The Miami Dolphins came up on the short side of a 19-point margin of victory for the second straight weekend when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The game demonstrated some glaring deficiencies for the Dolphins, but it also had some positive aspects as well. Unfortunately, the stock watch for the Dolphins continues to be a bear market.
Stock Up: Lamar Miller, running back - Is there any doubt that Miller saw his stock go up during this game? Miller ripped several big runs, the longest of which was a 24-yard gain in the third quarter, just after Miami had sacked Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith for a safety and appeared to be gaining the momentum needed to mount a come back. While the come back never materialized, Miller ran for 108 yards on just 15 carries, giving him a 7.2 yards per carry average. A week after the team lost Knowshon Moreno to a dislocated elbow, Miller stepped up his game and performed beyond expectations. He was the only Dolphins player with more than two carries on the day, and he is deserving of an upgraded stock rating.
Stock Down: Ryan Tannehill, quarterback - Miami's third-year signal caller gives the team the best chance for long term success, but he clearly has not shown that early in the season. It is so bad for Tannehill right now that there is speculation that he could be benched as early as this upcoming week against the Oakland Raiders. That really is not likely (though not out of the realm of possibility), but it does point to the struggles Tannehill has had lately. Whether the issues are related to the new offense, the changes to his footwork over the offseason, or something else, Tannehill is in his third year now and has to improve his game if he wants to continue to be the starting quarterback of this team.
Stock Up: Jelani Jenkins, linebacker - Jenkins has established himself as a presence on the Miami defense, stepping into the starting role when Dannell Ellerbe was lost for the season. He recorded 15 tackles, with 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits, on Sunday, his second straight game with double digit tackles and his first career sacks. He hsa led the team in tackles the last two games, and was just one behind Jimmy Wilson in Week 1. He constantly seems to be everywhere on the field, and his value to the team is skyrocketing right now.
Stock Down: Miami receivers - Like Tannehill and 19-point deficits, this is the second straight week the Dolphins receivers have been an issue. Last week's stock down writeup started, "Somewhere along the line, Miami's receivers (including running backs and tight ends) forgot how to catch the ball." Nothing changed this week. Drops are a big problem for the team right now, and there is not really an excuse for it. Tannehill's performances may be struggling, but he is not being helped at all when receiver after receiver puts catchable passes on the ground.
Stock Up: Dolphins defensive line - The defensive line came to play against the Chiefs, tallying three-and-a-half sacks, five tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, and constant pressure on Alex Smith. Olivier Vernon, Derrick Shelby, and Jared Odrick each brought down Smith, with Randy Starks the other half of one of Jenkins' sacks. Shelby also recovered a fumble on the day. Miami's defensive front has been dominate against the pass this year. They need to tighten down against the run, but as long as teams are trying to pass against the Dolphins, this front should be able to make quarterbacks pay.
Stock Down: Damien Williams, running back - Williams being on the stock down list is really more of a reflection on his lack of playing time than necessarily him playing poorly. With Moreno out of the game, Williams should have had a chance to prove he can spell Miller. Instead, he had one carry for negative three yards. Meanwhile, the newly re-signed Daniel Thomas was able to step back onto the field and run hard, carrying the ball twice for 15 yards and adding a reception for 21 yards. Williams did record a kick return, gaining 25 yards, but after a week that saw Jarvis Landry record some questionable return ability, Williams was not able to make coaches give him a closer look. An undrafted free agent, Williams has a lot of time to pick up his game, but he is definitely a little lower this week than he was last week.