For some Kansas City Chiefs players, 4-0 is a long-time coming

Jamie Squire

Somber moods quickly swing to good moods. Dysfunction evolves to cohesion. Silence morphs to laughter. Indeed, winning cures all and Sunday's locker room following the Chiefs 31-7 win against the Giants offered evidence.

The Chiefs became the second team in NFL history to start a season 4-0 following a season with at least 14 losses and the turnaround has been remarkable.

Nevertheless, watching the improvement from the outside is one thing. It takes on a different meaning from those within who endured tough times in recent seasons, such as punter Dustin Colquitt, who joined the Chiefs in 2005.

"It's been exciting just to see the change, the rapid change at that," Colquitt said in the Chiefs locker room following Sunday's game. "We had a few years there where it was tough to watch, tough to go into work, tough for a lot of things. But a lot of the core players here, they hung tight."

The last time the Chiefs were 4-0 came a decade ago in 2003.

Colquitt was among many Chiefs players in good spirits in the locker room. There were plenty of smiles because the players know securing victories in the NFL, much less being undefeated through four games, proves no simple task. The last time the Chiefs were 4-0 came a decade ago in 2003.

But when considering what the 2013 Chiefs are about, it starts with coach Andy Reid.

"We knew we had good players here," Colquitt said. "We just had to find a spark and I think this coaching staff really came in here and provided that."

Safety Kendrick Lewis, who joined the Chiefs in 2010, said the team is building something special and he appreciates the feeling.

"It's an unbelievable thing," Lewis said. "After coming from a struggling year, for us to bounce back like that, it shows volumes to our locker room, our fans, to everybody in the community and this organization the change was good."

Second-year offensive lineman Donald Stephenson, a native of Blue Springs, Mo., grew up watching the Chiefs and knows first-hand how the community feels about the team. He believes the team earned the right to be undefeated on the heels of a tumultuous 2012 campaign.

"If anybody deserves to be 4-0 right now, it's the Chiefs."

"If anybody deserves to be 4-0 right now, it's the Chiefs," Stephenson said. "We went through a lot last year - the fan base went through a lot over the years - so just to see the fans happy is huge."

Still, there's more to the team's winning streak than just deserving it. From a good coaching staff to team chemistry, successful teams throughout NFL history have common traits.

Prior to joining the Chiefs during the offseason, backup quarterback Chase Daniel experienced a winning formula from his years with the New Orleans Saints. Daniel said he sees a shared ingredient with the Chiefs that he observed in New Orleans.

"Guys are hungry to win," Daniel said. "The team has really come together these last four weeks. There's a reason we're 4-0."

Meanwhile, Colquitt said the current run has a magical feel to it, but added it's also attributed to the hard work the team has learned under the new regime.

"There's a reason we're 4-0."

"Andy (Reid) runs a really tight ship and for that matter, all the coaches do," Colquitt said. "We've got 9-to-5s now. It's one of those things and it's paying off. We're not winning by a Hail Mary at the end of the half in Chicago. We're going out and playing football hard, we're trading punch-for-punch and last-man-standing kind of football."

Second-year running back Cyrus Gray echoed Colquitt's thought on the effort the team puts in on a daily basis.

"If people got a chance to see how we actually bond together as a team, how we work together as a team, they would understand why we're playing this well," Gray said. "I just give praises to coach Reid. He put together a great staff and also great teammates, and it's all falling into place."

While the Chiefs were a puzzle in recent years, the feeling in the locker room following Sunday's win reflected many of the pieces are figured out. Of course, there's plenty of football to be played with just a quarter of the season in the rear view mirror. But the building blocks are in place for a Chiefs team striving to accomplish what has proven an attainable goal through four games.

"The coaching, the environment, the atmosphere, it's us, unselfishly, each player playing for each other, competing for each other to accomplish one thing," Lewis said. "The one common goal is to win as a team and that's the one thing this locker room has had since OTAs (organized team activities) and all through training camp. We all put our pride to the side, the unselfish way, and came together."

In the meantime, an undefeated NFL team in Kansas City enjoys a four-game high.

And Gray's one-word answer to an inquiry on his first thought upon hearing 4-0 should have virtually all fans beaming with pride.

"Chiefs," Gray replied.


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