Film Room: Matt Feiler Looks Like A Keeper In Season Finale

If all that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ three-year dalliance with former undrafted free agent offensive lineman Matt Feiler nets is the performance that he put forth on Sunday during the team’s regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns, then it will have been worth it.

After spending three years on practice squads, including the past two with the Steelers, Feiler ran out of eligibility and had to either make a team or find another job. He’s been on the team’s 53-man roster all season, though usually inactive. Earlier in the season, he was the backup to the backup tackle, but lost that job.

When the team rested David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey in the season finale, though, it was a chance to kick him inside to guard, where he looked good in the preseason, including on the move, and frankly, he looked like a keeper out there playing.

He and B.J. Finney, starting for Pouncey, worked over Browns nose tackle Danny Shelton early in the game, with Feiler the one to carry him upfield. That large obstruction vacated from the middle of the field, Stevan Ridley found himself an alley for 13 yards.

A couple of plays after that run, the first-year player pulled for the first time, this time looping around the right tackle and two tight ends stationed to his right. He dug out the edge defender and helped create a lane for 16 yards in front of Ridley.

Later in the quarter, the Steelers used him to pull again, this time to the left, but he did the same as he did on the previous play: scooping out the edge defender and putting him on his back. With two tight ends to the left, Ridley was able to get up the field for 21 yards.

Not all was perfect, however. On the end of that drive, looking at a second and goal from the one, Feiler allowed the linebacker, Joe Schobert, to cut underneath his block as he pulled to the right, and he made the tackle on Ridley for no gain. The offense would end up failing to convert on fourth down.

Undeterred, the team continued to use him out in space, and this time on an outside zone run, he was able to force Schobert wide, allowing Fitzgerald Toussaint to convert for five yards on second and three.

Two plays after that, he helped open a hole for seven yards for the back, pulling to his left and, once again, putting the force defender on his back, giving Toussaint a lane to cut inside for a nice first-down run.

Later in the game, with Carl Nassib trying to angle his way around and into the backfield, Feiler showed well to stick with the lineman, chipping him to the side, which provided an alley right through that gap for eight yards on second and nine.

There was no shortage of positive snaps to look at from this game for Feiler, which is largely why I only ended up getting to the second half here, already consisting of seven plays for review. This was a strong closing statement for the first-year player, and likely helps buy him more time in the black and gold, especially if Chris Hubbard leaves in free agency as anticipated.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Brad Lucas

    Beautiful. Without tape, I also thought his pass blocking looked good.

  • capehouse

    So nice. Our 2018 offensive line group is already set in stone.

  • Ray Istenes

    Talk about a group of unheralded and developed players:
    Foster UDFA
    Villy UDFA
    Finney UDFA
    Feiler UDFA
    Hubbard UDFA
    Hawkins 4th round

    Munch and Sarrett have developed more than capable backups that could start for other teams. Plus remember that Mahlick (spelling is wrong) was starting for Detroit at one point.

  • steelmann58

    Nice to see the kid work very impressive

  • The Tony

    Mahalick (sp) shut down the Steelers blitzes that game against Detroit, and took down three guys on special teams

  • The Tony

    Feiler was definitely impressive against the Browns. It can not be understated how spectacular the coaching From Munchak and Serrett has been to the development of the offensive line. Their system is set now that I don’t mind drafting an offensive lineman every draft just so we can develop quality back ups and eventually future starters.

  • CoachCot

    Can never have too many quality players on the oline

  • Conserv_58

    This.

  • steeltown

    Wow, talk about throwing your body around. What a beast.

  • MP34

    Good work by Feiler. Always glad to see these practice squad guys develop, I hope it’s a good sign for his career going forward.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Once again, a tribute to the job Munch has done. Out of all the coaches I’d hate to see go (and I’m not one of the coach Haley/Butler/Tomlin bashers), he’s at the top of the list. I remember the years in between Grimm and Munch coaching the O line. While we still won quite a bit, our run game and pass pro were terrible.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    It’s better than nice. It’s epic. It’s extraordinary. It’s rejoice-worthy.

    I often criticize Colbert for his bone head decisions (RUNNING to the podium rather than waiting to hear trade offers, trying to sign Hightower for $10+ million/yr, blowing pick after pick on 1st round OLB’s while our secondary is getting torched) but he has done a masterful job at assembling our current OL, and he is to be commended.

    First of all, the hiring of Munchak was probably the best coaching move he’s made in the last 10 years. I cannot say enough about the job Munch has done in developing our “lesser talented” players. He took an outcast TE/DE and turned him into a pro bowl LT. He took numerous practice squad players and turned them into viable starters. But it was Colbert who has secured these guys under reasonable contracts and has given us the OL stability we now enjoy.

    Nobody wants to draft a 1st round center or a 1st round guard, but Colbert did it, and he nailed those picks. Everybody (including me) trashed him for the Marcus Gilbert pick, but turns out he was right. He found a diamond in the rough and locked him up for cheap. He convinced Foster to take less. And he signed Villanueva at the perfect time for the perfect amount.

    I am a firm believer that if you invest in OL, your QB performs better, your RB performs better, your WR performs better. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing. Kudos to Colbert for assembling the most talented offense in the NFL. Now if he could just figure out how to do the same on defense.

  • Ed Smith

    He’s going to make the impending loss of Hubbard to FA a LOT easier to deal with!

  • GravityWon

    The only negative play noted was pulling near the goal line. I’m not a big fan of pulling in close quarters when the D is packed into a small area. They automatically play the run when seeing pulling lineman since Ben doesn’t have any planned bootleg plays that I’ve noticed. Therefore I would place half that blame on the play caller.

    Good job developing him!

  • LucasY59

    I expect Hubbard to be gone, so having Hawkins, Finney and Feiler is decent OL depth for next yrs roster, they could get a OL in the next Draft, but if they can wait another yr that would be even better (bigger needs to use the picks on) a couple of UDFA PS guys learning from Munch fills out the rest of the depth

  • LucasY59

    they really havent used many draft picks since Munchak took the OL job (which makes it even better!) only one I can think of is Hawkins (…Wesley Johnson before Hawkins, but he got poached by the Jets)

  • LucasY59

    Mihalik was another good developmental/transitioned LT like AV, would be nice to keep him, but also a good problem to have so many good ones they can let them go

  • Quentin Bullard

    Loved this guy since training camp. He has a future. While I wish the best for Coach Munchak, I hope that he stays on the Steelers Coaching Staff. He made a real difference developing players like Hubbard, Finney and Matt.

  • Iulo

    he looks like a backup ready to fill in if needed without being noticed much…. this is what a SB team needs

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yes, those are the only two linemen they have drafted since 2012.