The Pittsburgh Steelers will report to Latrobe for training camp on Friday so it\’s time for us start wrapping up our training camp battle series. Today we will look at the ever important long snapping position as it features a battle between a veteran and a rookie. You can comment on this battle below and make sure that you also vote in the attached poll.
Training Camp Battle Setup: It\’s hard to hype a long snapper training camp battle, but this battle could wind up being a good one between Greg Warren and Luke Ingram. Let\’s now have a look at both players.
Greg Warren – Back in 2005, Warren, an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina, beat out Mike Schneck for the long snapping job and now, eight years later, he will perhaps face his stiffest competition to date from another undrafted free agent
While Warren has easily discarded competition during training camp over the years, he did show a few chinks in his armor last year. In the game against the Tennessee Titans, Warren and Ryan Mundy, the personal protector for punter Drew Butler, seemed to have a miscommunication on a blocking assignment that led to a blocked punt deep in the Steelers own end of the field. In addition to that gaffe, Warren\’s bad snap in the crucial Week 16 game against the Cincinnati Bengals resulted in kicker Shaun Suisham missing an easy chip shot field goal
At 31, Warren has overcome two serious knee injuries and no longer gets down the field the way he used to. He is, however, a veteran who knows all the crafty tricks of his trade and has snapped flawlessly in some high pressure situations.
Warren will indeed be tough to beat, but him losing his job this year isn\’t as unthinkable as it once was.
Luke Ingram – Ingram, an undrafted free agent out of Hawaii, was the only long snapper invited to attend the scouting combine this year, and he posted a 5.05 forty-yard dash to go along with 24 reps on the bench while there.
As a senior, the 6\’6″ Ingram, whose older brother was also once a long snapper in the NFL, appeared in all 12 games in 2012 at long snapper and finished his college career having played in all 52 games without having one bad snap that led to a blocked kick or mishandled kick placement. He also recorded three total tackles last season on his way to being named the team’s special teams player of the year.
Being that Ingram is the challenger, he has to have a perfect training camp and preseason if he is to beat out Warren for his spot on the roster. Judging by his track record, you have to think he has a fighter\’s chance in this battle.
Prediction: Being as Warren signed a one-year qualifying contract during the offseason, his cap number is only $620,000. That is only $148,500 more than Ingram will count against the cap should he win the job, so there are no real savings involved here in this battle. This battle, however, gives the Steelers a perfect opportunity to not have to worry about the future at the position should Ingram win the job. I am in no way an expert when it comes to long snapping, but my gut tells me that this could indeed be the end of the road for Warren, so I will bravely predict that Ingram wins the job.