It's no secret Brian Allen came to the Steelers last year lacking experience on defense.
Allen started off as a wide receiver in high school, and didn't see playing time at cornerback until his junior year at the University of Utah.
His rookie season with the Steelers, well the defensive snaps weren't just minimal, they were non-existent as his play was limited to special teams.
Despite the lack of playing time on defense, Allen has grown from his rookie season, developing a better understanding of what is asked of him on defense, and even more important a better understanding the defense itself.
"It feels good," said Allen. "Everyone knows my story, being a two year defensive player. Getting out here now, everything is coming more natural. I feel like I have been playing it my whole life. I am just ready to get out here and compete and be with my brothers and do the things I love.
"The game has slowed down a lot. The speed was way different. In between the whistles you are going a lot faster and have to think a lot more. Just going in now I know the basis of the defense, I am learning the defense more, everything is coming naturally and I am ready to get out there and prove what I can do."
Cornerback is a position where the Steelers did very little this offseason, other than not bringing back veteran William Gay. It opens up the opportunity for Allen to show what strides he has made, and he knows he has to give it his all.
"Whoever they put out there, whether it's me or another guy, I am going to continue to compete and do the things that I feel I can bring to the defense," said Allen. "I am going to just play my part."
To be ready for that, he is working on all of the minor details, never being afraid to put in extra time on the field, often one of the last ones to make his way to the locker room.
"That is my nature," said Allen. "I want to be one of the first guys on the field, one of the last guys off the field. I always want to make myself better. There is always room for improvement, no matter how great you are.
"I want to get out there and work on the little things my game needs and make that progress and help the defense. Just tracking the ball better, me being a big guy keeping my pad level down, staying in my back pedal longer, and having great eyes. Just little things that people don't see that can make me great."
Secondary coach Tom Bradley is making sure Allen works on those aspects. Bradley is technique-oriented, and for a player like Allen who is still grasping some of the finer details, it's a perfect match.
"He is a great guy," said Allen. "I talked to him for a long time when he got here. I played against him when he coached at UCLA. He brings a lot of the aspects. He is bringing a lot more technique stuff to the game. It's always good to work on minor things. Some of the guys might feel like we know this, we know how to do that. But it's always good to work on stuff and continually get better on whatever it is he has us doing."