On The Black Side
A Steelers blog honoring the black left side of the Steelers' helmet - By Neal Coolong
Sunday, August 31
So long, Willie Reid, you didn't want us to know ye
I was eating a double cheeseburger at Wendy's with my Vikings fan friend Chuck the night the Steelers took Florida State WR Willie Reid. I munched quietly because I just had a bad feeling about him. In between bites, I complained a little bit.

"Why him? What did he do that was so spectacular?"

I never saw it, and as of Aug. 30, the Steelers released the bust Reid. I'm aware of the foot injury he had that apparently robbed him of the speed he used to have. The problem with that theory is he suffered that injury in 2006. Why wasn't he released in 2007?

It's easy to point out that Broncos WR Brandon Marshall and Ravens WR Demetrius Williams were taken not long after Reid, and no, I didn't call for GM Kevin Colbert's head for not pulling the trigger on these two, but Reid signifies one of the bigger problems Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has faced since taking over for Bill Cowher.

There are a slew of misses in the third and fourth rounds of recent drafts.

The jury is still out on 2007 third rounder Matt Spaeth or 2008's Bruce Smith (for the record, I think he's going to be a helluva player).

Reid, the 2006 third-round pick, was cut Saturday. The other third round pick from that draft is Doghouse Club Seat owner Anthony Smith. Post-Gazette writer Gerry Dulac reports the Steelers were looking to trade the 2005 and 2004 third round picks, Max Starks and Trai Essex, yesterday. Both tackles, neither start. After not drafting in the third round in 2003 (turns out to be one of the best years they've had recently at that spot), they took Florida State S Chris Hope, won a Super Bowl with him, then let him go to Tennessee.

He's by far the best third round pick of the new milennium.

Another pair of winners came in 2000 with DT Kendrick Clancy and CB Hank Poteat.

As for the fourth round, Huge Upside Bust Ryan McBean was put to rest yesterday, ending one of the more well-known careers that never resulted in a play on the field in Steelers history. He was 2007's fourth round pick. The Sepulverizer in 2007, opposite McBean has worked out, despite his knee injury this preseason. Willie Colon was a guard in 2006, and a fourth round pick, but because the third round picks, Essex and Starks, missed so badly, he took their right tackle spot, where he's not exactly imposing fear in opponents' game-planning.

Orien Harris didn't make the team in 2006. Neither did Fred Gibson in 2005. Ike Taylor worked out well in 2003 as did Larry Foote in 2002. But mix in a little Mathias Nkwenti and Danny Farmer in 2001 and 2000, respectively, and it wasn't a great decade.

Let's do some math. That's 10 picks in the fourth round from 2000 to 2008. We got a punter, two starting defensive players and a starting guard. One quasi-back-up (Nkwenti) and four guys who didn't even make the team.

That's not as bad as the third round. Anthony "The Guarantee" Smith is a back-up at best and has an attitude problem to boot. Reid couldn't beat out a seventh-round pick (Dallas Baker) who has never suited up for a game. Starks used to start, but got beat out by a guard with half as much experience. Essex is an affordable back-up who the team tried to trade. Hope left via free agency and Clancy and Poteat left a long time ago.

Hope is the only guy who would start in the NFL on merit and not injury replacement.

Don't think the Steelers won't really hope it works out for Davis, Sepulveda, Spaeth and T Tony Hills (who nearly got cut halfway through training camp).


Welcome to On The Black Side
For the 10s of people who read Die Hard Steel (don't bother clicking this link, it's been down for some time now), you may be wondering what happened to it.

Your guess is as good as mine. I'll leave it at that.

On The Black Side represents the left side of the Steelers helmet, which is intentionally left logo-less. Plus, it's a quasi-reference to the Miramax classic movie series Eddie & The Cruisers, and the song "On The Dark Side." It's a college thing.

I am in the long and arduous process of creating a web site. It will have the same name, and it'll be a little less Blogger-esque than this one. In the meantime, I'll maintain a pretty rigorous posting schedule, and my aim is to provide Steelers fans with a place to read about the latest happenings of the Five Time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

It's not just going to be a collection of links to stories written by Bouchette, Wexell, Dulac, Prisuta and other top Steelers writers (although the Blog Soup feature will contain links to several other great Steelers sites). I will use their articles and news as reference points, but I want to provide insight of my own. It will be somewhat light-hearted, but if you want schmaltzy web writing, I can point out about 85 blogs about the Steelers alone making reference to trendy pop culture themes, generic, overdone "from the cheap seats" perspectives and various other cheesy Internet gimmicks.

My goal is to provide a web site Steelers fans can read and discuss the daily activities of the team in an intelligent manner where substance and content are given higher priority than swinging at the easy joke softball, lame Photoshopped pictures or short snippets of stories, expecting you, the reader, to be entertained but not informed.

Steelers fans are not dumb. I'm not writing this because I'm impressed with myself, or because I have aspirations of taking the jobs of the aforementioned writers. I'm writing this because I enjoy writing and I want to connect with other Steelers fans. I'm a freelance journalist with a modest background of work at a few daily newspapers, and a decent amount of experience as a writer. I write a Steelers column and the Fan Pulse feature for Real Football 365, and I will be writing a Match-Ups column for Wexell at Steel City Insider again this season.

Again, I'm not trying to impress anyone, but there is a difference between quality writing and hack writing. I think I fall in between there.

Comments are encouraged. I'm even going to have a guest column spot on the new site, and consistency is going to be essential. I am never going to go more than a day without a post, and it's not going to be random stuff. I will have a feature each day of the week, and I'm hoping readers and fans can suggest some as well. I'm really hoping to meet some other like-minded fans looking to discuss the Greatest Team on Earth.

So yeah...as Worm says, there's the river, down and dirty. Drop me a line if you feel so inclined. Blog Soup is coming this afternoon.


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