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Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp: Scott Pioli Says Expect A Lot Of Conditioning

Scott Pioli just had to laugh. It was the only thing he could do when answering a question about what to expect during the team's upcoming practice sessions.

"Fans will be seeing a lot of conditioning. A lot of conditioning," said Pioli. It's been the hallmark of Todd Haley run practices since day one, when guys like Dwayne Bowe and Branden Albert were read the riot act for not being in top physical condition. By now, KC veterans realize that there's no reason, or excuse, to not be completely physically prepared for the long season ahead. And even though they're new, you should expect Chiefs rookies to get the point very quickly.

The conditioning this year is tantamount to each team's success. For the last few months, every player had zero accountability to work out. While many came together for team-organized practices, it was hardly the same thing as the OTAs held in the spring and early summer. Instead of being in touch with strength and conditioning coaches all year round, players had to work out on their own -- using their own trainers and own methods. It's better than nothing, but it's definitely not what coaching staffs envisioned when thinking of prep work for this upcoming NFL season.

Thus, you'd better believe that the Chiefs camp will be all about close observation early on. Haley and his staff will have to figure out who let themselves go a bit and who maintained the right dedication and desire to come into camp in top form. Camp has been grueling in the past for those players who weren't up to par, so those players should stand out to media personnel and fans quickly if there are players stuck putting in extra time.

For rookies like Shane O'Bannon or Jerrelle Powe, it's the conditioning (or lack of it) that might put them over the top against undrafted free agents and lingering veteran role players for the final roster spots. If two guys are fairly equal in terms of talent or potential, Haley is certain to choose the one with the stronger work ethic.

It's been Haley's way since the beginning and it's gotten the team to this point. Conditioning is the most obvious and clear-cut answer that Pioli will give about any question during camp, and that's because the Chiefs have been built for long-term success. Here's hoping the players coming into camp got the memo far, far in advance.