Detroit 2015: Hits, Misses, And Revelations

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Some teams answered questions this week. Others raised them. Here's a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling. Responses of "it's only preseason, so no one cares" are welcomed and encouraged, though we're not sure why you chose to read this far in the first place if you feel that way.

       

Stock rising: Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons' starters and top backups would have completely dominated the Chiefs if not for a pair of failed fourth-down conversions in scoring range. Enjoy the balanced, experienced offense and fast, aggressive defense, and try not to think about the team's history of losing playoff games to bad play-calling decisions in scoring range.

         

Stock falling: Minnesota Vikings offense

Latavius Murray fumbled twice, losing one of them. Kirk Cousins threw a near-interception and never established any rhythm. Yes, Dalvin Cook should supplant Murray and the Vikings were facing a great Jaguars defense. No, they looked nothing like a team ready to avenge what happened in last year's NFC Championship Game.

     

Stock rising: Dallas Cowboys defense

Chidobe Awuzie made a leaping interception. Taco Charlton recorded a sack. Randy Gregory played a few snaps. The youngsters the Cowboys are relying on flew around and made plays against the Bengals starters and top backups.

           

Stock falling: Dallas Cowboys offensive line

Travis Frederick missed Saturday's game with a neck stinger. Zack Martin left the game with a leg injury. Neither injury is considered serious, but the Cowboys have zero margin for error on their star-studded offensive line, which is tasked with compensating for their Big 12-caliber receivers and tight ends.

     

Stock rising: Rookie wide receivers

Calvin Ridley made an impact as a receiver and a returner for the Falcons. James Washington's knack for hauling in deep jump balls will give him an immediate role in the Steelers offense. If Christian Kirk turns any more catches in traffic upfield for positive yardage, Larry Fitzgerald is going to start accidentally calling the Cardinals rookie "Anquan."

        

Stock also rising: Beleaguered second-year receivers

Shelton Gibson has been a revelation for the Eagles after dropping everything but his own gloves last preseason. Taywan Taylor looks like a big-play machine for the Titans after a quiet rookie year. Mike Williams is healthy and making contested catches for the Chargers. Even Bengals speedster John Ross has 20- and 29-yard receptions. It has taken eight targets for Ross to get them, but still: There's hope for guys we were ready to give up on after last year.

         

Stock falling: Rookie running backs

Saquon Barkley is nursing a bad hamstring. Sony Michel and Rashaad Penny are out for a while with injuries. Ronald Jones has 12 carries for 11 yards for the Buccaneers. Barkley and others will bounce back, of course, and rookies like Royce Freeman played fairly well this weekend. Still, look for more committee backfields than Todd Gurley/Ezekiel Elliott-style breakouts this season.

         

Stock rising: Chad Kelly

The Broncos have found their backup quarterback. Or maybe their starter? Kelly was sharp, while Case Keenum looked like a rickety journeyman (imagine that) and Paxton Lynch is just waiting for Emperor Elway to give the Thumbs Down signal. Beware of Kelly, though, Broncos fans. Throwing the ball has never been his problem. It's everything else.

        

Stock falling: Blake Bortles

Bortles threw an ugly pick over the middle and a near-identical pass that bounced off three Vikings defenders before falling incomplete. He settled down after that, but he was supposed to have settled down last November.

       

Stock rising: Teddy Bridgewater

The greatest quarterback the Jets have ever been in a hurry to get rid of.

          

Stock falling: AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman

McCarron's collarbone injury will prevent the Bills from stacking him on Peterman's shoulders, throwing a trench coat over them and naming new quarterback Vincent Adultman the starter over Josh Allen.

        

Stock rising: New England Patriots

It's adorable how they disguise themselves as businesslike and as being above such considerations as revenge and then run the score up on the Eagles in the first half like it's a 2007 Dolphins game. But yeah, they look good—and just a bit angry.

     

Stock falling: Philadelphia Eagles

The Philly Phaithful are now tracking both Nick Foles' shoulder injury and Carson Wentz's timetable (he's cleared for 11-on-11 work but not full contact) and hoping the two trend lines don't converge at the point where Nate Sudfeld is the opening-night starter.

Source : https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2791151-monday-morning-digest-preseason-stocks-rising-and-falling

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