You add the superstars later. You add the foundation first.
It seems like what Scott Pioli is doing in his first full year-plus in Kansas City is to build the Chiefs in much the same way it seems he built the Patriots, at least to some degree. He'd be a full to try to completely follow some A-to-Z plan from New England, considering the NFL is constantly changing and the best front offices simply stay flexible and adjust to what's available to them in terms of player acquisition, but it's hard not to see some similarities.
The main objective has been laying the foundation. Much of this has already been hashed in several places before, including many articles on character at Arrowhead Pride. However, it's worth noting here once again that nearly every rookie pick in the draft was noted for his leadership traits, was captain of his respective college team or had quotes about how great of a person he was. All were known for being team-first guys, fully devoted to the cause because they love football so much.
Then you have the same thing from the veterans. The guys recently brought in this offseason all seem to be high-character veterans who will solidify the Chiefs locker room with their insight, experience and ability to stay focused through what should be an up-and-down season -- at least that's what you get when your team is so young and you have such a hill to climb from the last few seasons. Ryan Lilja, Casey Wiegmann and Thomas Jones will all help keep the team on point.
The New York Post recently posted the following from Mark Sanchez, showing what kind of player the Chiefs are getting in Thomas Jones:
"It was hard, man," says Sanchez. "I became really close to him in the locker room. After good games, after tough games; he always told me what to expect each week. During the playoffs, he would describe every feeling I would have before the game, during the game, after the game whether we win or lose. He was right on. He has so much experience in this league and so gracious with his time — to mentor me, tutor me."
Of course, this doesn't even touch the new actual leaders on the sidelines with Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel and Bob Gretz is beautifully writing about what this means to the Chiefs this week. Having the championship experience and pedigree this season should make a difference both on and off of the field.
Character and leadership are so vital on both sides of the ball and the Chiefs are making sure to not only bring in locker room leaders on the veteran side, but to grab the players who will eventually turn into those same influences with the rookies as well. It's a combination that should cement the foundation in 2010 and allow the Chiefs to take some more chances in the personnel department later on.