Feiler Ready to Keep Delivering in Gilbert’s Absence

Undrafted free agent from Bloomsburg shining

Josh Rowntree
November 15, 2018 - 4:30 pm
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Matt Feiler (71) blocks at the line of scrimmage against Cleveland Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (90) during the second quarter at Heinz Field.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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Despite right tackle Marcus Gilbert being on the verge of missing his fourth straight game, the Steelers offense just keeps on rolling. And Matt Feiler is a big reason why. 

Feiler has made four starts on the offensive line this season in place of Gilbert. The Steelers offense has thrived with Feiler in the game.

“I think it’s just the bond that we have as an offensive line,” said Feiler, an undrafted free agent out of Bloomsburg University. “All the older guys, stepping up, helping me out when I need it and kind of coaching me through.”

The numbers with Feiler starting are beyond impressive. Pittsburgh is scoring 34.5 points per game, rushing for 124.3 yards per game and passing for 297.3 yards each contest. 

“We’ve just got to stay on the field and stay up in the games,” said Feiler, a reserved, 26-year old physical specimen at 6-foot-6, 331 pounds. “Once we do that, we gain momentum and just keep the momentum on our side.”

Feiler joins guard/center BJ Finney as reliable backup linemen who have played crucial roles for the Steelers this season. 

“I think that’s the expectation out of every guy in this room,” said Feiler, who has been referred to by multiple teammates as the team’s strongest player. “We’ve got to trust each other and we do trust each other. If another number is called or our number is called, that we’ll step in and perform.”

Make no mistake, the offensive line owes much of their success to one man, Mike Munchak. The Hall of Fame offensive line coach has continually churned out productive play from his unit, including tackle Chris Hubbard, who cashed in a long-term deal with Cleveland this offseason. 

“He’s been in our position,” Feiler said of Munchak. “Obviously, he has a gold jacket. He’s been in our shoes and seen what we see. So, anytime he can refer back to how he played certain things, it helps us out in our situations.”

Gilbert missed practice again Thursday. The chances of him playing in Jacksonville on Sunday do not seem promising. But Feiler is ready for the challenge of the team who beat Pittsburgh twice last year, including January’s stunning AFC Divisional Round game. 

“It’s a new year,” he said. “We’re a different team, as all teams are. We don’t see each other too often, so it’s just something you have to take one game at a time and one play at a time. 

“After those two losses, we definitely want to get after them and get the win.”