Swimming With the Fishes

The $8 million man will lead the Dolphins out of the desert. Honest.

1:23 p.m.

The writers spend the remainder of their allotted time trying to count the players on the field, to account for any absences, injuries, position changes, or alien abductions. To an outsider, it sounds like they're playing keno as they read jersey numbers and check names on their rosters:

"Twenty, 21 in red."

2004: 4-12, last in the division
2004: 4-12, last in the division
2006: 16-0, division champs
2006: 16-0, division champs
Road to XLI
Road to XLI
Divorce Becomes You
Divorce Becomes You
How Reporters Keep Track
Colby Katz
How Reporters Keep Track

"What about 9 and 10?"

"Thirty-six."

"We got 36."

On the field below, linemen smack a metal tackling dummy.

"Forty-seven, 48, 49? Tight ends?"

"Two linebackers. Forty-eight and 49."

"What number is missing?"

"We still need 48, 49, and 87."

"Forty-eight's wearing 87."

Coach Saban directs the linebackers. The scribes are far enough away that he's audible, just not intelligible. Not that they're paying attention.

"Eighty-nine? No, there's two 89s out there."

"Yeah, but you've got two 89s offensively too."

"That's the problem. You've got guys with different numbers back there."

"You've got a guy wearing 26. That's another 26."

1:45 p.m.

Greene herds everyone back inside. The writers sit in their cubicled coop and debate whether Pete Rose or Vlad Guerrero was the greatest former Montreal Expos player. (Such a discussion can go on way, way longer than you'd think.)

Two hours later

In comes Saban, his taut ankles and stringy legs — rotisserie-chicken tan — poking out from his shorts. He talks for 14 minutes, illuminating nothing. "I think what we're trying to accomplish here," he says at one point, "is procedure."

FUN FAKT!

Special-teams chameleon Wes Welker was tenth in the NFL in total return yardage last season — but he led all Dolphins receivers in whiteness!

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