by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist

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One of the unsung heroes of the 2009 Miami Dolphins and their improbable playoff run has been fullback Lousaka Polite.

 

Polite, a fifth year veteran from Pitt, was signed as a free agent midway through the 2008 season. Originally thought to be a low profile pick-up, Polite has quickly become a very important part of the offense. His run and pass blocking have been critical to the success of the run game (#3 in the NFL). But just as importantly, his proficiency in converting short yardage first down opportunities in 2009 has been remarkable (12 of 12). This continues a run of success he had in this regard in 2008, where he converted 8 of 8 such opportunities to keep drives alive. Seven of those eight drives resulted in scores (five touchdowns and one field goal).

 

Truth is, Polite has been so good in all aspects of his game that he is now garnering serious consideration for the Pro Bowl.

 

Off the field, Polite is a terrific presence in the locker room, a shining example of an unselfish leader. I recently caught up with Polite at the Dolphins Training Facility in Davie to discuss his success and his view of the offense in general.

 

 

On the Dolphins offensive system and why it suits him and his teammates

Itís a very flexible system. We have a lot of guys with a lot of (different) abilities, and the assistant coaches can do a good job of putting guys in the right situations. Weíre a very unselfish team, so we all like to see each other do well. We cheer each other on, no matter who is the primary focus is on that play or whoeverís getting the ball. All those things are never a problem. We really exemplify what a team is here.

 

On his success with converting third-and-short and fourth-and-short situations.

Thereís no real secret. Itís just understanding the blocking scheme, understanding the defense front, how theyíre lined up and where theyíre trying to attack. Just trust what you see and go for it; pump your legs. Itís us against them; their 11 against our 11 and try to make it happen.

 

On if there is a particular part of his game that he takes extra pride in.

I take pride in being a complete player because at any play throughout the game it crucial to the outcome. Whether itís pass protection or run blocking, or whatever it is, itís all important. So I want to be known as a complete football player, not a guy that can do some things then they got to pull you out cause you canít do another thing. I want to be complete and reliable in any situation.

 

On if he feels the team is relying on him more with Patrick Cobbs on Injured Reserve.

It definitely hurt losing him, but I feel like they do a good job of having things as a group effort. Itís not one more guy taking more of the load. Itís weíre all taking an equal share of the load across the board, honestly.

 

 

You can cast your Pro Bowl vote for Lousaka Polite at NFL.com (http://www.nfl.com/probowl/ballot). Fan voting ends Monday, December 21. Rosters will be announced on December 29.