Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins Missing Lousaka Polite


 

Let’s flashback to the last time the Miami Dolphins made the playoffs.  In 2008, the Dolphins completed a miraculous turnaround from 1-15 to 11-5 and captured the AFC East crown under the NFL’s most accurate quarterback Chad Pennington and under HC Tony Sparano.  The Dolphins were mainly known that year for their unleashing of the Wildcat, made famous by the electric duo of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.  However, the Dolphins did not make the playoffs riding the Wildcat alone.  They won the AFC East by eliminating turnovers and playing efficiently.  Who contributed greatly to this efficiency and consistency?  Lousaka Polite, or as I used to call him “The First Down Machine.”

Polite played from 2008-2011 for the ‘Phins, and as a fullback, his numbers never jumped off the charts.   He served primarily as a blocker for Ronnie and Ricky, and would occasionally catch a pass from Pennington in the flats.  However, there is one statistical category that sums up just how valuable Lousake Polite really was.  The category?  His efficiency on short yardage situations, especially 3rd down and one and 4th down and one.  I will let the numbers do the talking.   Here are Polite’s numbers during his three year stint as a Miami Dolphin.

2008:   21 rushes, 83 yards.  11 receptions, 51 yards.  Polite also gained 11 first downs on 12 attempts on 3rd or 4th and one.

2009:   37 rushes, 123 yards.  Polite gained 16 first downs on 16 attempts on 3rd or 4th and one.

2010:   26 rushes, 62 yards, 1 TD.  12 receptions, 61 yards.  Polite gained 14 first downs on 15 attempts on 3rd or 4th and one. 

During three seasons with the Dolphins, Polite gained 41 first downs on 43 attempts on 3rd or 4th and one.  That kind of consistency and production can’t be replaced, and I was upset when the Dolphins released Polite in 2011. 

How many times this season have the Dolphins failed to complete a 3rd or 4th and short?  Take last Sunday’s game against the New York Jets for example.  Miami had 3rd and 4th and short on the Jets’ goal line and failed to punch it in.  Mike Sherman’s play selection consisted of a power run and a fade route, both of which were executed poorly and failed to put up six points.  These two plays reiterated how much I miss Lousaka Polite.  I think fans took it for granted how automatic he was in short yardage situations, sitatutions that could determine the outcome of a close game.  Granted, Polite may have experienced such success due to a better Miami O-Line, but I can remember multiple occasions where Lousake Polite lowered his head and picked up the first down on his own.  Opposing teams knew the play before it happened, yet they still could never stop the powerful fullback from doing what he did best and picking up crucial first downs.

Other than Daniel Thomas and Charles Clay, Miami does not really have an option for these 3rd/4th and short sitautions.  With Thomas out for the season,  I think it is up to Charles Clay to fill the role as power runner, as we have seen before this season.  When the ‘Fins find themselves in these short yardage situations, I would like to see them toughen up and run the ball down opposing defenses’ throats.  I would like to see Charles Clay take a handoff and channel his inner Lousake Polite.  These short yardage situations may determine the outcome of a game, and the outcome of one game at this point in the playoff race could determine the outcome of the season. 

FINS UP!

Tags: Featured Lousaka Polite Miami Dolphins Popular

  • tpl

    Miami definitely needs a short yardage back. Maybe FB JC Copeland is the answer. A possible late round pick described as a “sledgehammer” lead blocker, and would be an excellent short yardage back at 270.

    • Eric Roddy

      The kid can play that is for sure. I seriously doubt we will draft at that position though given the always available talent at the position that goes unsigned. Good thought though tpl

  • gofins60

    Blame Philbin and his “system” for not wanting or needing a FB.

    • Eric Roddy

      Actually, we do use a fullback frequently on running plays that aren’t out of the shotgun. We wouldn’t even need but one package that used a fullback that we could use on 3rd or 4th and short. Thanks for reading!

      • gofins60

        Yes, but Miami doesn’t have anyone like Polite on the roster. I believe that they use Clay or one of the TEs.

        • Eric Roddy

          true that is what i meant to say too. they have the need for a FB position, but after letting Javorksi Lane walk, they have been using it on TE’s

  • Chris

    They must’ve read your article yesterday. Got this from Sun Sentinel:

    The Dolphins signed tight end/fullback Emmanuel Ogbuehi to their practice squad. Ideally, Ogbuehi (6-3, 250), a rookie from Georgia State, could provide bulk and depth in the backfield as well as at the line of scrimmage.

    • Eric Roddy

      Wow what if they actually did read it that would be awesome.. Regardless, I am just glad they made a move like this. Ogbuehi could be the next Polite, in fact they have almost the same dimensions. Polite was 6-1 (though listed at six flat) and 248 lbs. thanks for that bit of info chris!

  • South Florida Aussie

    Nice write up Eric. This almost seems like a continuation of our little spat we had the other day about Sherman. But you are spot on with this one.