Matt Feiler has been in the starting lineup for the past two weeks now and looks like he is going to start his third and a row, it also being his fourth of the season, so it’s probably about time that we actually spend a bit of time putting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ second-year offensive lineman’s play under the microscope.
Feiler had an all-around solid game from every angle, blocking well in the running game and in pass protection, passing off stunts, etc. On their first-quarter touchdown, for example, I like his eye activity and awareness, working to the inside man off a chip but focusing on a looping defender.
That doesn’t mean that every rep is pretty, and one thing he did have an issue with during the game was the Ravens’ rip moves, as they were able to work up the arc on several occasions. This is one of the sloppier examples, but it shows that there is still some technique work to do after spending most of the past couple of years playing guard.
Feiler’s nickname is apparently the anchor, and you do see that especially in the running game. This was a short-yardage situation, and while the defender was able to work inside, he kept pushing him upfield. And this was on a reach block, too, even though David DeCastro helped with a chip.
He isn’t really seen as athletic, but the 26-year-old has been asked to work in space in his limited playing time, and has looked far from lost. On this 12-yard run in the second quarter, he was successfully able to work to the second level. C.J. Mosley threw him to the side a bit, but he did what was necessary.
An even better example of Feiler working in space at the second level shows up in the middle of the third quarter, even if on just a three-yard run. Here he first chips the lineman to get him on DeCastro before latching himself onto the linebacker, completely stoning his momentum.
Mike Munchak is not bashful about asking a lot of his offensive linemen, that and includes expectations that his tackles be able to pull off a dart pull to the opposite side. Feiler did that successfully here against Matt Judon.
While it can usually be implied from a game in which the offense runs the ball effectively and throws it well while not allowing any meaningful snaps, it’s always best to actually look at a lineman’s play to judge. Sometimes he plays better than the stats indicate, sometimes worse. In Feiler’s case on Sunday, it all seemed about right, which is a good thing.