I’m all for the best player playing, but isn’t that automatic? If the best player isn’t on the field, then who is? Regardless of contract, college, or pedigree, I say that’s the way it should be.

I’m all for the best player playing, but isn’t that automatic? If the best player isn’t on the field, then who is? Regardless of contract, college, or pedigree, I say that’s the way it should be.

To me, it’s a no-brainer, but Scott Pioli isn’t talking to me. It goes deeper than common sense, because both Todd Haley and Pioli want their players to understand.

They believe in something from days past – back when it wasn’t about personal glory or incentive-laden contracts, but more about team and the combined effort of each individual. Words like hard work, dedication, and determination decided if a team won or lost.

It’s not like when you had coaches like Buddy Ryan. His son, Rex Ryan with the New York Jets, is trying to carry on the tradition, but too many times players think they’re somebody before they play anybody. I love confidence, but with a hint of humility.

Dwayne Bowe was a lot of fun, but then he made the hard catches look easy while making the easy ones look hard. Suddenly Bowe wasn’t as cute. Today the NFL is different with big money and celebrity status. Like Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson on “Dancing With the Stars.” I think he needs to stick to the end-zone dance, but could you envision an old school guy like Jim Marshall dancing like that?

Yeah, me neither!

I’m a common Joe; I like to keep it simple. Vince Lombardi said people try to find things in this game that don’t exist, but football is only two things – blocking and tackling. Pioli and Haley aren’t complicated, because I believe Pioli is dedicated and just wants the same from everyone. He knows he still needs to convince the fans, but he’s going to get his players’ attention.

It’s like life, some people work harder than others. The harder you work, the harder it is to give up what you got. When I talk about Jamaal Charles and him doing it again in 2010, I usually get a funny stare. Not because folks don’t like Charles – most do – but they question his durability. How many times can he leave the game with a separated shoulder?

You can’t help but to wonder if that’ll be a factor this season. Haley said Thomas Jones wasn’t brought in because of Charles’ toughness, but I’m sure that was part of it. As far as a shoo-in, Charles was the Chiefs’ best option compared to the rest, but Pioli rocks the boat by signing Jones. Jones still has gas in the tank and Pioli isn’t saying Charles has the job. If Charles wants to keep it, he’ll have to prove it, and no, the 259 rushing yards against the Denver Broncos doesn’t change a thing.

Bill Parcells said that complacency kills teams, and that there’s never a quota on having enough good players. The only guarantee on this team is that if a player works hard enough and commits to something bigger than a paycheck there’s a place for him. And that could be iffy!

A hard pill to swallow for the modern player, but the price you pay for excellence. Consistency for everyone is what will make it work, and that includes both Haley and Pioli.

Last season fans questioned the evenness of the plan. There were times last year it appeared that particular players still got to play even after playing badly. The player with the biggest bull’s-eye was quarterback Matt Cassel. I’m not saying Brodie Croyle was the better option, but many fans didn’t get why linebacker Derrick Johnson was being taught a lesson and Cassel didn’t get as much as a warning.

Was there a double standard? I can’t say, but fans are quick to point out mixed messages. Hey, they’ve heard it all.

If this is what Haley and Pioli are going to do, then they need to stay true to what they preach.

But what we need to understand is that sometimes the best player may not be the most talented one. That player may not have the overall skill, but everything else makes him the better fit.

Linebacker Demorrio Williams started 13 games over Derrick Johnson. Johnson only started three games last year, but I have little doubt that Johnson is the better talent. Most ignored the fact that Williams had 117 combined tackles, the best of his seven-year career. But after six years Johnson’s play-making abilities have been sporadic. He just wasn’t able to make it happen on a consistent basis, but Haley wanted to push his buttons.

It wasn’t popular with the fans, but I believe it worked. With each break Johnson made plays and for the first time he really looked like that difference-maker the Chiefs drafted him to be.

His job was on the line, but that’s what opposition does, and I think Johnson is going to benefit in 2010.

I want my kids to do what I ask, but because they want to. I know, fantasy world stuff, but I’m sure Haley would prefer his doghouse to be empty this season. Pioli wants his players to embrace whatever opportunity happens their way, taking nothing for granted because it may not be there again. Not for the next big contract, or to improve their worth come free agency, but because they’ll win if they do. To win is why they play.

Lombardi believed that people who work together win, whether it is against complex football defenses or the problems of modern society.

There’s nothing but open doors for Chief players. Everyone is on the same footing. Players like Andy Studebaker, Jovan Belcher, Wallace Gilberry and DaJuan Morgan have an occasion here. It’s fertile ground and Haley is readying his plow. I’m very hopeful one of the players I just mentioned steps up, especially Studebaker who showed plenty of promise last season.

No favorites, just open tryouts. On your mark, get set … GO!

Good day, Chief fans!