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Steelers make several moves to finalize roster for Sunday’s Wild Card Game

Steelers activate Spillane and Feiler from IR, elevate Rader from practice squad

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have finalized their roster for the Wild Card to match up Sunday night at Heinz Field against the Cleveland Browns. On Saturday, the Steelers activated linebacker Robert Spilllane and offensive lineman Matt Feiler and elevated right end Kevin Rader from the practice squad. In a corresponding move, the Steelers have released linebacker Tegray Scales in order to get down to 53 players on the active roster.

Robert Spillane was placed on the Reserve/Injured List on Saturday, December 12 just ahead of the Steelers Week 14 game against the Buffalo Bills. Injured the previous Monday against the Washington Football Team, Spillane went onto IR as Ulysees Gilbert came off. Unfortunately, Gilbert has since landed back on the injured list.

Filling in for the injured Devin Bush when he went down in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns, Spillane only had eight defensive snaps on the season before Week 6. Once Bush was lost for the season, Spillane started the next seven games playing at least 75% of the defensive snaps up until he injured his knee against Washington. On the season, Spillane has 2.0 sacks, 45 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 quarterback hits, 4 passes defensed, a fumble recovery, and an interception returned 33 yards for a touchdown.

Matt Feiler went on the Reserve/Injured List for the Steelers two days after Spillane which was the morning following the Steelers Week 14 loss to the Buffalo Bills and was replaced on the roster by Cassius Marsh. Out with an injured pec, Feiler luckily did not require surgery. Feiler had started all 13 games for the Steelers at left guard in 2020 after following a 2019 season where he started 15 games at right tackle and one game at left guard.

When it comes to the return of Feiler, it will be very interesting to see how the Steelers would implement him into the lineup should he be activated. Although both were out in Week 15 against the Cincinnati Bengals due to injury, rookie Kevin Dotson started the final two games of the season and played 100% of the snaps in each game where he performed quite well. On the season, Dotson has not allowed a sack and only one quarterback pressure on over 350 offensive snaps. Whether or not the Steelers would go back to Feiler or stick with Dotson would be the main question going in to Sunday night’s game.

Tegray Scales was signed to the Steelers active roster before their Week 16 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts in order to provide depth at the inside linebacker position. Elevated off the practice squad twice in Weeks 14 and 15 before being signed to the active roster, Scales appeared in the final four games of the season for the Steelers. Over those four games, Scales had three defensive snaps all in Week 16 and a total of 37 special teams snaps.

because the Steelers only had 52 players on their active roster, only one player was needed to be released.

Kevin Rader was elevated off the Steelers practice squad for Sunday’s game after making an impression in Week 17 on special teams. In his first game action of his career, Rader stood out so much so he was even specifically mentioned by head coach Mike Tomlin in his Tuesday press conference. Rader was a Covid replacement in Week 17 and therefore had reverted back to the practice squad following the game.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to take on the Cleveland Browns Sunday night at Heinz Field in the Wild Card round of the 2020 NFL postseason.