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August 15, 2014

PS2: Dolphins 20, Tampa Bay 14 (Final): Moore, defense shine; plus Mark D'Onofrio yay/nay poll (vote now), your cheer/boo verdict on LeBron & more

1) It is SUNDAY, AUGUST 17. In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBron cheer-or-boo poll, Top 10 Heat home games, Tony Stewart, Chinese football, Miss BumBum & more. 2) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

Watch for new blogpost coming later today including latest Hot Button Top 10.

DSM reminder: The Dolfan Statisfaction Meter polls will be back in the blog this year, but they begin with the regular season. Look for the first one on Sept. 7.

PS2: DOLPHINS 20, TAMPA BAY 14: MOORE, DEFENSE LIFT MIAMI: Final: Ryan Tannehill was good, Matt Moore was better, Brady Quinn got his feet wet and the three Miami QBs combined for 26-for-37 for 280 yards tonight. Ground game sputtered (25-47) but offense was solid overall, with line allowing only one sack. Team also got 48- and 51-yard field goals from newly signed John Potter after a pregame groin strain by Caleb Sturgis. Dolphins' defense also was stout, limiting Bucs to 250 yards and recording five sacks. An all-round solid performance and improvement over last week as preseason reaches midway point. ..... Half: Matt Moore a sharp 10-for-14 including a 9-yard TD pass to Rishard Matthews. Ryan Tannehill also solid in half. Still wish first unit had played a bit longer. play ofhalf for Miami was Brent Grimes' strip near the goalline that turned a 42-yard Bucs scoring play into a touchback and Miami possession. Great hustle by the veteran corner. The huge negative in the half? The running game, or lack thereof. Dolphins had nine carries for minus-five yards. Embarrassing. ..... Original post: The Dolphins have a problem situation that is unique in the NFL, a situation that should make the rules for their preseason different from other 1aa1adolbucteams, and different from the typical August. Miami is the only team in the league with both a new offense and a whole new offensive line trying to learn it. That, for me, changes what coach Joe Philbin's mindset should be in these exhibitions. Usually the starters play increasingly in the first three exhibition games (but still not very much), and then maybe not at all in the final warmup game. In keeping with that norm, QB Ryan Tannehill and the first team basically played only the first series of last week's loss in Atlanta, looking very good, then disappearing. Expect a bit more first-unit action tonight upstate. I'd like to see a lot more. Next week, too. The new, coalescing line would greatly benefit. So would the new Bill Lazor offense in general. Sure, there would be increased injury risk open to second guessing. But this isn't a typical preseason for this team. Getting a longer look at the depth guys who'll be Nos. 45-53 on the roster is not as important as this new offense being totally in-synch and fully charged entering the regular season.

ONUS ON D'ONOFRIO'S DEFENSE AS CANES SEASON NEARS: Today was a "Football's Back In Case You Didn't Know It" day, as the Hurricanes held their annual Media Day event concurrently with the Dolphins 1aa1adonofriostaging their annual Kickoff Luncheon. At the UM interview-fest no assistant coach drew a bigger throng of inquisitors than defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio (pictured). I'd have referred to D'Onofrio as "embattled," except he and bossman Al Golden are close buds, so I'd doubt seriously if his defensive chief is in any jeopardy. They go way back to Penn State as teammates, and D'Onofrio also served on Golden's Temple staff. D'Onofrio I think is embattled, though, in terms of the way Canes fans view him -- and with reason. UM's defense has seemed in decline since his first season of 2011, when the opponent average of 20.1 points was solid. In 2012 that average shot to an unacceptbale 30.5. Last season it was 24.0, but included a gruesome stretch when the D allowed 41, 42 and 48 points in consecutive losses. UM enters this season talking improvement but boasting only one preseason All-ACC defender in linebacker Denzel Perryman. What is your degree of faith in D'Onofrio as the Sept. 1 opener nears? Vote and say why.

Poll result: Mostly cheers for LeBron's return, but lots of boos, too: We asked what reaction LeBron James deserves Dec. 25 when he returns to Miami for the first time (you may still vote), and 44.6 percent said "cheering," 24.4% said "booing" and 31.0% said a mix of both. We are officially conflicted, people.

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