The Miami Dolphins are enjoying their first off day of their 2014 training camp. After three days of practices, the team will rest today before returning for two days of workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday. While it is still very early in training camp, and the preseason in general, we still can judge who is doing well for themselves after three days of camp, and who is falling short.
Stock Up: Jarvis Landry, wide receiver - The rookie wide receiver is turning heads at training camp. He catches anything within about a 3 mile radius, and seems to always be making some sort of play. The good news is that did not change when the pads came on yesterday, so hopefully we see this continue throughout the preseason and into the regular season.
Stock Down: Offensive line - Again, it is very early in camp, so this will, hopefully, have time to work itself out, but right now, the offensive line is looking a lot like last year's offensive line. Sacks and trouble with the center-quarterback exchange dominated the first day of camp and, while the fumbled snaps seem to have declined, the sacks have not. It could be a factor of young players trying to get used to going against Pro Bowlers like Cameron Wake and Randy Starks, but when Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert is also allowing sacks, there is reason for concern. Starting five new offensive linemen is an incredible feat, and if the preseason and training camp is able to get everyone working together, the Dolphins will have a better year this year than last.
Stock Up: Daniel Thomas, running back - Thomas has come into this year playing like a running back whose job may be on the line. He is right about that, and, at least early, he seems to be making a case for holding on to the job. He has been running hard and seems to be in position to claim at least the third-down back role. Now that pads have come on, how Thomas, who should be a power runner but seems to shy away from hits, responds will be key to whether or not his stock continues to rise. A healthy Knowshon Moreno and continued development from Mike Gillislee will also continue to put pressure on Thomas, but for now, his stock is rising.
Stock Down: Isaako Aaitui, defensive tackle - This has nothing to do with Aaitui's performance so far, other than the lack of noticable plays. This has more to do with the play of AJ Francis and Anthony Johnson, who seem to be distancing themselves from the pack in the fight to backup Randy Starks, Jared Odrick, and Earl Mitchell. Aaitui is a scrapper who fought back from multiple issues, including a blown out knee in his first practice with the New York Jets in 2012, to make game appearances last year with the Dolphins. He has the skill to play at this level - he just may be stuck too far down the depth chart.
Stock Up: Ryan Tannehill, quarterback - Tannehill has been solid throughout the first few days of training camp. He needs to keep that up, of course, but he seems to be moving the ball well, making smart decisions, and starting to get the ball out of his hand faster. There are still times when it appears he holds the ball too long, and he has to get better about that, but overall, it's been a good start to camp for the Dolphins' third-year passer. The top concern for fans continues to be the deep ball, and more specifically the deep ball to Mike Wallace, but even that seems better than last year already. They missed on their first connection, but Tannehill hit Wallace a few plays later, and Tannehill has had multiple deep passes to other wide receivers as well. One early week is not enough of a sample to confirm Tannehill is "taking the next step," but it is at least a good sign.
Stock Down: Marcus Thigpen, returner - Like Aaitui above, Thigpen's stock may be dropping, not because of his play, but from the play of others. The Dolphins are clearly trying other players, like Jarvis Landry and Rishard Matthews, as return men. If one of them is able to do the job to the satisfaction of the coaching staff, Thigpen's role could quickly disappear. The team has been working him as a scatback/slot receiver type of player, but it is really all going to come down to his special teams role.
Stock up honorable mention: Rishard Matthews, wide receiver; Louis Delmas, safety; Will Davis, cornerback