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Falcons vs. Dolphins: Preseason snap counts for Miami after loss to Atlanta

The Miami Dolphins lost to the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night in the first week of the 2023 preseason. While the results of the game are unimportant, the playing time for each player could be a sign of how the team sees their roster coming together.

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins Photo by Bryan Cereijo/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins lost to the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night in the first week of the preseason. The ending to the game was a rough one for the Dolphins, with mistakes taking over. Pre-snap penalties reared their head, interceptions, fumbles, it all came crashing down around the Dolphins as the game clock wound down to zeroes. The result really does not mean anything in the long run, as the first preseason game is all about the playing time of the younger players on the roster, players looking to make an impression on the coaching staff and claim a depth chart spot for the 53-man roster.

Friday night was about the position battles all over the roster, and, while the overall result was not what the Dolphins wanted, the performance from the players was exactly what the coaches needed to see. Who would step up? Who would disappear? We might not know exactly what the coaches were thinking, how they were deciding to give players playing time, or what they wanted to see on every snap, but we do know how much playing time each player received in the game.

Breaking down the snap counts for each player from the game can give us a little insight into the coaches’ thoughts and view of the roster. Miami ruled 31 payers out of the game prior to kickoff (officially listing them as “not expected to play”), then had another three players not make an appearance due to lingering injuries that the team decided they did not need to risk exacerbating in the first preseason game. As for the 56 players who did play, here are their snap counts for both their offensive/defensive role and their special teams contributions. (Starters indicated with *.)


Mike White 50% (33 snaps)*
Skylar Thompson 50% (33 snaps)

The backup quarterbacks split the game, with White starting and Thompson playing the second half. It worked out that the two quarterbacks also played 33 snaps. White looked better than Thompson in his half of work, but how much of that was the difference between the two quarterbacks and how much was it White’s advantage with players seemingly higher on the depth chart complimenting him? Thompson needs to bounce back quickly if he wants to keep pushing for the second string spot.

Running backs

De’Von Achane 50% (33 snaps)
Myles Gaskin 23% (15 snaps)*
Chris Brooks 20% (13 snaps)
Salvon Ahmed 8% (5 snaps)

Rookie Achane saw plenty of playing time, as expected. Gaskin took advantage of the 15 snaps he played, picking up 57 yards on an 8.1-yards-per-attempt average, plus catching two passes for 20 yards; he touched the ball on nine of his 15 snaps. The coaches really seemed to want to see Brooks down the stretch. Ahmed only picking up five snaps is telling of something, either an injury prevented him from seeing as much playing time, or the coaces were sending a message.

Tight ends

Tyler Kroft 44% (29 snaps)*
Julian Hill 36% (24 snaps)
Eric Saubert 36% (24 snaps)*
Elijah Higgins 33% (22 snaps)

First-team tight end Durham Smythe was among the players not playing on Frida, and the other four players on the roster basically split the snaps evenly. Rookie Higgins saw the fewest snaps among the group, but he had some flash plays and was used in multiple roles, including as a fullback - not bad for a rookie transitioning from wide receiver to tight end. It is hard to say how the tight end position battles may shake out after Friday night because it was so even among all four of them.

Wide receivers

River Cracraft 64% (42 snaps)*
Cecrick Wilson, Jr. 45% (30 snaps)*
Erik Ezukanma 39% (26 snaps)
Freddie Swain 38% (25 snaps)
Chris Coleman 26% (17 snaps)
Daewood Davis 24% (16 snaps)
Braxton Berrios 14% (9 snaps)

One of the biggest areas of interest for Dolphins fans is who will step up behind Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle this year. With Hill and Waddle out on Friday, this was a great opportunity for someone to make a case as the third wide out. It does not feel like anyone really locked himself into the role, however. Cracraft saw the majority of the snaps on the night but was only targeted once for a 14-yard reception. Wilson had the second most snaps played, but was targeted twice with one catch for 17 yards. The leading receivers for the Dolphins was running back Achane, followed by tight end Higgins. Ezukanma had probably the best night for the receivers group, catching all three passes targeting him for 15 yards, but his use on jet sweeps added 52 yards on two carries - the second-most rushing yards on the night. Berrios saw his night ended early due to injury. There is still a raging position battle here.

Offensive linemen

Alama Uluave 100% (66 snaps)*
Lester Cotton 71% (47 snaps)*
Robert Jones 61% (40 snaps)
Kion Smith 50% (33 snaps)*
James Tunstall 50% (33 snaps)
Isaiah Wynn 47% (31 snaps)
Geron Christian 30% (20 snaps)
Cedric Ogbuehi 29% (19 snaps)
Liam Eichenberg 21% (14 snaps)*
Austin Jackson 21% (14 snaps)*
Ryan Hayes 20% (13 snaps)

Left guard Eichenberg and right tackle Jackson starting was not a surprise, but was a signal that they do not have their top spots on the depth chart locked down while left tackle Terron Armstead, center Connor Williams, and right guard Robert Hunt all sat out the game. Eichenberg and Jackson did not spend a lot of time in the game, only taking 14 snaps each before getting off the field, and both seemed to have decent nights, but they clearly are still needing to perform to keep their starting positions. Uluave playing every snap at center is an interesting move. The Dolphins held out Williams and Dan Feeney, the presumed top two at the position, so it may have just been there was not another option for the position, but you do not usually see someone play 100 percent of the snaps in the preseason - especially the first preseason game. Hayes only getting 13 snaps was a surprise. He was a seventh-round pick this year and not someone Miami is expecting to have a big role during the year, but for a draft pick to only see 13 snaps late in the game seems to indicate Hayes has not made a big impression on the coaching staff so far.

Defensive linemen

Jaylen Twyman 61% (33 snaps)
Brandon Pili 56% (30 snaps)*
Josiah Bronson 54% (29 snaps)
Da’Shawn Hand 50% (27 snaps)*
Randy Charlton 26% (14 snaps)
Emmanuel Ogbah 20% (11 snaps)*

Before the game, it felt like a 50/50 proposition if Ogbah would play. He is a veteran and should be a key member of the pass rush this year, but he also is returning from a torn triceps muscle and getting him some game-speed action could be a good step forward for him. He started the game, seeing work as both a defensive end and an outside linebacker, then was pulled after 11 snaps. He looked fast and able to get into the backfield. Twyman an Pili were the story of the defenisve line on Friday night, with both of them making good plays and looking like potential rotational players for the team in the regular season.


Channing Tindall 74% (40 snaps)*
Aubrey Miller II 65% (35 snaps)
Mike Rose 56% (30 snaps)*
Malik Reed 50% (27 snaps)*
Cameron Goode 44% (24 snaps)
Garrett Nelson 44% (24 snaps)
Mitchell Agude 41% (22 snaps)

The linebackers were fine on Friday. There was some solid plays among the group, but it did not feel like anyone really jumped out. Tindall had the most snaps for anyone on defense, with the coaches getting a long look at the 2022 third-round pick. Undrafted rookie Miller was second in snaps among the linebackers, and he could be challenging Tindall for a roster spot. Miller also played the most special teams snaps for the team, so he may have a path to the roster if he can continue to contribute there as well. Agude saw the fewest defensive plays among the linebackers, but he was third in special teams snaps, so he might also be someone the team looks at more as the summer continues. Miami started in the nickel, so they only had three linebackers on the field to start the game, adding a cornerback to the defensive scheme.


Bryce Thompson 50% (27 snaps)*
Elijah Campbell 44% (24 snaps)*
Noah Igbinoghene 44% (24 snaps)*
Mark Gilbert 43% (23 snaps)
Cam Smith 41% (22 snaps)
Eli Apple 33% (18 snaps)*
Tino Ellis 26% (14 snaps)
Parry Nickerson 20% (11 snaps)

Officially, Miami has four cornerbacks listed as starters from Friday, but Campbell was playing safety. Igbinoghene and Smith both had some good moments and had a couple of questionable plays. Smith, Miami’s second-round draft pick this year, left the game with an injury and probably would have seen more paying time if he had remained healthy. Apple only seeing 18 snaps could either be a sign that he was a veteran who started then got out of the game or could be a sign that the team is leaning more toward Smith or Igbinoghene as the starter opposite Xavien Howard (who did not play) when the season starts.


Keidron Smith 57% (31 snaps)
Verone McKinley III 46% (25 snaps)
DeShon Elliott 33% (18 snaps)*
Myles Dorn 20% (11 snaps)

Everyone at safety is fighting for a backup role - and potentially one roster spot - behind Jevon Holland, Brandon Jones, and Elliott. Trill Williams, who did not play, is converting from cornerback to safety and will factor into this battle as well. There were some flash plays among the group on Friday, but nothing that slammed the door on the battle.

Special Teams Snaps

Aubrey Miller II 67% (12 snaps)
Myles Dorn 61% (11 snaps)
Mitchell Agude 56% (10 snaps)
Malik Reed 50% (9 snaps)
Keidron Smith 50% (9 snaps)
Cameron Goode 44% (8 snaps)
Mike Rose 44% (8 snaps)
Randy Charlton 29% (7 snaps)
Tino Ellis 39% (7 snaps)
Parry Nickerson 39% (7 snaps)
De’Von Achane 33% (6 snaps)
Julian Hill 33% (6 snaps)
Verone McKinley III 33% (6 snaps)
Bryce Thompson 33% (6 snaps)
Jake Bailey 28% (5 snaps)
River Cracraft 28% (5 snaps)
Eric Saubert 28% (5 snaps)
Cam Smith 28% (5 snaps)
Freddie Swain 28% (5 snaps)
Salvon Ahmed 22% (4 snaps)
Chris Coleman 22% (4 snaps)
Daewood Davis 22% (4 snaps)
DeShon Elliott 22% (4 snaps)
Blake Ferguson 22% (4 snaps)
Mark Gilbert 22% (4 snaps)
Eli Apple 17% (3 snaps)
Elijah Higgins 17% (3 snaps)
Tyler Kroft 17% (3 snaps)
Channing Tindall 17% (3 snaps)
Jaylen Twyman 17% (3 snaps)
Braxton Berrios 11% (2 snaps)
Chris Brooks 11% (2 snaps)
Myles Gaskin 11% (2 snaps)
Jason Sanders 11% (2 snaps)
Bradon Pili 11% (2 snaps)
Josiah Bronson 6% (1 snap)
Elijah Campbell 6% (1 snap)
Geron Christian 6% (1 snap)
Lester Cotton 6% (1 snap)
Da’Shawn Hand 6% (1 snap)
Ryan Hayes 6% (1 snap)
Noah Igbinoghene 6% (1 snap)
Robert Jones 6% (1 snap)
Garrett Nelson 6% (1 snap)
Cedric Ogbuehi 6% (1 snap)
Kion Smith 6% (1 snap)