Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: RT Matt Feiler
Stock Value: Even
Reasoning: A limited offseason has no bearing on whether or not he will start somewhere. On the other hand, fewer reps will make the full-time transition to left guard more difficult, while also making it more likely that he ends up staying at right tackle.
The nature of this offseason, and the potential future shortening of the preseason and limitations of training camp, will have an interestingly neutral effect on Matt Feiler as he heads into his final season before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
He already has lengthy starting experience at right tackle. While he has only two starts at guard, he has also played there extensively in just about every offseason of his career (going back to 2014), so it’s not like he doesn’t know how to do it.
That’s not the same thing is being a full-time starter there, though, which is what many expect him to be this year. Fewer pre-season reps there won’t help him be at his best as a left guard when the real games begin.
At the same time, the lost reps will also effect Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor, and will negatively impact their chances (either one of them) of taking the right tackle job. In other words, the situation makes it more likely that Feiler ends up starting at right tackle.
The thing is, either way, he’s going to start somewhere, so it doesn’t really matter a great deal, from that perspective. On the one hand, he might have a bit more of a slow start if he starts at left guard. On the other hand, the situation makes it more likely that he doesn’t have to do that.
Matt Feiler is Even Steven in this situation. However it plays out, assuming there is a season at all, things will ultimately work out for him, and the chips will fall around him.