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How a Routine Play at Minicamp on Tuesday was Indicative of So Much More

The competition level jumped up a few notches this week

The catch came along the sidelines not far from where the media was standing.

During 11-on-11 drills on Day One of Kansas City Chiefs mandatory minicamp Tuesday afternoon, Chris Conley made what looked like a pretty standard reception in front of Marcus Peters on the far field at the University of Kansas Health System training complex.

It was a hitch, or something similar, on the outside, and Conley secured the catch for an intermediate gain.

For media-types always looking for that one dynamic play to write about and hyperbolize as guys work in shorts without pads, this particular sequence is one that generally wouldn't make that cut.

It was forgettable—solid, but unspectacular.

But in this case, the reaction of the Chiefs' All-Pro cornerback after the play was over is a perfect example of why this team should and has embraced the high expectations heading their way this year.

Seconds after Conley made the catch, Peters immediately began shouting in a serious but playful way towards the offense—presumably at quarterback Alex Smith and head coach Andy Reid.

Moments later, cornerbacks coach Al Harris began shouting at the referee in attendance who was on that side of the field—telling him to watch for the push off and laughing as he nonchalantly, but intentionally, backed up his cornerback.

Apparently, Peters, who in his first two years has been named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year (2015) and an All-Pro (2016), thought Conley had extended his arm for offensive pass interference to get the separation needed to make the catch.

For perspective: this was a routine drill during a minicamp practice in June, but the competitive nature of the guys on the field was still manifesting itself in a healthy way. Peters still wanted to win that rep and felt he had.

Peters and the rest of the guys on the field, many of whom were also talking throughout the day, can't help but try and win every drill, every rep, and every play.

It's a culture of competition Reid has brought to the organization, which has led this team to a level of sustained success over the past four years that rivals any stretch over the past four decades for this franchise.

"A little more chirping, that's for sure," Smith admitted hearing during practice when he spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon. "I heard a little more talk on that side of the ball. I don't want to name names, but there was definitely more talking."

With all 90 players on the roster in attendance, including three of the team's All-Pro defensive players, Peters, along with safety Eric Berry and linebacker Justin Houston, agreed that the competitive juices were flowing on Tuesday.

"That's football baby," Peters explained of the 'chirping' when talking with the media after practice. "We're getting back into the swing of it. We're here for a couple of days before we've got to be back at camp. We've got a mentality, and we're interested in one thing – the Super Bowl."

"That's just what we do," Berry added of the friendly banter. "We're on the same team, but it's like having a house full of brothers, you all are going to fight inside the house, you'll wrestle, you'll argue, you'll talk smack, but as soon as somebody else from another neighborhood or someone up the street tries to try you, we're all together.

"We make each other stronger while we're in the building."

"It's having fun," Houston concluded. "We're enjoying ourselves. That's part of the game."

Between those three defensive stars, the Chiefs have guys who have combined to play 15 NFL seasons and have 11 Pro Bowl honors among them.

There's no shortage of talent on this team, and for a guy like Peters, who has consistently spoken of playing this game for respect, there's only one true way to earn it in his mind.

"Super Bowl," he said. "That's the ultimate respect you get in this game – win a championship. That's a team goal. All the individual goals, they're great. It means I'm doing my job and my team can win more games. Other than that, I'm just here to win Super Bowls."

If it's true that Super Bowl titles are simply a byproduct of the work put in months before the big game is even played, which guys consistently mention while hoisting trophies and sizing up rings, then Tuesday was a step in the right direction for the Chiefs.

Simply stated—they were getting after it, and they'll do it again Wednesday afternoon for the second of three minicamp practices this week.

After that, the team will break until training camp in late-July.

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