Coach Mike Tomlin said his starters will probably play approximately 10 to 12 snaps when the Steelers open their preseason Saturday night against the New York Giants at Heinz Field, and one of those starters could be rookie running back LeVeon Bell.
"Don't be surprised if you see Le'Veon getting some snaps with those guys," Tomlin said during a late-morning news conference at St. Vincent College. "I think he has earned that. I think how he is running the ball speaks for itself.
"Don't be surprised to see him getting some snaps after those guys are out of the game, as well. He, like a lot of guys, we need to get a lot of exposure to."
Bell, the team's No. 2 draft pick, has been very impressive at training camp and his debut against the Giants will likely be the first step on his way to being the team's feature back when the Steelers open the regular season against the Tennessee Titans.
Tomlin did not indicate how he will use the other running backs, including incumbents Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. But it is clear the Steelers are clearing the path for Bell to be their workhorse.
Tomlin said he will also use all four quarterbacks against the Giants, including rookie Landry Jones, the team's fourth-round pick who has struggled during the first two weeks of training camp.
Ben Roethlisberger will start and probably play only one series, depending on the number of snaps.
Also, Tomlin stopped short of saying the switch of Mike Adams to left tackle and Marcus Gilbert back to right tackle is permanent, but he acknowledged it will at least be permanent through the game with the Giants.
Barring some disappointing play from either Adams or Gilbert, the Steelers are prepared to keep the combination intact throughout training camp.
"It's been interesting and it has produced some positive results," Tomlin said.
Tomlin also said tight end Matt Spaeth, who appeared to injure his foot in a blocking drill on Wednesday, was being examined in Pittsburgh and has not been ruled out of playing against the Giants. The Steelers are thin at the position already with Heath Miller and David Johnson out.
If Spaeth doesn't play, David Paulson and Jamie McCoy will be the primary tight ends," Tomlin said.
Gerry Dulac: email@example.com; twitter: @gerrydulac First Published August 8, 2013 5:45 PM