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August 17, 2013

PS3: Houston 24, Dolphins 17: Biggest test yet. Tannehill to Wallace finally hits, but Keller injury is big!; plus AP preseason poll, LeBron, Fox Sports 1 result & more

1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 19. Click on Random Evidence for my latest Sunday notes column. 2) Amused that Dwyane Wade says he is hopeful the Heat's Big 3 will stay together beyond this coming season. Ask yourself, though, "If the whole point is to defuse controversy and distraction, what else would he say in August?" 3) ESPN is close enough to a monopoly that I do not like Fox Sports 1's chances to make a big dent. Regis Philbin!? That's a joke, right? 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): ESPN girds for latest attack, Offerdahl on Honor Roll, college football predictions & more. 5) Join us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird) and Vine (Greg Cote).

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter returns: We'll be back with a sixth season of Dolfan Satisfaction Meter polls appearing in the blog right after every Dolphins game. But as always the polls begin with the regular season, not the preseason. Watch for the first DSM on Sept. 8.

PS3: HOUSTON 24, DOLPHINS 17: TANNEHILL-TO-WALLACE ENCOURAGING, BUT KELLER HURT: Miami was outgained 2-to-1 in total yards and the pass defense was shaky at best, so, the score was more competitive than the Dolphins were with one of the NFL's best teams. Encouraging signs, though, included a big one: Ryan Tannehill connecting three times for 58 yards to Mike Wallace, including a 33-yard strike and a 9-yard TD pass. Tannehill (10-15, 141 yards) looked sharp. Also, a Brent Grimes interception reflected his strong training camp. The injury that looks like it will shelve tight end Dustin Keller for the season is big, but let's not overdramatize it and retroactively make like Keller was a Pro Bowl dominator. If the Patriots can withstand the erasure of Aaron Hernandez and injury of Rob Gronkowski, let's not act like Miami's offense is now doomed by the absence of Keller. Overall, at 1-2 with two exhibitions to go we still have no real sense of how good Miami will be, but Tannehill-to-Wallace was a positive coming out of this one as much as the Keller injury was a negative. (Apologies for not being here during the game or updating immediately afterward. Out of town family obligations prevented the former, and connectivity issues the latter. ..... Original post: Tonight should be a better gauge than what we've had on how good the Dolphins are. The Hall of Fame Game was like an early walk-through even by preseason standards, and last week brought a really 1aa1dolhoubad opponent in Jacksonville. Tonight offers a strong foe in Houston, which is dreaming Super Bowl. And the third of five exhibitions is (hopefully) a time to start 1aa1dolps3polishing a bit and play starters more. Specifically, some game interaction between Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace would be nice (and encouraging), considering he missed PS1 and then wasn't even thrown to last week. A deep connection or TD pass to Wallace would be both meaningless but meaningful if you know what I mean. Dolfans are looking for tangible signs Wallace was worth the big money and Tanny is poised to make a big step. Also will be interested to see new kicker Caleb Sturgis tonight with a little weight on him for the first time. On the Houston side, LB Brian Cushing is expected to make his debut and play for the first time since a Game 5 season-ending injury last year. That dresses the night with a little more of an occasion-feel for the Texans. Finally, struggling Miami left tackle Jonathan Martin will see a supreme challenge, at least in small doses, in pass-batting J.J. Watt, who might be the best defensive player in the NFL. In sum, an impressive show by Miami tonight will be legitimately encouraging. (Note: I'm out of town this weekend but will make a Herculean effort to be here at least sporadically during the game and then offer postgame thoughts. Meanwhile, talk amongst yourselves. There's an open bar).

Poll result: Split feelings on ESPN vulnerability: With Fox Sports 1's hyped rollout today, we asked how vulernable you think ESPN is (you may still vote), and 51.5 percent said the "Worldwide Leader" should be concerned, when last we checked, versus 48.5% who said otherwise. That may be one of the closest votes we have ever had on an either/or question. (That means I think it is, but I'm too lazy to do the research).

CANES JUST MISS IN AP PRESEASON FOOTBALL POLL: The Associated Press college football poll still is 1aa1ap25the Granddaddy of 'em all, to me, and of course Alabama is a near-unanimous No. 1 in Saturday's preseason Top 25. (Aside the the one voter who chose Ohio State: Either Nick Saban stole your wife, or you're an idiot). Gators check in No. 10 and Seminoles No. 11. U-Miami is fourth in "others receiving votes," tantamount to a No. 29 ranking out the gate. An early-season game vs. Florida gives the Canes a big shot to leap high and fast up the rankings.

ROYALTY: LEBRON GETS POLICE ESCORT TO SHOW: LeBron James got special passage to last night's Jay-Z/Justin Timberlake concert at Dolphins stadium; click here for details. This is no surprise. LeBron is King. I'd have been only slightly less surprised if James had leaped on stage and grabbed a mic. Or if the concert had been moved to his house to avoid his needing to drive there in the first place.

Click back. Hope to be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...

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