The Steelers preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday night will be a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
"It's your last preparation for the season," said linebacker Lawrence Timmons. "We want to carry as much momentum from this into the season as possible. That's why we have to take every day and work hard and learn as much as we can."
The team is going through a regular season schedule in practice in preparation, including game-planning for the first time in the preseason.
"Every team does it like that," said wide receiver Mike Wallace. "It's the third game, the closest to a regular season game. We are going to go out and get a lot of work, game plan and see what we really have."
The team will be without safety Ryan Clark against the Broncos. Clark will miss the game because of health reasons which caused him problems when the team played there in 2007. Clark, who has the sickle cell trait, had a reaction to the high altitude, forcing him to later have surgery to remove his gall bladder and spleen.
Clark's absence will give Will Allen a chance to show what he can do.
"It's a great opportunity," said Allen. "To be able to play with those guys and those snaps it will be a great opportunity. We'll see how it goes. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I will do it. I am willing and ready."
Allen has impressed his new teammates so far, after signing with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent from Tampa Bay this offseason.
"Will Allen is a great player," said Timmons. "He made a lot of great plays for us last game. He is a great player. I can't wait to see him out there."
Timmons is ready for this to be his year. Entering his fourth season at inside linebacker for the Steelers, Timmons knows it's time for him to step up.
"I am feeling a sense of urgency from the players and coaches," said Timmons. "I am just trying to step up and do my job and help the defense out the best I can."
Timmons was hoping for that breakout season a year ago, and while he put up good numbers with 86 tackles, seven sacks and two forced fumbles, injuries hampered his progress.
"Injuries happen," said Timmons. "I had two high ankles and that's tough. I carried on through it and had somewhat productive season."
Guard Trai Essex is lending a hand to right tackle Flozell Adams, who is learning a new offensive system and playing right tackle for the first time in his career.
"He's been in another system for 12 years and he's had different offensive coordinators," said Essex. "This is a whole new thing for him. I am just helping him with the terminology and how we do things here as an offensive line. Helping him adjust is my main focus because the quicker he does that is going to help us out in the end."
"He's made tremendous strides even from the first to the second game he's made excellent strides. It is different playing from the left to the right, there's a whole balance and body weight thing. He's adjusted well."
Essex feels that Adams will be the team's starting right tackle when the Steelers open the season against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 12.
"There's nothing that tells me otherwise," said Essex.