The Miami Dolphins have won two straight games, ending talk that they are the worst team in the league and keeping them on an upswing after seven straight losses. At 2-7, the Dolphins are not a threat to make the playoffs or push for a winning season, but they are playing good, competitive football right now and they are making people notice them.
The Dolphins are in a rebuild season, but they appear to be ahead of the schedule most people expected. This is a team that is supposed to be finding the majority of their pieces in the offseason, whether in free agency or in the Draft, but they are starting to find some of those pieces on their current roster. The team is playing hard, the players are developing, and the Dolphins look like they have hope moving into the next few seasons.
After coming away with the 16-12 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, the Dolphins as a team continue to see their stock rise. Which individuals saw the biggest stock rise this week, and did anyone have their stock fall? Here is our Dolphins Week 10 stock up, stock down.
Stock up: Brian Flores, head coach - The Dolphins are playing like a team that expects to win right now. They have not given up on themselves or on Flores, a first-year head coach, despite a 0-7 start to the year. Two straight wins, while not making the Dolphins a contender for the Playoffs, have shown these players are buying into the system, and Flores is coaching the hell out of the players. The development and execution in Week 10 has a completely different Dolphins team on the field than what took the field in Week 1. Miami will still be bad the remainder of the year, but Flores has shown they are not as bad as people thought they would be.
Stock up: Eric Rowe, cornerback/safety - Rowe has been asked to move around on the defense, essentially filling in for Minkah Fitzpatrick after the trade, to make sure Miami had someone who can cover for Reshad Jones’ injury. He is playing exceptionally. He is not a flashy player who catches everyone’s eye, but he has been instrumental in solidifying the Dolphins secondary and could be working his way toward a contract extension.
Stock up: Bobby McCain, safety - There is a theme through this part of our stock watch article. The second member of the secondary to appear on the list, McCain came away with a beautiful centerfield sliding interception to go along with three tackles. McCain has made the move to free safety and he looks like a natural as the final defender. I said during the game, the coaches moving McCain to safety was a brilliant move, and I stand by that. McCain is showing he can be a very good free safety for Miami.
Stock up: Nik Needham, cornerback - Part three of the secondary love for this week, undrafted free agent rookie Needham was a huge part of Miami’s win. Starting the year on the practice squad, Needham has looked like a rookie at times this year, but on Sunday, he was critical. He had an interception, the first of his career, and he made the tackle to stop Eric Ebron on a 4th-and-10 play, limiting him to eight yards. He had six tackles on the day.
Stock up: Steven Parker, cornerback - The fourth and final member of the secondary to make the list joined Miami this year after beig on the Los Angeles Rams’ practice squad all of last year. Like Needham, he made his first career interception against the Colts yesterday, wrestling a ball away from Eric Ebron in the endzone in the first quarter. He had two tackles, and he was not perfect, but on a day when the secondary accounted for three interceptions, Parker deserves to be noticed along with McCain and Needham.
Stock up: DeVante Parker, wide receiver - Not a lot of love for the offense in this week’s stock watch, because they played well but not great. Parker, though, had himself another day, albeit quietly. With Preston Williams out for the year, Parker is going to be the number one target each week and opposing defenses know it now. He was targeted 10 times in the game, four more than any other Dolphins receiver, and he caught five passes, tied for the game high. He had a game-high 69 receiving yards, more than double Allen Hurns’ 32 yards, the second most for the Dolphins. Parker was not perfect, but he continues to show that he should be a major part of the Miami offense this year and into next year.
Stock up: Jerome Baker, linebacker - Baker led the team in tackles with eight, and he recorded the one sack in the game for Miami. He looked fast and was all over the field - especially when he was asked to come straight up the middle and pressure Brian Hoyer. The only negative thing that can be said for Baker on Sunday was, when he sacked Hoyer, he turned the wrong way, not realizing Hoyer fumbled. The Colts fell on the ball only because Baker did not see the ball.
Stock down: Kalen Ballage, running back - There was a lot of pre-game talk that Ballage was ready for the opportunity with Mark Walton suspended, but Ballage did not do anything of note on Sunday. He rushed 20 times - a rarity for the Dolphins to have a 20-attempt running back - but he only gained 43 yards, averaging 2.2 yards per attempt, with a long of seven yards. He also caught four passes, gaining two yards. It was not ugly or painful, but it clearly did not take advantage of the extra playing time and will allow the discussion that Ballage cannot be the number one running back to continue.
Stock down: Mike Gesicki, tight end - This is a little ticky-tack, but Gesicki, who caught three passes for 28 yards on six targets, lost a fumble on the opening possession. Parker’s interception kept the Colts from turning the fumble into points, but after such a rise in his stock value last week, Gesicki could not back it up this week.