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Steelers' Tomlin says offensive starters will see more time vs. Bills

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Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell carries the ball while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back LeGarrette look on during practice Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 at St. Vincent College in Latrobe.

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By Alan Robinson
Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, 10:09 p.m.
 

A long snapper often isn't noticed unless he makes a major mistake or is injured. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin can only hope nobody notices until Greg Warren gets back.

Warren is expected to miss four weeks with a meniscus injury in his right knee. With Warren sidelined, the unproven Bryce Davis will be tried in that role Saturday against the Buffalo Bills. The Steelers also signed long snapper Luke Ingram of Hawaii.

Whether first-round pick Ryan Shazier (bruised knee) makes his preseason debut remains uncertain. He hasn't practiced fully this week, and Tomlin said he would be a game-time decision for the second straight week. The status of linebackers Jarvis Jones (groin) and Vince Williams (concussion) will be game-time decisions.

No doubt Tomlin is glad this is a preseason game. He didn't have an experienced replacement when Warren was hurt against the New York Giants in 2008 and ended up using Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison, whose errant snap subsequently cost the game.

“We'll get him (Warren) fixed and get him back to us as quickly as we can,” Tomlin said.

Davis, signed by the Bengals two years ago as an undrafted rookie free agent from Central Oklahoma, is listed as a long snapper/tight end but Warren has done almost all of the snapping in camp.

The offensive starters were on the field for only 14 plays against the Giants — and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played only half of that — but Tomlin said they would go longer against the Bills. They have generally played about one quarter of the second preseason game.

“We're going to get more exposure to those guys and the football game,” Tomlin said. “(It's) just a necessary step for us.”

Last year, the Steelers' offensive starters played into early in the second quarter of their second preseason game, in Washington. That game was marked by LeVeon Bell's Lisfranc foot injury and a succession of offensive line penalties.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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