Ryan Sims Has To Earn His Keep

Ryan Sims and the Chiefs have yet to be a good fit together. Like most relationships, it takes time to develop chemistry, respect and an understanding of each other's point of view. But after a recent discussion between Sims and head coach Herman Edwards, what happens next will clearly be based solely on performance.

After Wednesday's morning practice, Sims and Edwards had a heart-to-heart talk. Afterwards, Edwards called it positive. Sims called it a clarification.

The bottom line is that it's time for Sims to step up and show his teammates that he can play at a high level. He has the talent, and there might not be a nicer guy on the team. But sometimes, nice guys finish last.

I've been on the Sims bandwagon since last season. Nobody on the defense worked harder to get in shape than Sims in 2005. Many believed that he'd turned the corner.

But in the season opener against the New York Jets, Sims suffered a foot injury. All the momentum he had built up during the offseason died that afternoon.

To his credit, Sims bounced back and worked his tail off to return. Eventually, he did just that, and showed flashes of the kind of player many thought he'd be when he was drafted.

But now he faces an uphill battle. Not to make the roster, but rather to find the internal drive that will push him to win his position, rather than having it handed to him.

Sims clearly has talent, and though he has not lived up to expectations, his former coaching staff did not help.

Former defensive coordinator Greg Robinson never utilized Sims' ability to penetrate the pocket. Under Robinson, Sims was often seen dropping back into zone coverage. How much sense does that make?

But Gunther Cunningham is running the show now. If this defense is going to take shape and fly right with the Tampa Two scheme, then Sims has to play a big role.

Edwards' chat with Sims will motivate him to do one of two things. Sims will either take his place with the first team, or he will settle for being a backup behind a trio of less-talented defensive tackles.

It's time for Sims to take charge. Edwards has given him that opportunity.

What Sims does with that opportunity remains to be seen. But if he wants to start on opening day, then Saturday night's game against the St. Louis Rams could go a long way towards determining if he'll be a leader or a follower.

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