The Miami Dolphins took the approach of something closer to a dress rehearsal early in the exhibition against the Las Vegas Raiders.
After the Dolphins rested nearly all their starters in last week’s preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coach Mike McDaniel left several of his top players, including starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, available for the 7 p.m. kickoff on Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium.
The Dolphins listed left tackle Terron Armstead, cornerback Xavien Howard, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and fullback Alec Ingold as the starters on the depth chart that are “not expected to play,” released 90 minutes before kickoff. Miami also had safety Eric Rowe, fullback John Lovett, tight end Tanner Conner, outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett and tackle Greg Little as pregame inactives.
At kickoff, it was revealed on the CBS4 broadcast that star wide receiver Tyreek Hill and fellow veterans in running back Raheem Mostert and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram will also sit.
Waddle did not practice all week ahead of the exhibition with an undisclosed injury. Armstead did not practice on Thursday after also missing team drills in Wednesday’s session. He had been increasing his workload the previous two practices during training camp as he gets game ready for the regular season coming off offseason knee surgery.
Conventionally, the second of three preseason games is the ideal opportunity for a coach to play most of his starters, allowing backups and roster longshots to take the preseason finale and rest veterans ahead of Week 1.
Tagovailoa made his preseason debut going into a key third NFL season. He sat last week at the Buccaneers with McDaniel citing a confidence in him from what he had seen from the left-handed signal-caller in practice. In three practices this past week, Tagovailoa threw six interceptions — some in late-game drive situations where he was forced to throw downfield into coverage with time running out.
Standout second-year safety Jevon Holland, who had four of the practice interceptions against Tagovailoa, was among a slew of other starters available to play after they rested in Tampa last week. Some others: Running back Chase Edmonds, center Connor Williams, linebackers Jerome Baker and Elandon Roberts, defensive linemen Emmanuel Ogbah, Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler.
In addition to the inactive players, the Dolphins also have cornerback Byron Jones still on the physically-unable-to-perform list following lower left leg surgery in the offseason. And cornerback Trill Williams and tight end Adam Shaheen are on injured reserve.
This story will be updated.