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Dolphins vs. Atlanta Snap Counts ... And What They Mean

Four members of the starting offensive line played more than two-thirds of the offensive snap against the Falcons

The Miami Dolphins routed the Atlanta Falcons in their only 2021 preseason game at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday night, dominating first-year head coach Arthur Smith's team to the tune of 37-17.

The playing time for the Dolphins was a lot more spread out than in the 20-13 loss against the Chicago Bears in the preseason opener, making things a little more difficult to read when it comes to each player's snap count.

But here are the things that stood out in that regard:

-- The Dolphins announced before the game that 13 players were not expected to play, and those 13 indeed did not play. But everybody else on the active roster got at least one snap against the Falcons. The 13 players who were kept out: WR Albert Wilson, WR Will Fuller V, WR Lynn Bowden, WR DeVante Parker, WR Preston Williams, WR Isaiah Ford, S Jevon Holland, S Brandon Jones, CB Javaris Davis, LB Vince Biegel, LB Elandon Roberts, T Adam Pankey and TE Cethan Carter.

-- The absence of Holland, the second-round pick from Oregon, came as a bit of surprise considering he was took part in the joint practice with the Falcons on Thursday, but head coach Brian Flores said he was dealing with some sort of physical issue.

-- The three players who joined the Dolphins this week all saw action, with tackle Greg Little getting the most snaps with 12. Linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons played 11 snaps (six on defense and five on special teams) after being signed Friday; wide receiver Khalil McClain played two snaps on offense after being signed Monday.

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-- The Dolphins have to make five roster cuts to get down to the maximum of 80 by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday and, as was the case with the first cut, a low snap count for a bottom-of-the-depth-chart player always is a bad sign. That certainly applies here to McClain, whose two snaps were the fewest for any offensive player. Cornerback Tino Ellis also would appear in danger after playing eight snaps on defense and one special teams.

-- And here's an interesting one to watch — again, assuming an injury wasn't involved, and there were no obvious injuries beyond the minor leg issues with receivers and tight ends — but Shaquem Griffin could be in jeopardy based on snap counts. Although he did get seven snaps on special teams, he was the only defensive player in uniform not to get a snap on defense.

-- The Dolphins obviously wanted to get a long look at their young offensive linemen against Atlanta, which would explain the 47 snaps for center Michael Deiter, tackle Austin Jackson, and guards Robert Hunt and Solomon Kindley. They tied for most snaps on offense with wide receiver Malcolm Perry.

-- Veteran right tackle Jesse Davis played 23 snaps, leaving the game after the second touchdown drive. Rookie second-round pick Liam Eichenberg replaced Davis and played 46 snaps, staying in the game after the other four offensive linemen were given the rest of the night off. This is logical because the Dolphins need to give Eichenberg a lot of reps, while Davis doesn't need nearly as much work to get ready for the start of the regular season.

-- As expected, key defensive starters Xavien Howard, Byron Jones and Emmanuel Ogbah all saw action against Atlanta after being kept out of the Chicago game, but to no one's surprise it was limited action. The two cornerbacks played only nine defensive snaps, while Ogbah got eight. There simply was zero need to push anything there.

-- Finally, we get to rookie draft picks Jaelan Phillips and Hunter Long, who each made his NFL preseason debut after missing the Chicago game with injuries. Phillips actually got the start at outside linebacker as the Dolphins opened in a 3-4-4 alignment and played 27 snaps on defense and two on special teams; Long played 20 snaps on offense, the second-most among the team's tight ends behind the 27 snaps for Chris Myarick.

-- For those keeping score, linebacker Sam Eguavoen led the Dolphins defense not only with his four sacks but also in snaps with his 38, four more than cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc.