Chiefs veteran outside linebacker Mike Vrabel had appeared on the injury report all week with an injured hip. We weren't sure exactly what the injury was, or the severity of it, but it was pretty clear that he wasn't going out there against the Raiders at 100%.
Undrafted free agent Andy Studebaker is Vrabel's backup and likely saw a few more reps this week with the veteran banged up and limited in practice.
"I’ve been getting some (snaps) in practice," Studebaker said. "Obviously, today is the reason they do that. They prepare us in case something happens."
Studebaker credited the coaching staff with having him ready to play, along with all the other second string guys. His four tackles and one assist aren't eye-popping numbers by any means but they are pleasing considering he didn't come in for Vrabel until 8:58 left in the third quarter.
That's when Vrabel went down. He was seen stretching his legs on the sideline. I couldn't quite tell if this was a new injury (the announcers said knee) or re-aggravating the hip. Whatever it was, it meant rookie in, veteran out.
One of the reasons the Chiefs were excited about Vrabel's arrival this offseason was the leadership aspect of his game. We talk about that a lot actually, but I'm not sure if any of us can clearly define it. Today, that leadership showed with the way he helped Studebaker on the sidelines in-between possessions.
"He was a big help on the sideline," Studebaker said. "He was talking me through situations, helping me out, making sure I was on the top of my game."
Mike Vrabel's off the field skills, like teaching the younger guys, is the reason other vets like Bobby Engram, Mike Goff and Mike Brown were brought in.
Say what you want about the other veterans, but Vrabel's brought a high level of veteran leadership and a level of play that shows he's got some time left in the NFL.