I was reading an article in the Miami Herald this morning titled Dolphin's Sparano says Henne has a good chance to start. A little nugget at the end of the first page caught my attention. Ireland is speaking about Lousaka Polite and is quoted as saying:
"His blocking always has been satisfactory for me. There are times you can use some power, but I’m not dissatisfied with Lou at all. He runs well in short yardage, catches well. He’s a very solid player."
Is this Ireland's way of saying goodbye?
Remember Gibril Wilson? If so, you also remember Ireland's double-speak endorsement of Wilson just about 2 weeks before he was cut. Here's what Dolphin GM Jeff Ireland had to say about the FS we not-so-lovingly refer to as The Gerbil:
"We have our evaluation of Gibril Wilson. We know what kind of player he’s capable of being... I think he’s going to be a very good player for the future. He was disappointed in his play last year. I think he can play better. We’ll just have to see. I think he will."
What do these Ireland quotes have in common:
- He does not criticize. Ireland does not express personal disappointment with the player. He points out that Gibril may have been disappointed with himself, but he will be a very good player for the future. Apparently, Miami wasn't in his future. For Polite, he makes the point twice, by saying Lou has been "satisfactory" and Jeff is "not dissatisified... at all". Notice how Ireland chooses his words... Satisfactory and not dissatisfied. Synonyms include: average, decent, not terrible and we are looking for his replacement.
- He states that he understands the player's abilities. "We have our evaluation of Gibril Wilson. We know what kind of player he's capable of being" and "[Lou's] a very solid player." Notice he doesn't use the words starter, improvement, important or Miami Dolphins to describe either player. To me the, the phrase 'solid player' brings to mind 'decent back-up' and 'little upside'. He sounds like a guy who has already done his homework, made up his mind and just doesn't want to show his cards yet.
Other reasons that I believe Lousaka Polite has played his last game as a Miami Dolphin
- Fullbacks in the NFL are on the way out. And from everything I have read Daboll' system relies more on the versatility of an H-back to create mismatches than a true fullback to lead block.
- Polite's strengths are redundant. Ireland describes Lou's skills as "runs well in short yardage" and "catches well". Doesn't Charles Clay catch well? I consider Daniel Thomas, Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown all to be power-runners, and it is probable that 2/3 of these RB's will be on the roster come pre-season. How many 230 lb short yardage RB's do we need?
- What should set Lou apart doesn't anymore. Ireland describes his blocking as "satisfactory." Although he doesn't say it, I get the impression that Ireland expects a TRUE FB to be an A level blocker instead of the C level implied by 'satisfactory'. I have a hard time believing that we don't have other 'satisfactory' lead-blockers on the roster.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like the Lousaka Monster as much as the next Dolphan, but I think his time in Miami is up. This is unfortunate because he seems to be a great guy in the locker room and off the field. He is the 2009 and 2010 winner of the Miami Dolphin's Nat Moore Community Service Award.
Decrypting Ireland's interviews is like putting together a puzzle. Taken on their own, the individual pieces don't reveal the picture.... but when the puzzle is complete you can look back and see how all the pieces fit together and say, " It all makes sense now. I should have known."
It's like when you find out your significant other has been cheating on you for months and you had no idea. But once you know the truth all of the warning signs you had dismissed for so long suddenly become obvious.
So ask yourself this, "Is my significant other cheating on me with Jeff Ireland?" If the answer is yes, skip the next question and stop reading because you've got WAY bigger problems than who will be Miami's fullback in 2011.
Then, after clearing up your relationship issues, ask yourself, "Has Big #36 played his last game in the Aqua and Orange?"