Stock Watch: Which Players Are Rising and Falling Post Week 3

Rocco ConstantinoContributor ISeptember 24, 2012

Stock Watch: Which Players Are Rising and Falling Post Week 3

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    As is always the case, the NFL season is moving by at a rapid pace.  

    After next week's games, one quarter of the season will be finished and teams will really start to learn about themselves.

    The Jets are three games into their 2012 season and despite a lot of evident weaknesses, the team is 2-1 (2-0 in the AFC East) and sitting atop the division.

    At this early juncture in the season, some players have begun to establish themselves as viable threats going forward for the franchise, while others have struggled to find their footing.

    Here's a closer look at Jets players whose stocks are either rising or falling.

Stock Up: Bilal Powell

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    The rumblings about Bilal Powell's development began in training camp and when he was named the third-down running back ahead of Joe McKnight in early September, that progress was confirmed.

    In the opening day win against the Bills, Powell had three carries for 10 yards.  His workload increased in each of the Jets' three games, though, and against the Dolphins he showed a burst of speed that Shonn Greene severely lacks.

    Powell was the team's top runner against the Dolphins, gaining 45 yards on 10 carries.  He also had two receptions for 24 yards and had another long-gainer called back due to a holding penalty.

    Powell's explosiveness shows up in games against teams with quick front sevens, like the Dolphins.  When a hole was opened for Greene, it typically closed quickly just as Greene was hitting it.

    With Powell, however, he is able to explode through those holes before they have the chance to close.

    Powell played 36 snaps against the Dolphins, while Greene was on the field for 50.  Those numbers will continue to even out over the next two weeks.

    Games with the 49ers and Texans loom in the next two weeks, so the Jets are likely to continue to turn to Powell in an increased role.

Stock Down: Shonn Greene

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    This slide goes hand-in-hand with the previous slide.

    The start of Shonn Greene's season can be summed up in one stat: 2.8 yards per carry.

    Greene might be a tough runner and is usually a trusted ball handler, but he simply does not make things happen in the running game.  

    Greene either doesn't have the peripheral vision to see running lanes open for a cutback or doesn't even consider that option.

    Against some of the weaker defenses fronts the Jets will eventually face, Greene might be more successful.  However, the Jets' first five opponents all have tough defensive fronts and aren't going to be bullied by a straightforward back like Greene.

    Maybe he'll break through Week 6 when the schedule lightens up a bit against the Colts, but for the time being, don't expect Greene to do much against the 49ers and Texans. 

Stock Up: Robert Malone

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    Maybe it's just a pet peeve of mine, but not many things are more frustrating to me than having an awful punter.

    T.J. Conley drove everyone crazy, including Mike Westhoff, so anyone coming in here was going to have a grace period from the start.

    Robert Malone was given the job after being cut from the Chargers and has been absolutely dynamite in his three games.

    Malone has punted 14 times so far this season, which ranks around the middle of the NFL.  He has pinned his opponents inside the 20-yard line six times, which is just two off the NFL lead.  

    Malone has also recorded just one touchback, usually opting to boom punts with great height, allowing either Jets gunners to come down and field the punt or force a fair catch.

    Most of the rest of Malone's statistics rank around the middle of the NFL, which is a huge improvement over last year.

    In a season where the Jets figure to play a number of close games, having a legitimate punter is essential in winning the field-position battle.

    Malone might just be one of the few players on the team that nobody can say a single negative word about. 

Stock Down: Stephen Hill

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    Stephen Hill has a ton of raw talent and figures to one day develop into a dangerous NFL receiver, but after three weeks it looks like this year will be a bumpy road for the rookie.

    Hill had two more drops against the Dolphins, with each coming on a big play.

    First, Hill had a pass hit his hands on a deep third-down pass in traffic.  It would have been a nice catch, but one that a good NFL receiver should make.

    Later, Hill dropped a potential touchdown pass on a nicely thrown ball by Mark Sanchez.

    After his breakout performance against the Bills on opening day, Hill has failed to register a catch.

Stock Up: Santonio Holmes

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    After Santonio Holmes' meltdown in Miami in last season's finale, fans were clamoring to get him off the team at whatever cost possible.

    Imagine the team without him now?

    Holmes is the one consistent threat in a suspect wide receiver corps and had one of the best games of his Jets career against the Dolphins last week.

    For just the third time in his Jets career, Holmes topped the 100-yard mark, and he had as many as nine catches for the first time since his Super Bowl MVP performance in 2009.  

    Holmes is currently fourth in the AFC with 243 receiving yards and sixth in the AFC with 15.2 yards per catch among receivers with more than 10 receptions.

    Holmes has had some drops this year, and he shies away from the big hit at times, but fans are just going to have to accept that.

    However, Holmes has also shown an incredible knack for drawing pass interference penalties this year and quite possibly is the team's offensive MVP at this point in time.

    After the way last season ended, Holmes needed to behave himself and get off to a fast start in 2012.  He has done both so far.

Stock Down: Quinton Coples

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    As with Stephen Hill, Quinton Coples is still just three games into his NFL career and seems to be struggling to figure things out at the start.

    Coples' playing time has decreased each week, and was on the field just 15 out of 83 plays against the Dolphins last week, according to Manish Mehta.

    Coples really has made no significant plays during his brief tenure so far and, like the rest of the defensive line, is struggling to get to the quarterback.  

    There had been some early questions about Coples' conditioning, but even with the decreased workload he has failed to make a significant impact.

    It's not time to panic yet, as Coples has shown that he does have the physical tools to be successful in the NFL.  However, the Jets need a contribution from him sooner rather than later.

Stock Up: Austin Howard

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    From the time Austin Howard stepped in at right tackle, he was an immediate upgrade over Wayne Hunter.  

    However, he was still a huge question mark, as he had never started a game at right tackle in his career.

    In his first three games for the Jets, Howard has gone against Mario Williams, Lamarr Woodley and Cameron Wake and has allowed just one sack.

    Think the same would be said if Hunter was still out there?

    Howard hasn't been perfect, as he has allowed some quarterback hits and committed a penalty at a key time against the Dolphins, but the offensive line as a unit is significantly better with Howard at right tackle.

    Although he isn't a rookie, Howard is learning on the the job much the same way Stephen Hill and Quinton Coples are.  Seeing how Coples and Hill are struggling should give fans an idea of just how hard that is to do in the NFL.

    Howard deserves a ton of credit for his play and all signs seem to point towards his continued improvement.

    He has two more huge tests coming up in the next two weeks, as he will be facing Ray McDonald and J.J. Watt of the 49ers and Texans, respectively.

Stock Down: Calvin Pace

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    Calvin Pace seems to play the same game every week.

    He makes a few solo tackles, assists on a couple others and can be seen running behind slot receivers and running backs that he was supposed to be covering from the start.

    Every so often Pace will mix in a big play, like a turnover or sack, but that hasn't happened yet this year.

    So far in 2012 Pace has eight solo tackles and six assisted tackles with no real big impact plays to speak of.

    Pace will turn 32 years old in one month and isn't going to be getting any better.  He is part of the problem with the team's missed tackles and failure to stop the run and still can't work in pass coverage.

    I'm not sure if Demario Davis is the answer here, but if his playing time increased at the expense of Pace, could he really be that much worse?