Mike McDaniel “encouraged about the idea” of not playing Tua Tagovailoa in preseason opener

With the Dolphins having two joint practices with the Buccaneers this week, it sounds like Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is unlikely to play against Tampa Bay in Saturday’s preseason opener.

That’s based on what Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said during his Thursday morning press conference. Though McDaniel did add the caveat that he’s trying not to get ahead of himself with any declarations about playing time.

“I will say that based off of the last couple practices, I’m encouraged about the idea of not playing him,” McDaniel said. “But, again, that remains to be seen from what happens today. And that has nothing to do with bottom-line results offensively, it’s more how prepared he is at practice — I just want to continue to build off of what he’s been building on.”

McDaniel noted he talked to the team on Thursday morning and told everyone to be ready to play in the preseason, though there will be players who won’t actually be out there when the game starts.

As for Tagovailoa, McDaniel said he’s weighing the risk of playing the quarterback against the value of getting him used to the on-field operation with his new coaches and teammates. If Tagovailoa doesn’t play on Saturday, there’s a good chance he’ll be on the field for one of Miami’s last two exhibition contests.

“I would be surprised if he didn’t [play in the preseason],” McDaniel said. “That being said, I honestly try to take it day-by-day and not get ahead of myself because if you start thinking that way, then you can start creating reasons to fit what your agenda is. I understand the value of doing both things. There’s tremendous value in preserving and going through that rep. But that’s why I don’t spend time that far out.

“But, yeah, I’d be surprised if we didn’t get some of that done before the regular season starts.”