The Miami Dolphins will host the Atlanta Falcons in their first game of the preseason on Thursday.
New quarterback Jay Cutler will not participate, but plenty of his teammates will. As is the case every year, the first-team is not expected to see many snaps in this game. This contest will give head coach Adam Gase an opportunity to see the reserves take the field in game action.
Cutler has practiced with the Dolphins, but will be held out until next week's action. With Ryan Tannehill on the shelf, Miami will have Matt Moore and Brandon Doughty run many of the plays in this game. Moore who appeared to be on his way to the starting gig, may now see a fair amount of time in this contest. Doughty has not looked strong in camp and having Moore game-ready is critical to Miami.
While the final score of the game has no meaning, there is plenty to play for individually. Rookies will have their first chance to show the coaching staff what they can do in an NFL game. For defensive tackles Vincent Taylor and Davon Godchaux, this is a golden opportunity. Both have seen plenty of time in camp and Godchax recently lined up alongside Ndamukong Suh.
Another player to keep an eye on in this game could be Raekwon McMillan. The rookie has been running the defense during camp and has been treated more like a veteran starter. McMillan's immediate impact on Miami's defense could be crucial to the team's success. That impact could begin to show in this exhibition game. Charles Harris is an additional rookie who could be in the spotlight on Thursday.
The most important part of this game, is to leave Hard Rock Stadium healthy. Miami has been decimated by injuries in recent seasons and needs every man it has to remain available. The hits in camp have been hard at times and have led to Jay Ajayi missing some time. The running back is currently in the concussion protocol program and is likely going to miss this game.
Thursday's game will begin at 7:00 p.m.