First off, TB12 does not sit. He plays the first quarter, keeps his shoulder warm, hopefully gets some points (whether a TD toss or not), enjoys the adulation of the Gillette crowd with the new AFC east banner/presentation (if they have one). The guy deserves it.
So, home field advantage is locked up with the #1 seed. We literally have nothing to gain on Sunday (Monday here in Noozeeland) except maybe maintaining momentum. We have a banged up team with plenty recovering from stomach flu and nicks and bruises. Well, Christmas may have come and gone, but here are my wishes for a special late Santa present vs. the Dolphins
However, TB12 comes off early enough to give Hoyer MEANINGFUL snaps. That doesn't mean he hands off every play or works out of a spread with 4 wide all game; rather, he plays with the same 2-2-1 base as TB12, making the same plays and reading the same options.
I'd sit just about anybody dinged up unless they need to work the rust off. In my mind, Hernandez sits - he's done his job for the year until the playoffs. Branch sits. Welker plays until he gets 3 or 4 catches, just enough to get him over the Bills games, then disappears. For most of the game, we see what we have in Tate, Price, and Edelman.
I want to see Price running some short and intermediate routes - which he wouldn't have done much at college - getting the ball in his hands and seeing what he can do. He's got the speed, let's throw him some screens. I want to see Edelman working in traffic, coming across the middle, being the hot read. Drops are fine, he needs the game time, needs to be popped a few times. I want to see Tate being a vertical threat but also running some of those deep crossing routes ala DeSean Jackson. These aren't necessarily plays to win vs. the Dolphins, but rather to test the players and see what they have.
I want to see BJGE on the field for 72 yards, but I want Sammy Morris as the 3rd down back and Fred Taylor as the lead back if law firm gets to 1000 or halftime rolls around. Taylor, like all RBs, needs a rhythm - his first five may go for 3 yards then he pops a 20 yarder. I like Sammy Morris as an outlet for Hoyer, he's got good hands and there's no point risking a still-very-small Danny Woodhead against the ferocious Dolphins line and pass rushers.
Defensively, Mayo should sit. He's got the tackling title, it won't affect his Probowl chances, and he's just too important to risk. I want to see whether a ILB pairing of Fletcher and Guyton can stop the run. I don't think they can, so it's time to see what we have ahead of next year's draft. I want to see TBC, Moore, Cunningham, and Ninkovich given as many reps as they can, in as many formations as they can, just to get some sacks and confidence - Henne isn't the most mobile QB.
Up front, (and noting my earlier comment), let's see a youth movement on the line. Kyle Love and whoever else is off the IR. I think Mike Wright, if recovered, could benefit from 10-12 snaps in 3rd or 2nd and long situations, but I don't want him banging heads with the Dolphins run game too much. Why risk big Vince at all? A guy his size is an ACL tear waiting to happen.
Secondary, I see no reason not to throw the top guys out there. Butler and McCourty starting, Meriweather and Sanders with the majority of reps. We already know what we have in Brown and Page because of the reps they get.
Anyway, that's what I'd like to see. And if Brian Hoyer finishes 17/30 with 250 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs, I'd count it a worthwhile learning experience.