Preaseason AFC East Stock Watch

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
3:00
PM ET
Let's see who is rising and falling in the AFC East.

Falling

1. Miami Dolphins' halftime celebrations: Last time I checked, the Miami Hurricanes play football at Sun Life Stadium. That is why it's baffling that the Dolphins will honor the rival Florida Gators' 2008 championship team during halftime of the Dolphins-Broncos game on Oct. 23. Most Dolphin fans are Hurricane fans. So expect Tim Tebow and even current Dolphins center Mike Pouncey to get booed profusely. This won't end well. Miami is not Gator country. So the Dolphins should leave the Gators halftime celebrations to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

2. New York Jets offense: The Jets' first-team offense scored seven points on seven possessions last week. Quarterback Mark Sanchez connected with receiver Santonio Holmes for a 17-yard touchdown before halftime in a 17-3 victory over the New York Giants. But the Jets' other six possessions from the starting offense netted just 56 yards. The offensive line struggled with run blocking and the timing was off in the passing game. The Jets have to be more crisp offensively before their Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

3. New England Patriots' pass defense: It's always risky to make too much of a preseason performance for a veteran team like New England. But it's hard to ignore the Patriots' shaky pass defense in a 34-10 loss to the Detroit Lions. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford carved up New England's secondary. He was 12-for-14 passing for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Stafford was doing so well against New England that the Lions pulled him before halftime of the third preseason game.

Rising

1. Chad Henne, Dolphins quarterback: Is Henne turning the corner? Miami hopes last week's performance against Tampa Bay in the "dress rehearsal" game was a sign of things to come. Henne was 10-of-13 for 175 yards and a touchdown. He started hot right away with a pair of long connections to tight end Anthony Fasano and receiver Brandon Marshall. Henne capped the opening drive with a 60-yard touchdown to Marshall. This is a big season for Henne, who has to prove he's worthy of being Miami's starting quarterback.

2. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills quarterback: Fitzpatrick was nearly perfect in Buffalo's 35-32 win over Jacksonville. Fitzpatrick was 11-of-12 for 165 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 158.3 passer rating. Fitzpatrick was aggressive downfield. He connected with receiver Steve Johnson for several nice plays, including a 52-yard touchdown reception.

3. David Harris, Jets linebacker: Harris looks ready for the regular season. He had seven tackles, two pass defenses and an interception against the Giants. Harris' pick was a slick call by Jets coach Rex Ryan. The Jets sent a zone-blitz and dropped Harris into the flat. The blitz confused Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who threw the ball right into the zone Harris occupied. Harris returned the pick seven yards.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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