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August 28, 2014

PS4: Dolphins 14, St. Louis 13 (Final): Scrubs rally for 3-1 preseason, postgame thoughts ; plus if Philbin had a porn 'stache, '15 draft & more

1aa1abowtie1) It is THURSDAY, AUGUST 28. Today is National Bow Tie Day. "Things I would not be caught dead wearing." 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins Miller vs. Moreno poll, Upset Bird Countdown, dueling books, SNL verdict, J-Lo's booty & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

NFL gets tough on domestic violence: NFL is implementing a new policy against domestic violence that entails a six-game suspension for first offense and possible lifteime ban for a second. It's in response to criticism that Ray Rice's two-game suspension was lenient. '"I didn't get it right," commissioner Roger Goodell admitted.

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UPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 8 DAYS:
 The Upset Bird and I launch our 24th season of NFL Friday
1aa1abird8Page predictions in the Miami Herald in 8 days, on Sept. 5. To celebrate we have a daily countdown honoring notable fictional birds of different species. Today (following Owlsley the FAU Owl), we welcome P. Martin "Shoe" Shoemaker, the curmudgeonly, cigar-chomping newspaper editor from the comic strip, Shoe. BTW, the "P. Martin" in the name derives from Shoe's aviary species. He's a purple martin.

 

Invasion of the Football Sections!: Herald's annual preview sections are now online and hit the paper Friday. My contributions:

Dolphins column. Angel, devil duel for the soul of Dolfans.

NFL Ranking. I rate teams 1-32, slot Miami as playoff-bound.

Hurricanes column. Search continues for Next Great Quarterback.

PS4: ST. LOUIS @ DOLPHINS: FINAL DRESS REHEARSAL: Miami ends preseason 3-1 with a comeback win on a scrubs-filled night. Quick thoughts: I think Daniel Thomas (13-38, 1 TD) may have done just enough to secure the third RB spot. Thought defense played OK, considering only STL touchdown was set up by an interception. Hope Seth Lobato makes squad as third QB (I doubt it), just so I can keep referring to his successful drives as Lobatomies. ..... Original post: [Note: In honor of tonight's opponent we present what Dolphins coach Joe Philbin might look like if he had a '70s porn mustache like Rams coach
Jeff Fisher]
Ask me what in all of sports is both meaningless and crucial at the same time and I'd 1aa1azjoepanswer, "An NFL team's final preseason game." For the





Dolphins that's tonight at home vs. St. Louis. It's meaningless in that starters will play very, very little if at all and who wins will be no barometer of anything. Going into the regular season healthy is the aim; the result isn't. But tonight is crucial for players on the bottom third of the roster -- the guys fighting for their professional lives. Miami must trim from a current 75 players to 53 by late Saturday afternoon. A few key decisions arising from tonight: 1. Wide receivers--Last year Miami mostly played with four but this year could keep a fifth or even sixth after big-four Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and Jarvis Landry. Will Rishard Matthews or anyone else nail down a spot? 2. Running backs--It's a juddle after big-two Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller. Can former second-round pick Daniel Thomas, in his preseason debut, scramble to make the squad? Will there be room for Damien Williams or the exquisitely named Orleans Darkwa? 3. Mike Pouncey--Club must decide whether to place him on PUP list, making him ineligible for first six games, or spend an active roster spot on him and hope he's ready sooner. Final note: Miami is 2-1 in the preseason and a win for 3-1 would look pretty good, right? But would it matter? For fun, I researched the years the Dolphins have lost no more than one preseason game and how that correlated to the regular season. Conclusion: Small sample, but some correlation, yes. The 15 preseasons with zero or one loss have been followed by a playoff spot eight times. And only three of those 15 times has a sub-.500 record followed.

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: Our postgame polls are back for another season starting when the games count. Look for first DSM poll Sept. 7.

Rams' Showergate: Rams were in the news this week because starting QB Sam Bradford was lost for the season to an injury and also because ESPN apologized for airing a report that discussed the showering habits of openly gay Michael Sam. Reporter Josina Anderson quoted an unnamed player saying Sam was "respecting our space, kind of waiting to take a shower." Fisher blasted the report as "extremely disappointing" and "very, very unprofessional."

Poll result: Dolfans want Moreno over Miller, by a lot: We asked if you hope Lamar Miller or Knowshon Moreno will be named the Dolphins' starting running back (you may still vote) and get the most carries. Few of our blog poll results surprise me, but this one sort of did. Moreno won in a rout with 73.0 percent. I thought it would be close or that Miller, the incumbent and an ex-Cane, might even win.

1aa1afsuEXPERTS SEE A FLORIDA STATE REPEAT TITLE: ESPN surveyed its 23 college football writers on which four teams will make the inaugural playoffs this season and the top four vote-getters were defending champ Florida State (22), Alabama (17), Michigan State (15) and Oregon/UCLA (tied with 9). Picks for top two to reach the title game were FSU (16) and Alabama (12). Top pick to win it all: Seminoles (12).

Way-early 2015 draft projections: Mel Kiper favors us with his Top 25 guys likely to be in the draft
1aa1adenzelpand he has FSU QB Jameis Winston No. 1. Other state players are Florida DE Dante Fowler (13th) and FSU DE Mario Edwards (18th). Rival Todd McShay one-ups Mel with a Top 32 and includes Winston (4th), Fowler (8th), Edwards (20th), Miami LB Denzel Perryman (pictured, 25th) and FSU WR Rashad Greene (32nd).

Check back often because we update and add to our latest blogposts an awful lot...

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