Reports are that wide receiver Mike Wallace will be back with the team following this Saturday's game against the Buffalo Bills, something his teammates have been hearing as well.
"That is the speculation and I think it's true," said receiver Emmanuel Sanders. "I have been hearing he is going to show up soon. We are looking forward to getting him out here. He brings those big plays to the team, speed to the team. We are all excited for the weekend to see what happens."
Wallace gives the Steelers passing game the element of speed, something that will not only be a benefit for the air attack, but also help the running game.
"With him back, everybody else will respect our passing game," said running back Jonathan Dwyer. "We have a great group already, and with one more person and the speed he brings to the game, that just adds another dimension to the offense.
"With him back and the group of receivers we have and we also have good tight ends, everyone will have to respect Ben Roethlisberger's arm, which opens running lanes for us."
Rookie offensive tackle Mike Adams is getting his first taste of what things will be like when the regular season starts, as this week's practice schedule is what it's like during the regular season.
"It's been cool just to get to settle in and see how a real game week goes and also be down here on the South Side," said Adams. "The biggest difference is actual game planning and watching film on your opponents."
With a Saturday game the schedule is a little odd, but on Wednesday the team ran through what a normal in-season Thursday is like, from the walk-thru, to practice and meetings.
"I don't think it's a big switch, the schedule is better for them," said Sanders, who in his third season is used to things now. "You get finished earlier. It's a lot better. The schedule is not that hard, you just have to look at the board. It's different, but we are enjoying spending time here, in the locker room and so forth."
Most of the team's younger players won't see as much playing time this week, with the starters seeing their most extensive playing time of the preseason. And for Sanders, that means a lot of reps for him as he continues to start in Mike Wallace's absence.
"It's definitely a different vibe around here," said Sanders. "The first two preseason games were like a warm-up. This third preseason game we are simulating a regular season game. The starters are preparing to play the majority of the game. We are preparing for that."
Running back Rashard Mendenhall is off the physically unable to perform list, back to football work just seven months after tearing his ACL in the 2011 regular season finale in Cleveland.
"He looked pretty good to me," said fellow running back Jonathan Dwyer. "We'll see how he progresses. He's moving pretty well and we'll see how he does.
"That was my first time seeing him in pads and actually moving around, and he looked pretty good. He's going to get better every day and we're just helping each other out."