1) It is THURSDAY, AUGUST 1. Welcome, new month. We've been expecting you. 2) Dear Heat: Please talk LeBron James out of running for NBA players association president, as is rumored. Major distraction. 3) Dear Joe Philbin: Enough with the secrecy! If a player misses a practice, say why. If he has an injury, say what. Simple. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins-or-UM most wins poll, LeBron makes best-dressed list, collball football odds, Marlins winning back fans?, U.S. soccer, regrettable tats & more. 5) You are invited to join us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).
Canes narrowly miss preseason Top 25: Miami Hurricanes have second-most among "others receiving votes" just outside USA Today/Coaches preseason football poll, tantamount to a No. 27 opening rank for UM. Top three are Alabama-Ohio State-Oregon, with Florida 10th and Florida State 12th. That all but assures the Canes are likely to be ranked at 1-0 after if they beat FAU on Aug. 30.
DOLPHINS' LEFT TACKLE BETTER DO HIS JOB. THE TANNEHILLS ARE ARMED: Dolphins left tackle Jonathan Martin, protector of Ryan Tannehill's blind side, had better do his job this season because Lauren Tannehill has been taking shooting lessons at a gun range and she does not want her husband's pretty face rearranged or his body damaged. Martin is pictured left, hopefully not raising his arms in surrender because he senses Lauren (right) is aiming at him. (Ryan also has been to the range; see below. His-and-her guns, ain't it cute!) Left tackle is one of the most important positions on the field, and it is the single-biggest Dolphins concern as the preseason approaches. I explore fully in today's latest column; click on The Problem That Is Left to read. Miami wanted to re-sign Jake Long, but didn't. Tried to trade for Branden Albert, but didn't. Could have drafted Lane Johnson, but didn't. Tried to sign Bryant McKinnie, but didn't. What's left to protect Tannehill's blind side is the second-year guy Martin, whose spotty training camp has not inspired confidence. I see an improved Dolphins team, but what I see missing is a quality left tackle, and that's big.
RILEY COOPER'S BIG MESS: Riley Cooper is a white wide receiver in the NFL. That alone makes him somewhat unusual. So does this: A YouTube video that surfaced yesterday (click here) in which the fourth- year Eagle threatens to "fight every [N-word] here" while at a Kenny Chesney concert. Riley (pictured), who admits he'd been drinking, was angry because a security guard (who was black) would not let him backstage. Riley has since been fined by his team and apologized profusely, saying he was "ashamed and disgusted" at himself. I'll be curious about the repercussions. Paula Deen lost her Food Network job over revelations she'd used the N-word, and Cooper, unlike Paula, operates in a world where most of his coworkers -- teammates and opponents -- are African-American. Will he survive this? Cooper's contrition seems genuine, but I sure wouldn't want to be him today.
NFL GIVES PRO BOWL FACELIFT WITH AWFUL NEW FORMAT: Everybody including the NFL knew the AFC vs. NFC Pro Bowl was awful and of negligible interest, so the all-star game has a brand new format that is quite ridiculous: A fantasy-like "draft" to fill each roster. Gone is the conference vs. conference format. Now, the fan vote will name the best players regardless; for example, of six QBs, four or five might be from one conference. Teams will be picked in a televised Jan. 22 draft conducted by honorary captains Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders, the two leading vote-getters and two NFL.com fantasy-league champs. The newly reconstituted Pro Bowl will air Jan. 26 from Hawaiii and will continue to be not watched in droves.
Poll result: Expectations higher for Canes than for Dolphins: We asked whether you thought the Dolphins or Hurricanes would win more games this season, and it was 62.7 percent for UM vs. 28.4% for the Dolphins. The other 8.9% said the victory totals would be the same.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost as sure as you're sitting there pretending to work...