- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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With one preseason game in the books, here is a look at whose stock is rising and falling with the Miami Dolphins:
1. Reshad Jones, safety: The Dolphins received bad news hours before their first preseason game when Jones was suspended four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing substances. Jones is the second Miami player to suffer this type of suspension, joining defensive end Dion Jordan. The Dolphins were very disappointed with Jones and immediately took him off the first team this week in practice. Jones practiced with the backups and still made plays. But he won't be available to start the regular season.
2. Dolphins linebackers: Miami has defensive talent at a lot of positions. But perhaps the biggest concern is at linebacker. Starters Philip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe and Koa Misi didn't have a good first showing in last week's 16-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. There were missed tackles and inconsistent coverage as Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan completed all seven of his passes. Tackling has been a major emphasis in practice this week, which is needed. The Dolphins' linebackers did an "Oklahoma drill" this week against the running backs and put on an ugly display. Miami’s running backs dominated the drill, which didn't offer much hope that Miami's tackling will drastically improve.
3. Matt Moore, backup quarterback: Moore has been a solid backup quarterback in Miami the past three seasons. But this year's training camp has been filled with injury and inconsistency. Moore was bothered with a shoulder ailment that has kept him out of practices and the first preseason game. The Dolphins made a statement by signing seven-year veteran quarterback Brady Quinn this week to compete with Moore. That should make things more interesting in the second half of preseason games.
1. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback: Tannehill could not have had a better start to the preseason. He was a perfect 6-for-6 passing for 62 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta. This is a good foundation for Tannehill to build on this preseason. He has had a solid week of practice and appears to be gaining confidence in Bill Lazor's new offense. Tannehill will try to have another solid performance Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
2. Jimmy Wilson, safety: With Jones out, Wilson is the next man up. Wilson will get a golden opportunity to become a full-time starter for the first time in his career. The former seventh-round pick has been solid in training camp and the entire offseason, earning the trust of the coaching staff. Wilson was projected to be Miami’s nickel cornerback. But those plans are were thrown out this week.
3. Terrence Fede, defensive end: There is something about seventh-round picks in Miami. The Dolphins have had success drafting players in the final round. Wilson, receiver Rishard Matthews and special teams ace Don Jones have all produced as seventh-rounders, and Fede could be next to make Miami's 53-man roster. Fede has shown a good motor and athleticism in training camp and the preseason. With Jordan’s suspension, Fede could step in as the fourth defensive end.