The best photos of Safety Will Allen from the 2015 season thus far.
Will Allen was listed as having limited participation in practice on Wednesday, but the veteran strong safety is optimistic about a return to the lineup on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
"I'm hoping to play," Allen said. "That's my goal. Hopefully the week goes well and I can just keep getting better as the week goes.
"I just have to get through the week and keep feeling good and then hopefully I'll be ready to go on Sunday."
Allen has been out since suffering an ankle injury on Oct. 12 at San Diego.
He hasn't enjoyed watching since then, but he's liked what he's seen from the defense against Arizona, Kansas City and Cincinnati.
"We were consistent," Allen said. "We played lights out, everybody played well. Rob Golden (who has been starting in Allen's absence) is a smart player and he can make all the checks and put himself in position to play well. He and (free safety) Mike (Mitchell) played well and the corners played well.
"It was good for (Golden) to get his feet wet and that's what we needed. We need great depth in the secondary if a guy goes down. I think they played really well."
The Raiders have been prepping for their trip to Heinz Field with the NFL's No. 9 offense.
That should present a formidable but familiar challenge to a Steelers' defense that has already encountered five of the offenses ranked in the Top 10 this week (No. 1 San Diego, No. 3 Arizona, No. 5 New England, No. 6 Cincinnati and No. 10 Baltimore).
"What's new for us?" Mitchell offered. "You just get comfortable being uncomfortable. You know that you're always going to get a very tough test every single week, all the cliché, stereotypical, can't-get-complacent type of stuff. It's really true for us this year.
"Every week we're getting a high-powered offense and we have to stand up to the challenge."
The Steelers have held the Patriots (28), Cardinals (13) and Bengals (16) to their lowest points totals of the season.
"That's a tribute to our coaches' preparedness and going out and executing the gameplan," Allen said. "Those are tough teams, they light up the scoreboard, get a lot of yards. If we can just be consistent, get a few more turnovers and score on defense that's going to really help our team and position us heading into these last few months.
"We prepare well. The coaches have a great gameplan every week. We believe in it and the players go out and execute it. Every week we work on our detail and execution. When we detail our work and detail what we do it's hard to beat us, it's very hard to beat us.
"We just go out and execute and have a lot of fun doing it."