Robert Spillane and Matt Feiler remain on Injured Reserve but will practice Wednesday, opening the door for them to play in Sunday night’s Wild Card game against the Cleveland Browns. The team announced the news moments ago.
Both players were expected to return to practice, based on comments Mike Tomlin made during his Tuesday press conference. As the team notes, they have three weeks to activate them from IR. They won’t count against the 53 man roster until/unless they are.
Spillane in particular will add, at the least, key depth at inside linebacker. Pittsburgh has been thin at the position throughout the last quarter of the season. Spillane suffered a knee injury against Washington on December 7th and hasn’t played since. Over that time, Vince Williams missed two games due to COVID while Marcus Allen has battled a stinger injury.
Assuming Spillane is activated, it’s unclear how much he’d play against the Browns. The most likely scenario is some sort of rotation, potentially between him, Williams, and Avery Williamson. Spillane is the best cover linebacker of those three players, providing a boost to Pittsburgh’s pass defense.
Feiler’s return may be less impactful. It’s unlikely Kevin Dotson gives up his left guard spot meaning Feiler’s only chance to crack the starting lineup would be replacing RT Chukwuma Okorafor. Odds are better Feiler is a backup this weekend, perhaps used as a 6th offensive linemen in heavy personnel groupings. HIs versatility will create quality depth at guard and tackle.