The Dolphins walked off their practice field in Davie like a group of school kids who had been told that recess would be followed by ice cream. The mood was light. And so was the equipment.
The Dolphins, in what amounted to their final full workout for today's first-round playoff game against Indianapolis, took off their helmets and slowed down because coach Dave Wannstedt wanted to deliver a message. His team may be an underdog at home, but he has a different view.
"I'm confident," Wannstedt said. "Our guys understand what's on the line. We know why we didn't win the game the last time we played them."
CHANGING OF THE GUARD: Quarterback Jay Fiedler today becomes the first quarterback other than Dan Marino to start a playoff game for Miami since Super Bowl XVII. David Woodley started that game, a 27-17 loss to Washington on Jan. 30, 1983.
DOWNGRADED: The Ravens changed the status of backup quarterback Tony Banks from doubtful to questionable. Banks threw in practice and is expected to be the No. 2 quarterback on Sunday against Denver.
RAVENS-BRONCOS INACTIVES: Baltimore placed cornerback Clarence Love, tight end John Jones, offensive lineman Sammy Williams and wide receiver Marcus Nash on the inactive list. Denver listed safety Darius Clark, running back Terrell Davis, wide receiver Chafie Fields and defensive tackle Jerry Johnson as inactive.
HONEST VIEW: Oakland defensive tackle Darrell Russell was not happy when quarterback Rich Gannon finished fourth in the MVP voting: "We're the Raiders. So the only way we get an MVP is if the other candidates dropped dead at once."
OLD MAN McNAIR: Tennessee's Steve McNair is the quarterback with the most playoff experience in the AFC. He has gone 3-1 in post-season play, with all the games last season and the loss coming in the Super Bowl. The five other AFC starting quarterbacks in the playoffs _ Gannon, Fiedler, Baltimore's Trent Dilfer, Denver's Brian Griese and Indianapolis' Peyton Manning _ have started three combined. Two were by Dilfer for the Bucs in 1997.
_ TIMES WIRES