AFC East Preseason Stock Watch

August, 19, 2012
8/19/12
12:00
PM ET
Week 2 of the preseason is nearly in the books. The New England Patriots still have their game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.

But here is a look at whose stock is rising and falling this preseason in the AFC East:

Falling

1. New York Jets RT Wayne Hunter: One of the biggest offseason mysteries is why the Jets didn't do enough to find a replacement for Hunter. He struggled mightily last year. Yet, New York didn't draft a top right tackle or sign one in free agency. Hunter made his 2012 preseason debut and looked much like he did in 2011, allowing two easy sacks to New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Hunter also allowed a third sack to Osi Umenyiora, but it was called back on a defensive penalty. Things became so bad that Hunter was trending on Twitter at one point last night. If the Jets continue to stick with Hunter, it could be bad news for the Jets' offense and starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.

2. First-quarter defenses: We won't overrate the preseason. But the first-string defenses from the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins have been a bit concerning. The Dolphins have allowed 24 first-quarter points the past two preseason games. They can't get off the field. Granted, Miami linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett and defensive end Cameron Wake were out Friday, but Tampa Bay had success as well. This group says it wants to be a top-10 defense and needs to play much better. Buffalo has been healthy but the starters allowed 10 unanswered points in the first quarter; opponents have scored 17 first-quarter points in two preseason games. The Bills need to do a better job of setting the tone and can't assume they can turn it on Week 1 against the Jets.

3. Matt Moore, Dolphins quarterback: Moore was the favorite to win Miami's quarterback job when the offseason began. He was the incumbent who had the health advantage over David Garrard and experience advantage over rookie Ryan Tannehill. But once all three quarterbacks took the practice field, it was clear Moore was falling behind. Garrard got the nod in the opener and Tannehill earned a chance to start over the weekend against Carolina. Moore hasn't done well in practices or games. He was 5-for-15 for 57 yards against the Carolina Panthers. Overall, Moore is 12-of-27 for 136 yards and an interception.

[+] EnlargeVince Young
AP Photo/Genevieve RossSolid work against Minnesota boosted Vince Young's shot at landing the Bills' backup job.
Rising

1. Vince Young, Bills quarterback: Young came out as the big winner in Buffalo's 36-14 loss to Minnesota, taking a big step in his quest to win the No. 2 quarterback job by completing 8 of 14 passes for 123 yards. It also didn't hurt that his competition -- Tyler Thigpen -- threw his second interception of the preseason. Buffalo most likely will keep only one of these quarterbacks, and it appears Young has the inside track with two preseason games left.

2. LaRon Landry, Jets safety: The Jets brought in Landry this offseason to be an enforcer. He showed flashes of it Saturday night with some big plays against the Giants. Landry laid the lumber on Giants receiver Victor Cruz and also recorded his first interception of the preseason. It was a solid showing for Landry, who must stay healthy this year.

3. New England's return game: The Patriots didn't need more assistance scoring points. But they might have got it with the signing of former Florida running back and Olympic silver medalist Jeff Demps. New England beat out the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and others for the speedster. The Patriots appear fine at running back, but where Demps may be able to contribute the most right away is returning kicks. Better field position for quarterback Tom Brady and Co. could mean more points.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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AFC EAST SCOREBOARD

Sunday, 11/30
Monday, 12/1