On The Black Side
A Steelers blog honoring the black left side of the Steelers' helmet - By Neal Coolong
Tuesday, September 2

(Editor's note: This is an email exchange On The Black Side had with One For The Other Thumb editor Chris Cotter. Both side agree there are better ways to spend one's time than watching the Tyra Show, and that James Harrison is a scary individual. We get into more Steelers-related topics, including dubbing a new PermaName for Lawrence Timmons, and even throw a reference to a few really campy movies.)

On The Black Side:

What's up, Cotter? I'm in the clothes I wore (Sunday) night simply because I don't have to change if I don't want to. I'm going to eat potato chips (Lay's) for lunch and probably flip on a Season 3 Simpsons DVD. I love holidays.

What are you up to? That sounds lovely.

Now...are we expecting too much from Pittsburgh's linebacking unit this year? Neither Woodley nor Timmons are game-proven over an entire season and while I love the guy, I'm not ready to proclaim Silverback the next Greg Lloyd. But do you think this group has the potential to be one of the best units this team has seen in the past several seasons?

When have the Steelers had Timmons' speed on the inside? When in the past seven seasons has one of their OLBs had Woodley's size and quickness? Is anyone on earth not afraid of Silverback?

Oh yeah, and we've got that James Farrior guy still there. Ya know, the dude who misses games about as often as Alaskan Governors get VP nominations.

One For The Other Thumb:

Morning Senor,

Sounds like you’re thoroughly enjoying your Labor Dabor as everyone should – dirty and fatty. Me? My pants are off right now...wait, what?

Moving on...

I think it’s pretty obvious that our linebacking corps is going to be the strongest part of our Defense this year. Which is good, because hopefully that’ll mean Lebeau will readily exercise his creative genius in coming up with inventive ways to allow Woodley, Timmons (hereinafter referred to as, “The InTimmonator” or “The Law”), Farrior and that ravenous ape on the weak side to wreak havoc on Carson Palmer and company.

Number one, Silverback is a monster. Another season like last year and he’ll be right up there with Greg Lloyd in my mind. Have you seen him in preseason? He’s a FORCE, man. And to answer your question – I firmly believe there is no one on earth that isn’t afraid of him. Not even Chuck Norris. Or Brian Billick...

As for the young’ns -- overall, like you said, it’s great to have two young guys full of talent who appear to be ready to dominate. Not only does the InTimmonator have speed, but the best part is...he’s still only 22! And Woodley, well, let’s put it this way – the dude wasn’t even an every down player last year and he still had four sacks. That was one more than starting inside ‘backer, Larry Foote and the same as strong side ‘backer, Clark “Raising Arizona” Haggans. I’m honestly pissing my pants in anticipation of watching him make opposing QBs hurt this season.

Matt Schaub – you are on notice. We’re six days from gameday. Prepare thyself accordingly. I suggest not showing up.

Is that an adequate response?


On The Black Side:

Henceforth, from Sept. 1, 2008, Lawrence Timmons shall forever be known as "The Law," a la Judge Dredd.

Ya know, I watched the first hour of that movie thinking it was a joke. Apparently, it was supposed to be serious. At least Last Action Hero was obviously a joke. And we got a very underrated AC/DC song out of it.

(My fiance is watching the Tyra Show. This email will also serve as grounds for divorce at some point. You're my witness.)

I think a combination of play-making linebackers and the return of Ryan Clark at free safety will create a mix of talent and savvy that will allow LeBeau to create defensive looks only seen on other planets, and possibly straight from hell itself. The Monster Backer look with Keisel standing up didn't provide the pass rush they wanted, largely because no one else rushing had Harrison's explosion. Re-enter Polamalu, along with a solid deep defender (Clark) and Woodley, you've got a a pass rush that could possibly equal the amount of sacks Pittsburgh's offensive line is assumed to give up this year.

Speaking of that...Marvel Smith was blocking Jared Allen and Willie Colon was on Ray Edwards in Minnesota...and Ben survived! Is it just maybe slightly possible that the line won't be as big a factor this year as the trendy analysis suggests?

One For The Other Thumb:

Judge Dredd...wasn’t that a comic book or something? Don’t think I ever saw that one. I was probably too busy watching such cinematic treasures as Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Wayne's World 2.

Anyways, I honestly think trying to run Keisel around is a losing venture. Under Dick LeBeau, the line’s main job is to tie up O lineman so that our master ‘backers can descend easily on the pocket and it’s respective inhabitants (be it RB, QB, FB, or otherwise). This worked fine with Kimo, Big Snack and Aaron Smith (aka Superman). But you’ll notice that when Keisel took over for Kimo, Joey Porter’s stats went far south. Of course, so did Joey’s play (and eventually his body...south to Miami in case I’m not being clear enough). But I think it’s possible that Keisel’s pass rushing style may have contributed to that.

As far as the O Line goes, I’m still reserving my judgment. While they haven’t been putrid this preseason, they certainly haven’t shown enough to instill any confidence that they’ll be significantly less porous than they were last year. Example A – Willie Colon’s whiff on Ray Edwards in that same game you mentioned. I’m not so worried about the left side. But the right side could be a source of trouble for us. Kendall Simmons wasn’t that great last year and I’m still not sure why Willie Colon is starting at RT. Say what you want about Max Starks, but in my opinion, he’s the better option at that position.

Then again, hey, what do I know? I just write a blog...

Oh, and I have good news for you – I believe Minnesota has actually just added “Watches the Tyra Banks Show” as an official grounds for legal dissolution of a marriage. This of course used to be lumped into “irreconcilable differences,” but clearly Minnesota has a big enough problem on their hands so as to facilitate this handy excuse for you and others who desire a partner that can recognize quality television programming.

PS – my blurb on your triumphant return, for tomorrow’s OFTOT post =

“Some of you may remember Neal from his stint last season at Die Hard Steel. Well, unbeknownst to him, his site was yanked from the interwebs by the admin without but an email letting him know to secure any outstanding content. Nevertheless, our hero trudged on in the face of adversity and set up his new blog home at, On The Black Side. The name is a play on the fact that the Steelers helmet has only one logo. So I'd like to officially welcome Neal back to the Steelers blogdome, and I strongly encourage all ye who crave Steelers analysis for the next 17 weeks (and hopefully more) to check OTBS out. Now if we could just get Neal up on skates, we'd have something.”


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