The third week of the NFL Preeason is upon us, with the Miami Dolphins preparing for the "dress rehearsal" game against the Atlanta Falcons this weekend. The NFL season, and especially the preseason, is usually one of ups and downs, with players performing well, and others not so much. Who has helped themselves heading into this week's game? Whose play has dropped? We take a look in our Stock Up, Stock Down.
Stock Up: Ryan Tannehill, quarterback. Is there any doubt about who has been the most impressive this Preseason, looking more and more like the franchise quarterback many have been predicting he would be? Tannehill's stats through the first two Preseason games are 18-for-22 for 158 yards, 2 touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 126.9. It may be the preseason, but there is no doubt Miami's fourth-year quarterback looks like he is ready to come out the gate swinging this year.
Stock Down: Billy Turner, guard. Turner looked solid against the Chicago Bears, but slid back against the Carolina Panthers. He struggled in pass blocking, but also struggled in what is normally his strength, run blocking. It was not horrible, but it clearly was enough to get noticed, and that is never a good thing when you are an offensive lineman. Turner should be fine by the time the season starts, especially if Branden Albert is able to lineup next to him at left tackle, but that does not change that his stock fell a little this past week.
Stock Up: Walt Aikens / Michael Thomas, safeties. Earning the starting position on a talented defense is bittersweet when it comes at the expense of the incumbent starter. For the Dolphins, who lost safety Louis Delmas to a torn ACL in the first of two joint practices with the Panthers last week, that is the exact situation that Aikens and Thomas find themselves. One of the two of them will earn Delmas' starting position next to Reshad Jones, and both seem to be playing at a level that would warrant the job. Aikens is probably a little ahead of Thomas at this point, but he was not perfect against the Panthers, seeming to be lost in the zone a couple of times. He did, however, make a couple of nice tackles and pass breakups.
Stock Down: Jamar Taylor, cornerback. Taylor has actually played fairly well this offseason and he seems to have locked down the starting cornerback position opposite Brent Grimes. During the Panthers game, however, was an unfortunately familiar sight as Taylor limped off the field. A cornerback with a ton of potential, Taylor has been injured in each of his first two seasons, and, on Saturday, it looked like it may be happening again. The injury appears to be a quadriceps issue, and, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan, it could sideline him for 2 weeks. That would still allow him to play in the opening week of the regular season, barring any setback, but it does chip away at his stock rating midway through the Preseason.
Stock Up: Damien Williams, running back. Williams was impressive against the Panthers, scoring both of Miami's first team touchdowns, the first on a one-yard run and the second on an 11-yard pass reception. Williams is not going to threaten Lamar Miller for the starting position on the team, but he clearly has positioned himself ahead of the rest of the running backs and should be locked into the second position on the depth chart by now.
Stock Down: Matt Moore, quarterback. Moore is the second-string quarterback on this team, and there is no one pushing him out of that role. That said, he has not been exactly impressive in the Preseason thus far. He was 6-for-11 for 55 yards with a touchdown and an interception, giving him a 60.8 passer rating for the game against the Panthers. In comparison, McLeod Bethel-Thompson (98.6) and Josh Freeman (73.8) both had passer ratings above Moore's in the Panthers game. The comparisons, obviously, are not perfect, with things like Freeman only throwing five passes, completing one which happened to be for a 56-yard touchdown, but it still desmonstrates why Moore's stock rating may not be as high as it was during the offseason.