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Miami Dolphins Stock Watch

The Miami Dolphins are approaching their final preseason game of 2014 Thursday against the St. Louis Rams.

Here is a look at whose stock is rising and falling this week in Miami:

Rising

1. Knowshon Moreno, running back: Moreno had an impressive debut in last week’s 25-20 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Moreno rushed for 64 yards on 10 carries (6.4 yard average). He showed good vision, patience and strength to finish runs. Moreno has officially put his name in the conversation to be Miami’s starting running back in Week 1 against the New England Patriots despite missing much of training camp and the preseason.

2. Cameron Wake, defensive end: Wake was in regular-season form with a pair of sacks on Dallas starting quarterback Tony Romo. Wake had his way with Cowboys starting right tackle Doug Free, who had trouble keeping Wake out of the backfield Saturday night. Wake is expecting another double-digit sack season in 2014.

3. Shelley Smith, right guard: Smith didn’t dominate in his first start with the Dolphins. But he made several good blocks, and that might have been enough to secure the starting right guard position in Miami’s offense for the season opener. The Dolphins showed they have the capability to run the ball with Smith in the lineup. Moreno gained most of his yards running on the right side behind Smith and rookie right tackle Ja'Wuan James.

Falling

1. Dolphins special teams: What happened to Miami’s special teams Saturday? The group completely fell apart against the Cowboys, and it’s hard to determine if it was a one-game lapse or if multiple issues are on the horizon. The Dolphins gave up big kickoff returns, fumbled a punt return and gave up a blocked punt that was called back due to a Dallas penalty. To add to the bad day, Dolphins kicker John Potter also injured his hip and couldn’t finish the game. Miami’s third phase did not put on a winning performance. Special teams coach Darren Rizzi has a lot of work to do before the regular season.

2. First-team offense: The Dolphins have to score more than three points in six drives. There is simply no excuse. Miami’s starters put up plenty of yards but couldn’t convert it into points. The Dolphins had missed opportunities and careless turnovers, such as a fumble by tight end Dion Sims and quarterback Ryan Tannehill's interceptions into double coverage. Miami will have issues winning consistently this season if they consistently make these kinds of mistakes.

3. Dallas Thomas, right guard: With Smith’s ascension, Thomas’ stock drops and his chance of retaining his starting job does too. Thomas was rotated in with the first-team offense against Dallas and didn’t have a strong performance. He also struggled mightily against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second preseason game. Thomas needed to play above and beyond to get back in the starting conversation, and that simply didn't happen.