CORNERBACK CONCERNS

There might not be a better starting cornerback tandem in the NFL than the Dolphins' pair of Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison, but it's the depth at the position that has to be a concern with less than three weeks to go before the start of the regular season.

Jamar Fletcher, the Dolphins' first-round pick in 2001, is slated to handle the third cornerback spot, but his performance in training camp has been up and down.

In the first two preseason games, Fletcher didn't get much action with opponents rarely throwing the ball downfield.

Coach Dave Wannstedt is hoping that changes Saturday night at Houston.

"He really hasn't been tested much," Wannstedt said Wednesday. "Hopefully, they'll throw some balls to him this week. Between this week and next week, he'll get a lot of action. He's been steady and he's made some plays (during training camp). I think he's progressing. I just want to see it in a game."

Behind Fletcher, the Dolphins have few sure things, and the problem has been compounded by the ankle injury sustained by cornerback Omare Lowe in last Thursday night's preseason game against New Orleans.

Lowe hasn't practiced since then, and he probably won't play against Houston Saturday night.

In other camp news:

• DE Rob Burnett finally returned to practice on Wednesday, although he did work on a limited basis.

• Also back at practice on Wednesday afternoon was offensive tackle Anthony Cesario, who had been out with a quad injury. Cesario better be impressive real quickly if he hopes to make the 53-man roster.

• As has been the case every time the Dolphins have practiced twice in a day, Mark Dixon and Larry Chester were held out in one of the two sessions.

• DE David Bowens said he initially he had only dislocated a finger when he was injured Monday night. He even asked someone to pop the finger back into place before being told he probably had suffered a fracture. That was confirmed the next day; Bowens is expected to be out a few weeks.


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