The Miami Dolphins kicked off the preseason with a sloppy effort in a 24-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Although many of the Dolphins starters either didn't suit up or only played a handful of series, the overall performance was disappointing. Their tackling and redzone offense were poor, and they lost the turnover battle. However, its best that the team plays at their worst now and works out the kinks, rather then when the games count.
While the result was meaningless, the game meant a lot to players on the roster bubble who were given the opportunity to prove themselves. Some players took advantage of the extra playing time and saw their stock rise. On the otherhand, some players really struggled and ultimately took a step back.
Here are five players that stood out in the exhibition loss, seeing their stock increase or decrease as a result:
WR Chad Bumphis
Bumphis, an undrafted rookie, turned in an impressive performance against Dallas after a solid two weeks of camp, finishing with 85 yards on 5 receptions. Despite his lack of size and speed, he showed his ability to get open as evident on his 45 yard catch and run. While he was at fault for a pick 6 that he tipped into the air, that mistake can be easily corrected. Although Bumphis still has a lot to prove as the preseason progresses, his performance in the Hall of Fame Game should not be overlooked. He has a legitimate shot at making the roster if he shows consistency.
OL Dallas Thomas
Jonathan Martin was decent at left tackle in his limited playing time at the start of the game but his backup, Dallas Thomas, was horrific. The rookie was beat on several occasions by the Cowboys second and third string defensive line, allowing multiple sacks. Thomas' performance showed that he is a long shot to make the NFL as a tackle, however, he is much better suited at guard. The Dolphins were experimenting with the offensive line to see what worked and Thomas at tackle certainly didn't.
DE Derrick Shelby
Shelby continuously made an impact when he was on the field, despite it being against the Cowboys backup offensive line. He recorded two sacks and two tackles that resulted in a loss. Shelby is yet another tool the Dolphins possess along a stout defensive line. Rookie Dion Jordan also stood out, however, I will be impressed if he has the same success against higher caliber competition.
RB Daniel Thomas
Entering his third year in the league, Thomas hasn't done much to justify being a second round draft choice. That trend continued in the preseason opener. Although he didn't fumble, he only rushed for five yards on four carries. The yardage of his five touches read 3, 1, 5, 3, -6, which stands out for all the wrong reasons. Thomas is leaving the door wide open for Mike Gillislee and Jonas Gray at the backup running back position.
RB Jonas Gray
After missing all of the 2012 season with an injury, Gray led the Dolphins in rushing in the HOF game. On seven carriers, Gray totalled 41 yards while adding four receptions for 35 yards. Considering the power in his runs, Gray can be used as a short yardage and goal line back.
The Hall of Fame Game will serve to the benefit of the Dolphins because it allowed them to determine what was and wasn't working. With four preseason contests remaining, its crucial to make the adjustments before the games become meaningful.