Joe Philbin and his staff usually sit together two days before a preseason game and map out the playing time for every player in the coming game.
When he spoke to the media Monday evening, Philbin had not yet conducted that meeting so he wasn't aware how much his quarterbacks would play. But he did know this much about starter Ryan Tannehill:
"He’s going to play a little bit,” Philbin said.
That's fine but the question needs to be asked:
How much is to be gained by playing Tannehill a little bit when the rookie will not have the benefit of having his blind side protected by left tackle Jake Long.
Long, you see, will miss the Dallas game after suffering a knee injury in practice Monday. He could miss between 1-3 weeks. So he could be ready for the regular-season opener but he's not suiting up against the Cowboys.
And that being the case, is risking Tannehill's health worth the handful of downs he's likely to get in a game that doesn't count? Or do the Dolphins believe so strongly that the rookie needs as many snaps as possible as to risk getting him injured (more than usual)?
Regardless of the answer, the hope is the Dolphins consider what is at stake. The hope is they weigh playing Tannehill a few downs to get him experience versus exposing him to injury because he's out there without his best blindside protector.