SPOTLIGHT ON SECONDARY

With cornerback Patrick Surtain again sitting out practice on Thursday, the Dolphins could be facing the possibility of going against the New York Jets without one of their talented starting cornerbacks. That means some adjustments will have to be made, and some players will have to respond to a new challenge.

The two guys who clearly step into the spotlight should Surtain be sidelined on Sunday are cornerback Jamar Fletcher and safety Trent Gamble.

Fletcher would step in for Surtain as the starting cornerback opposite against the Jets, while Gamble would become the team's nickel back.

That's the way the Dolphins lined up in the second half against the Colts last Sunday after Surtain left the game because of a knee injury.

That injury has been diagnosed as a bruise, but it's a deep bruise and it's really not looking good as far as Surtain playing Sunday.

The Dolphins now have to hope that Fletcher can improve on his performance of last Sunday, when he was torched by Pro Bowl wide receiver Marvin Harrison.

"Every player wants an opportunity to play and if Pat doesn't play, then Jamar's opportunity will come knocking," said Coach Dave Wannstedt. "He's looking forward to that. He's had a very good week of practice and I have all the confidence in the world that he's going to go out there and make plays."

As for Gamble, he did a respectable job against the Colts, especially considering the fact he had gotten very little work in practice as the nickel cornerback.

Gamble, of course, has made his name in the NFL as a special teams player, and Wannstedt said this week Gamble makes one or two plays on special teams every game that help the Dolphins win games.

But the coach thinks Gamble can do the job on defense, as well.

"He's a little bit deceiving," Wannstedt said. "He can run a 4.5 and he's a tough guy. I've got a lot of confidence in Trent Gamble."

Of course, the ideal scenario is for Surtain to be ready for Sunday's game. But, as we said earlier in the week, the Dolphins are going to err on the side of caution with Surtain.

"We would not do anything before we ran him and put him through some drills," Wannstedt said. "He would have to feel good and the doctors would have to feel good about it. I know he wants to play. He's a guy that from a practice standpoint, there's not many guys on this team that I would say wouldn't have to practice full speed on Friday and could play. Pat could. We're talking about a bad bruise on his knee. We're not talking about a separated shoulder or torn ligaments or cartilage or something like that."


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