlos Davis
No. 79 OL Rashaad Coward
No. 90 LB T.J. Watt
No. 26 CB Trae Waynes
No. 29 CB Nick McCloud
No. 85 WR Tee Higgins
No. 72 G Xavier Su'a-Filo
No. 74 T Fred Johnson
No. 99 NT Tyler Shelvin