Final AFC East preseason Stock Watch

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
3:40
PM ET
This is the final installment of our preseason version of “Stock Watch.” This is a feature that will continue throughout the regular season.

Here is a look at who’s rising and falling:

Falling

1. Miami Dolphins: It was an ugly preseason for the Miami Dolphins. It was full of ups and downs -- with Miami going 0-4 and looking bad doing it. This was the just the third winless preseason in franchise history; after the two previous such preseasons, Miami finished 8-8 in 1989 and 3-11 in 1966. This year’s Dolphins look much closer to the 1966 team than the .500 team in 1989. I’ve said all along that I would be very surprised if Miami wins more than six games, and I am sticking to that prediction. The Dolphins have a tough opener on the road Sept. 9 against the Houston Texans.

2. Matt Moore, Dolphins quarterback: Moore capped a shaky preseason with another poor performance against the backups of the Dallas Cowboys. Moore completed just 4 of 12 passes for 49 yards, an interception and was sacked three times -- and the interception was a pick six. Moore has not fit in well with Miami’s West Coast offense. Both David Garrard and rookie Ryan Tannehill beat him out for the quarterback job.

[+] EnlargeBrian Hoyer
AP Photo/Bill KostrounAn ugly outing in the Patriots' preseason finale doesn't bode well for QB Brian Hoyer.
3. Brian Hoyer, Patriots quarterback: Hoyer just hasn’t looked good in training camp and the preseason. It’s pretty concerning, considering Hoyer has the most experience at quarterback if Tom Brady gets injured. Hoyer threw for 95 yards, one interception, one fumble and was sacked three times against New York Giants backups. It’s not known if Hoyer is still the No. 2 quarterback or if Ryan Mallett has won the job.

Rising

1. Quinton Coples, Jets defensive end: New York’s first-round pick was one of the few starters to play for the Jets on Thursday night-- and Coples did what he should by making plays against mostly backups, recording four tackles and 1.5 sacks in New York’s preseason finale. He has 4.5 sacks in the preseason. If he keeps up this pace, Coples could be challenging for Rookie of the Year honors.

2. Jermaine Cunningham, Patriots linebacker: New England head coach Bill Belichick complimented Cunningham in training camp for being one of the team’s most improved players. The 2010 second-round pick has often shown flashes of brilliance, and that includes his two-sack performance in Wednesday’s preseason finale against the New York Giants. Cunningham is a perfect example of taking a productive offseason and turning into a good training camp and preseason. Now, the Patriots hope Cunningham takes his momentum into the regular season when the games matter.

3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills quarterback: Fitzpatrick had a productive final preseason game. He was 5-for-5 for 39 yards and a touchdown pass to receiver Steve Johnson. It was short work, but it provides some momentum heading into Week 1 of the regular season. This is a show-and-prove year for “Fitz” -- no more excuses.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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