The Dolphins pass rush is way off its pace of a year ago, but Coach Dave Wannstedt isn't ready to give up on his defensive linemen.<P>

"Our defensive line is being challenged, our defensive line is being questioned as far as rushing the passer, and that's fine," Wannstedt said Monday. "If these guys are going to be the defensive line they want to be, they'll step up to the challenge."

The Dolphins didn't do that Sunday in a 42-10 loss at St. Louis. The front four generated very little pressure on quarterback Kurt Warner, and he took advantage by dissecting the Dolphins defense to the tune of 328 yards and four touchdowns.

The only sack by the Dolphins on Sunday was recorded by Patrick Surtain, who got to Surtain on a cornerback blitz.

In the first three games, the Dolphins have recorded only four sacks, which puts them on pace to finish with 21. That's a far cry from the 48 they recorded last season. In fact, the Dolphins haven't finished with less than 30 sacks in any season since 1995.

Of course, it shouldn't be forgotten that the Dolphins have faced three very good teams in Tennessee, Oakland and St. Louis, but the fact remains that the pass rush has been inadequate so far this season.

That clearly was one of the concerns heading into this season, particularly after defensive end Trace Armstrong left for Oakland as a free agent.

"In the offseason we talked about this," Wannstedt said. "I'm not surprised, but it's not good enough. We definitely have to get better. I want to challenge the guys up front before we make any significant changes, scheme-wise."

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