With Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert failing to practice again on Friday due to a hamstring injury it’s starting to look like reserve offensive lineman Matt Feiler will make his second start of his NFL career Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Feiler confirmed on Friday that it will be him and not rookie tackle Chukwuma Okorafor that would start Monday night against the Buccaneers should Gilbert wind up being inactive because of his hamstring injury.
“You have to prepare the best you can and practice like you are playing,” said Feiler, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “I keep working the craft. I feel pretty comfortable. I have been getting reps all week.”
Feiler’s first career NFL start came last season in the team’s finale against the Cleveland Browns. That start, however, came at right guard in place of resting starter David DeCastro. While the former undrafted free agent out Bloomsburg did play quite a bit of right tackle in college, he’s only played 9 regular season snaps at the position so far during his NFL career and all of them came last season and late during the Steelers Week 8 game against the Detroit Lions. Two of those 9 snaps were kneel downs by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Buccaneers defensive end Vinny Curry appears to be getting most of the snaps on the left side of the Buccaneers defense in their first two games so that’s likely who Feiler would match up against the most Monday night in Tampa should he wind up starting in place of Gilbert.
Feiler, who re-signed with the Steelers this past offseason as an exclusive rights free agent, entered the NFL originally as an undrafted free agent with the Houston Texans in 2014 and spent his entire rookie season on their practice squad. In 2015 Feiler was waived by the Texans during their final round of roster cuts and the Steelers proceeded to sign him to their practice squad and he remained on that unit all season.
In 2016, Feiler bounced from the Steelers practice squad to their 53-man roster a few times. Last season Feiler not only made the Steelers initial 53-man roster, he stayed on it all season long.