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July 26, 2014

What's your faith in Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus Hot Button Top 10, Joe Philbin, Morgan Freeman does LeBron & more

1aa1amick1) It is MONDAY, JULY 28. Just learned our recent column headlined "LeBron James' departure leaves Miami Heat fans divided" was the most-read thing locally and nationally on MiamiHerald.com last week. Thanks, readers. 2) Mick Jagger turned 71. Rock on and roll on, Mick! 3) Frank Caliendo as Morgan Freeman as LeBron James reading his back-home essay is hilarious. Click HERE if you haven't heard it, or to enjoy it again. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Welcome back football/Dolphins expectations poll, college football betting odds, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

1aa1ajoepPhilbin on hot seat: I write in my latest column that Dolphins coach Joe Philbin must get Dolphins into playoffs this season or see his job in peril. Click Impatience = Imperative to read. For other recent columns click A Distraction to Embrace (Michael Sam) and Opportunity and Responsibility (Football Town).

Dolphins, NFL victory over/unders: New from Bovada, latest NFL over/unders on wins show Dolphins at 7.5, not a playoff number but still second in AFC East after Patriots (11) but ahead of Jets (7) and Bills (6.5). Joining Pats in double-digit club: Broncos at 11.5, Seahawks at 11, 49ers and Packers both 10.5, and Saints 10.

"Are you rooting for LeBron to win at least one championship with the Cavaliers?": ESPN SportsNation asked, and 63 percent overall say yes. The only state answering no: Oklahoma at 57%. The closest with only 52% yes: Florida and Illinois.

WHAT IS OUR FAITH IN RYAN TANNEHILL ENTERING HIS CRITICAL YEAR 3?: NFL quarterbacks are said to make their biggest advance entering Year 3, such as Ryan Tannehill is right now. That is only one of many 1aa1artannyfactors putting pressure on Tannehill to have a big season and end the Dolphins' playoff drought. Others include the team bolstering its offensive line with Brandon Albert and Ja'Wuan James, adding Jarvis Landry to an already solid receiving corps, beefing up the 1aa1alaurentground game with Knowshon Moreno and hiring a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor. All of these things remove the excuses that have protected Tannehill and put the onus on him to show us how good he can be. Click on Tannehill Under Pressure to read our column discussing all of this, off tghe opening of training camp. But enough of my opinion. I want yours. I know you wholeheartedly approve of hottie-wife Mrs. Lauren Tannehill, gratuitously pictured at left, but I'm asking here how you feel about her husband. We had this same poll question last year, and I'll find it interesting to compare results, gauge the level of faith in Tannehill, and see if it is trending upward or not. So take a dip in our poll. Vote and say why.

Poll result: Dolfan expectations modest to low: We asked in the previous blogpost if you expected -- not hoped, but expected -- the Dolphins to make the playoffs, and it was 38.7 percent yes for a breakthrough and 61.3% no for more disappointment. "No" votes were actually a bit higher (62.6%) in Florida, where a greater concentration of Dolfans might be assumed.

HOT BUTTON: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Hot Button 1aa1ahotbuttonis a newish feature of the blog because our Sunday notes-column package in the print edition (newspaper) is on hiatus until August. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1. Dolphins: The heat is on: Curiously, Ryan Tannehill said, "the pressure's off" as Miami opened training camp. Funny, but I would think that, for a QB and a head coach trying to establish themselves and a franchise seeking its first playoff win since 2000, the pressure might be closer to on.

2. Marlins: Signs of life: Erratic Fish surfed strong pitching to win six of past seven games entering today's game. Playoff contention is back on the horizon, although binoculars still are required.

3. Cooperstown: Big six: Baseball Hall of Fame inductions today include slugger Frank Thomas, aces Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and mega-managers Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre. And other than LaRusss'a blind eye to Mark McGwire, not a whiff of steroids!

4. UM football: Preparations begin: It is 35 days until the Canes' Sept. 1 season opener at Louisville. Do you know who your starting quarterback is? (Neither does Al Golden). UM has two players, RB Duke Johnson and LB Denzel Perryman, on preseason All-ACC team. That bad news? FSU has nine.

5. Soccer: Guinness on: The eight-team Guinness International Champions Cup is undereway with the title match Aug. 4 at Dolphins stadium. The World Cup just ended. Remind yourself you love soccer, right?

6. Tour de France: All Nibali: Italy's Vincenzo Nibali seemed a cinch to win cycling's signature event ending today in Paris, pending post-race urinalysis results. 

7. Heat: All quiet: Quiet, non-newsy week for the Heat. But they still make our top 10 because I don't want them to think that, post-LeBron, we stopped caring.

8. Outdoors: Lobster time: South Florida's annual two-day lobster miniseason is Wednesday and Thursday. You can fight the crowds and fish your own spiny delights out of the sea. Or you can quit being so cheap and go to Publix like me.

9. British Open: All Rory: Rory McIlroy won golf's latest major wire-to-wire. That reminds me. Whatever happened to Tiger Woods? Does he still play?

10. Panthers: Big Cubano: Cats have a new backup goaltender, Al Montoya, nicknamed "Big Cubano." I'd call that pandering or smart PR if I thought there was such thing as Cuban hockey fans.

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