The NFL modified the schedule for the 2021 season, essentially turning a preseason game into a regular season contest, giving each team 17 games during the regular season. That move, though, shortened the preseason to three games (plus the Hall of Fame game for two teams). How do teams use the preseason to prepare? Which game will be the “dress rehearsal” game? And, do you play your starters in the first preseason game, a contest that traditionally is heavy on depth and bubble players?
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores appeared to answer the last question on Wednesday when he spoke with the media ahead of the team’s joint practice with the Chicago Bears. Miami and Chicago will face off on Saturday in the first preseason game of the year for both clubs. “Guys will play,” Flores said. “I think right now, with two days of practice against Chicago, we haven’t finalized exactly, ‘Hey, you’re going to play this much or that much.’ But yeah, we expect (quarterback) Tua (Tagovailoa) to play. Really, we want everybody to get some snaps in the game; but as far as how much, right now we’re kind of focused on today and today’s practice.”
He added that the coaching staff will work through exactly how much playing time each player, explaining, “We’ll kind of talk more about that as a staff tonight and tomorrow. Probably more likely tomorrow night.”
The Dolphins and Bears will hold a second joint practice on Thursday before an off day on Friday. Kickoff on Saturday is at 1pm ET and will air locally in Miami on CBS and nationally on NFL Network.