Now that the 2020 regular season 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 are seeing over the course of the season as it plays out. Who is making plays? Who is missing them? Who is losing snaps? Who is struggling to stay on the field?
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. 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 season as we move forward.
Player: OL Matt Feiler
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: Whether or not he actually ends up playing—based on whether or not the Steelers choose to start Kevin Dotson—Matt Feiler’s stock is still up now that he is back to practicing after missing the past three weeks with a pectoral injury.
This could prove to be a bittersweet week for Matt Feiler. Or it could just be sweet. He may or may not already know, but for those on the outside, that remains to be seen. The veteran offensive lineman is working his way back from an injury, but at the same time, it is not currently known whether or not he will be getting his job back.
The former right tackle started the first 13 games of the 2020 season at left guard prior to going down with the pectoral injury that landed him on the Reserve/Injured List for the past three weeks. While he has been out, rookie Kevin Dotson has played well in his stead.
Head coach Mike Tomlin has clearly left the door open for the rookie to remain in the starting lineup based on his play, but we don’t know if that will actually be the case. Generally, you would prefer to have a veteran in the lineup in the postseason, but sometimes it’s not the best option.
While Feiler played generally serviceably at left guard, it hasn’t been his best season. Upon my personal observation, he seemed to find more success at right tackle. Earlier this season, he even acknowledged that it had been a bit of a process to make that change, even tough he had prior experience playing guard—his first start even coming at right guard.
Whether or not he starts, he looks to be making his way back, and that is still a big deal either way, because it would greatly solidify the Steelers’ depth. If he were not to make it back, then Danny Isidora or J.C. Hassenauer would be the backup guard. Now, it will be either Feiler or Dotson, depending on who starts.