But playing with a chip on his shoulder might ultimately be the key to transforming Lelie from one of the NFL's best deep targets to an all-around threat and among the elite at his position.
Taking that step has just as much to do with Lelie improving his production on short and intermediate routes and becoming a factor in the red zone.
Actually, those issues are intertwined.
Upon his arrival in March for the Broncos' off-season conditioning program, Lelie requested a video breaking down all of his underneath routes last season.
The video did not include any of his seven touchdown receptions of 30 or more yards, which helped him lead the league in average per catch (20.1). Instead, Lelie got shots of him doing the dirty work of a receiver - the short slants, shallow crosses, 10-yard comebacks and red-zone snaps.
A pattern emerged.
"I wasn't as physical as I needed to be with contact and fighting for the ball with the underneath stuff," Lelie said.
It was worse than that, truth be told.
"Most of it was watching myself getting beat up," he said.
Defensive backs began to show respect only for Lelie's deep speed, particularly as the season progressed.
"Either they backed up all the way off or really tried to get in my face and be super, super physical," he noted.
Watching himself getting thrown around at times was hard.
And it made Lelie simmer.
He began to think about all the problems he had with technique or not reading the coverage correctly that perhaps shaved maybe 600 yards in potential yards after the catch, making his first 1,000-yard season seem like less of an accomplishment. It made him even more annoyed.