On The Black Side
A Steelers blog honoring the black left side of the Steelers' helmet - By Neal Coolong
(Editor's note: Blog Soup appears once a week, highlighting our five favorite posts from top Steelers-based web sites and blogs. If you have a nomination, or would like your site considered, email Neal Coolong at ncoolong@gmail.com or make a comment below.)

It's a great day to not labor. It's also a nice day to avoid the impending riots brewing outside the Republican National Convention in St. Paul (approximately four miles from On The Black Side's headquarters). We've been spending much of our time gathering our nominations for this week's Blog Soup, a list of the five best posts from the past few days from the best Steelers writers in the Blogosphere.

It's new, we just got going with it, so you'll forgive a somewhat lack of consistency with the format. It'll be tightened up, we swear on the five Lombardis on the South Side.

Anyway...here they are.

5. RF 365 gettin' Woods

My colleague at Real Football 365, Kyle Chrise, writes up a quick-take on some of the final roster decisions the Steelers made Saturday. The highlight of the final cutdown was the inclusion of Donovan Woods - a longshot to even make the practice squad.

Chrise writes:
Woods, an undrafted rookie who played some quarterback and safety at Oklahoma State before moving to linebacker, is a roster surprise. He had a sack in each of the last two preseason games.
Woods, the younger brother of Sooners legends Rashaun and Dejuan Woods, is the only undrafted rookie to make the roster.

4. OFTOT establishes PS supremacy on the B-Sphere

Long-time bloggist friend Cotter at One For The Other Thumb (OFTOT) sets new highs even for him with the second part of his Season Preview series (you can see Part I here).

We'll ignore the fact Willie Reid, Cotter's predicted Week 9 hero is now on Philadelphia's practice squad. Other than that, one of the main reasons I wrote in my intro post that I'm not going to go the Photoshopped Pictures route is because I couldn't possibly compete with him. Pay particular attention to Week 14.

3. Wannstache loves him some '9ers

Anyone who can spend 1,500 words selling me on the San Francisco 49ers as this year's sleeper team in the NFC, I'm gonna pay attention.

Wannstache of Doubt About it got my attention.

He does something most writers getting paid more than he and I times 200 combined conveniently ignore when it comes to making such predictions: basic fiancial motivation.

His words:
I had wanted to write about the Texans (who will make the playoffs, by the way. That’s for the NFL Preview post later this week, though). Alas, they were not on the list, and I didn’t want to take the easy way out by picking the Jets (which I’m sure Sam will do). So, I opted for the team that plays in a crappy division in the NFC with a head coach that will be fighting for his job.

The San Francisco 49ers.
Mike Nolan is certainly gone if the 49ers don't make an impressive showing this season. With the NFC West largely open between three teams at least making an argument for their claim at the top, Wannstache avoids the obvious pick of the New York Favres, and goes with a solid choice and an even better argument.

2. Slight holiday mix-up, bigger prediction problem

Not that it is Memorial Day, like Blitzburgh seemingly says in error, but it's a nice thought all the same. Blitzburgh at Behind the Steel Curtain (the best Steelers-based site name on the Net) goes through some observations about The Hated Bengals.

His words:
There is a part of me that thinks that Carson Palmer, TJ Houshmanzadeh and Chad Johnson are good enough to keep the Bengals relevant. And it's hard to imagine the Bengals suffering as much bad luck injury wise on the defensive side of the ball as they did last year. Those two realities (at least in my mind) are enough to make me believe they're no worse than a 7 win football team, but, when I stopped to think twice (or rather, a third time) about the internal dynamics of the team, I stopped myself in my tracks and thought better of it.
We'll forgive you this once, Blitzburgh, for the honor of Memorial Day. May the words "Bengals" and "relavent" never be used in an affirmative tense again. A very well-written post, all joking aside. Very sensible, and the kind of copy you want to know will consistently be there. It always is on BSC.

1. Steel Curtain Rising the pall of the media

Steel Curtain Rising has a really interesting "semi regular feature" which, they say, "casts a critical eye on the press coverage of Steelers."

In this particular edition, SCR talks about a meeting between the four Rooney brothers looking to sell their stakes in the team and Stanley Druckenmiller, the billionaire hedge fund manager who is rumored to be in line to purchase the majority share from them.

Fantastic feature. It's like what Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk does with the legalese behind contracts and union disputes in the league, but aimed at the media. More writers trained in journalism and communication analysis should write sites like this.


The Steelers announced their 2008 Practice Squad, writes Dale Lolley of Steel City Insider and the Observer-Reporter.

From SCI:

Each of the eight players added to the Steelers’ practice squad were in training camp with the team this summer. All NFL teams were able to sign a maximum of eight players to their practice squad beginning at noon today.

The players signed by the Steelers include: LB Patrick Bailey, CB Roy Lewis, S Grant Mason, OT Jeremy Parquet, DT Scott Paxson, WR Micah Rucker, TE Dezmond Sherrod and RB Justin Vincent.

Wide receiver Marvin Allen was also designated to the team’s practice squad as a part of the NFL’s international player development program.


Former Steeler Wilson suspended for one game
Not that he's currently on a team, but if/when he is, he will have to sit out one game.

Former Steelers WR Cedrick Wilson was suspended for a game, according to NFL.com's Adam Schefter. He allegedly hit his girlfriend at a restaurant back in March.

At the time, the big brouha was about how Wilson was punished, and nothing happened to Pro Bowl outside linebacker James Harrison, who was accused of the same crime. Harrison told Steelers owner Dan Rooney right after the incident. Reports were that Rooney found out about Wilson through a reporter calling asking for comment.

Now, no one seems to care about either incident. Harrison wasn't on the commissioner's list of damned, so it's probably safe to say nothing will happen to Silverback. Moral to the story, 'fess up to the situation directly with the owner of the team immediately after it happens.

It seems to help to be Catholic, too.

If anything, it simply brings up how the Steelers wide receiving unit has been shaken up somewhat. With Wilson's departure, the Steelers listened to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and got some bigger receivers. Wilson and Willie Reid went out, rookie Limas Sweed and Dallas Baker, 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-3, respectively, replaced them. Last year's receiving corps averaged a little over 5-foot-10. Now, they average 6-foot-1.

Sweed is currently battling a case of the drops, and Baker has the least amount of experience of everyone on the roster except the rookies.

Perhaps that's why offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is splitting out Roethlisberger and back-up QB Byron Leftwich on a few packages.

Not that I'm complaining...JJ Cooper of AOL has a nice piece on the comforting feeling of other receivers the Steelers could have taken in 2006.


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