Something I've never really considered regarding the roster is who will not be active on game day. Sure I've thought about it around right before kickoff but mostly for fantasy football reason. With that in mind I decided to put some thought into who I would deactivate. There are 53 players on the roster but only 45 can be active on game day meaning 8 have to be deactivated.
The easiest to predict is the 3rd string QB, Tony Pike. As with any team carrying three quarterbacks the 3rd in line is always deactivated. The rules state that a deactivated 3rd string QB can be activated and play during the game, however, once he plays the other QB's cannot reenter the game.
This leaves us with 7 other players to deactivate. As easy as it's to predict Pike being deactivated it also is easy to predict several who will active, the starters on both sides of the ball and therefore we'll throw them out of the equation (22 starters, based on the depth chart at Panthers.com). Other easy names are several backup players such as Jonathan Stewart, Brandon LaFell, Jimmy Clausen, Captain Munnerlyn, Everette Brown, and Greg Hardy. In addition the special team players that will be active, John Kasay, J.J. Jansen, Jason Baker, and Todd Carter (10 backups).
53 roster - 22 Starters - 10 Backups and Special teams - 3rd String QB = 20 remaining to determine their game day status, 12 active and 7 inactive. After the break see who's left.
RB: Mike Goodson, Tyrell Sutton
CB: Robert McClain
There are a few other players that should be easy calls. As much as they like Sutton's versatility he should be active. With Jeff Otah out for the first few weeks he will be deactivated and means Geoff Schwartz will be starting. This leaves only two backup OL and both should be active. However, when Otah comes back I would not be surprised if Tim Duckworth is deactivated. Simply put its likely one backup offensive line player will be deactivated, Otah for now, Duckworth later. Also, there's a high chance both backup TE will be active as well.
5 active, 1 deactivated (14 remaining players, 6 left to deactivate)
All the remaining WR could be deactivated. However, Martin has special team coverage assignments and is the most likely to be activated. Edwards of course has been worked as punt returner but at this point appears to be behind Captain on PR duties. Finally Gettis has little chance to see the field early in the season, but depending on how Jarrett perform early this season I could see Gettis and DJ playing the who's active merry-go-round.
1 Active, 2 deactivated (11 Remaining players, 4 left to deactivate)
According to Marcus Hudson's blog he will be active on game day for special teams play, as will Jordan Senn (Martin and Barnidge were covered above). Also, Jamar Williams seems to be fairly safe as does Derek Landri.
4 Active (7 Remaining players, 4 left to deactivate)
Now, we have to pick four out of the following list to deactivate: Mike Goodson, Jordan Pugh, Robert McClain, Nic Harris, Eric Norwood, Nick Hayden, and Andre Neblett.
Neblett is listed as last on the depth chart for DT. I would pick him as a possible deactivation but only because he's so new to the team. There is a chance he could switch roles with Hayden later in the season. With only two DB left (Pugh and McClain) I think only one will be active. I'd pick Pugh to be the favorite on the active list.
2 Active, 2 deactivated (3 Remaining players, 2 left to deactivate)
So I'm down to two LB and one RB with one active roster spot remaining, I doubt they will go into a game with only 2 backup LB which means Goodson rides the bench, but wait, I just realized that Goodson is the first in line as kick returner. If he's active I would then sit Martin. So who is the final active player? I would pick Nic Harris based on the fact he has more experience than Norwood. But as several spots on the roster I could see this changing.
A few closing thoughts. I know many fans don't like the fact that we kept Pike on the roster, but in reality it doesn't make a difference. The only thing he's doing on the roster is taking a deactivated roster spot and we didn't risk him being signed away. Having a need for a dedicated KOS is the biggest difference taking up an active roster spot. You can also add J.J. Jansen as well. Two roster spots for very specific roles, granted both are important. Yet this could mean having Goodson and Gettis active, adding additional play makers to the offense. While a lot of older players were cut this year, I personally feel that Kasay is mainly keeping his roster spot out of respect; I would put it at about 65% respect, 35% performance, and once he retires they will pickup someone able to fill both roles again.
This wasn't an easy exercise in picking who I would deactivate. Guys like Gettis, Goodson, Edwards, and Norwood are players many of us fans would love to see on game day, but as it stands right we will have to wait.
Do you agree with my list? Let me know who you would deactivate in the comments and why.
My picks: Pike, Otah/Duckworth, Edwards, Gettis, McClain, Norwood, Neblett, Martin