Dolphins vs. Falcons preseason game: Here’s what you’ll see

Mike Pouncey has yet to get significant practice work in this offseason. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE—The Dolphins are playing an NFL game for the first time since January, but don’t get too excited about what they’ll reveal.

When Miami hosts the Falcons for the preseason opener Thursday, many starters are expected to be on the sideline. Those who actually do take the field probably won’t be out there long.

The most notable absence will be new quarterback Jay Cutler, who went through his first practice Tuesday and won’t be ready until next week’s game against Baltimore at the soonest. Matt Moore is in line for the first-string snaps, but the Dolphins might want to be careful about how long they leave him out there behind a disheveled offensive line.

Miami could be going without three starters and certainly will not have center Mike Pouncey, who has yet to go through a full practice. Right guard Ted Larsen is out long-term with a biceps injury, and left tackle Laremy Tunsil has been away from the team because of a personal issue.

Running back Jay Ajayi has been in the league’s concussion protocol since July 31. While he did some light work at practice Tuesday and could be cleared in time to play, it’s highly unlikely.

“I would be hard pressed to do it,” coach Adam Gase said.

At the other skill positions, Cutler’s absence somewhat diminishes the importance of them getting some work in against Atlanta. There’s not a huge compulsion to have them out there in a live-contact situation to get reps with Moore, who’s been with the team for years and won’t be the starter when the season begins.

The most interesting aspect of the receivers’ work will be watching the competition among the backups. Leonte Carroo is looking for better footing on the depth chart after an underwhelming rookie year, and return man Jakeem Grant has been getting a significant look at receiver this offseason.

The Dolphins have been testing out Grant in the slot and outside, and he had his best practice of training camp Tuesday. When asked if he expected a big opportunity to showcase himself Thursday, he said, “I’m praying so. I’ve been putting in the work and trying to make plays so the coaches will be able to trust me.”

Most of the quarterback snaps will likely go to Brandon Doughty and David Fales, and there’s a meaningful competition there considering Cutler and Moore are 34 and 33, respectively. The Dolphins need a third quarterback ready for the season, and Doughty is the leading candidate after spending all last year with the team.

It’ll also be the first real look at rookies like Charles Harris, Raekwon McMillan and Cordrea Tankersley, all of whom have been practicing since May.

Defensively, Miami’s starters are healthy except for safety Nate Allen. The team is planning to give fellow safety T.J. McDonald plenty of snaps in the preseason even though he is suspended for the first eight games, so he would be the apparent fill-in next to Reshad Jones.

Veterans like Jones, Cameron Wake, Ndamukong Suh and Lawrence Timmons should be active, but aren’t likely to play long. Wake sat out of the first two preseason games last year when he was coming back from a torn Achilles tendon.

The Dolphins play at home this week and next before heading to Philadelphia for a week of joint practices leading up to their Aug. 24 game, then they wrap up the preseason at Minnesota on Aug. 31.

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