Dolphins Trending Up, Trending Down
The Miami Dolphins got their first victory of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, and they did in convincing fashion even though they ended up being outgained.
So, as one would expect, the number of Dolphins players trending up after that game is significantly higher than that of players trending down.
So here we go:
-- QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: Of course we have to start with the veteran quarterback, who's now put together back-to-back outstanding performances. His performance against Buffalo was good enough that Brian Flores was not asked once last week whether Fitzpatrick was still the starter, and the question likely won't come up again this week.
-- RB Myles Gaskin: We'll have to include Gaskin, but with a caveat. He's trending up because he clearly has become the trusted guy at running back, and that's quite a feat for a second-year seventh-round pick after the acquisition of two veterans in the offseason. But Gaskin also averaged only 3 yards per carry against Jacksonville, and that's not a sustainable average.
-- WR DeVante Parker: While he hasn't put up the big numbers yet, it's really encouraging to see him consistently get his five catches and being a threat on offense. And it also looks like the hamstring injury is under control (even if Troy Aikman kept saying during the NFL Network broadcast Thursday that Parker didn't look as fast as he normally does).
-- WR Jakeem Grant: Grant was a factor on offense for the first time against Jacksonville even if he got only two touches. That's because he made them count, catching a 19-yard pass and gaining 29 yards on an end-around.
-- TE Mike Gesicki: Yes, Gesicki caught only one pass against Jacksonville, but it was his seventh TD in nine games dating back to last season. He's become a legitimate red-zone force.
-- LT Austin Jackson: Did anybody notice Austin Jackson against Jacksonville? No, right? That's a good sign for an offensive lineman. Yeah, sure, he had the 15-yard penalty for roughness but as we pointed out before it came after linebacker Myles Jack had a hold of his facemask.
-- DE Shaq Lawson: This was by far his best performance of the season and he's gotten progressively better each game after a rough start against New England.
-- DL Zach Sieler: We have mentioned a few times that this guy looked good at the end of last season, so it was nice to see him to get more playing time against Jacksonville and seeing the way he responded.
-- LB Kyle Van Noy: Two big-time plays from him including the turnover he created and got and his trucking of a blocking back to hurry a deep pass by Gardner Minshew II. It's important to note that Van Noy began the season with a hand injury, so who knows how much that affected him in the first two weeks.
-- CB Xavien Howard: We'll temper this one by pointing out that Jacksonville was missing its best wide receiver (DJ Chark), but Howard still looked better than he did in the first two games.
-- RB Jordan Howard: Yes, Howard had his third rushing touchdown in three games, but he also had 1 rushing yards on three carries. This is certainly not what the Dolphins had in mind when they signed him as a free agent. In fairness to Howard, it's not as though he's had big holes in front of him. But he's also not created anything on his own and his playing time has reflected that.
-- The run blocking: Yup, the Dolphins had 138 rushing yards against Jacksonville and that's a winning number, but it must be pointed out that Fitzpatrick and Grant accounted for 67 of those. That left 71 yards for the running backs on 28 attempts, which is 2.5 yards a clip. That's not going to get it done.
-- CB Jamal Perry: Perry got a lot of snaps as the nickel corner, but he had two highlight plays for the wrong reasons as he whiffed on running back James Robinson when he dove at his legs and Robinson simply hurdled him, and later when Robinson trucked him in the open field. Perry also dropped what looked like a fairly routine interception off a carom.
-- CB Nik Needham: Needham did not play a snap on defense against Jacksonville after he had a rough outing against Buffalo in extended action.