This week Chiefs head coach Todd Haley said that, if there is any sort of silver lining to injuries, it gives other players who wouldn't necessarily get a chance to play.
The Chiefs experienced that up close with the knee injury to Mike Vrabel, which has him sidelined three weeks, and the emergence of Andy Studebaker at outside linebacker.
With Vrabel's injury, Studebaker has been running with the first team and Pierre Walters the second team the last few weeks. That's changed this week, though.
"I’m just happy with the fact that we had a guy go down," Haley said this week, "and a guy stepped in and was a part of a couple of wins and a big part in the Pittsburgh win. I just think that’s encouraging for us overall. We had a guy that we didn’t know a lot about that now we have at least an idea of some of the things he might be capable of."
"The positive with the injury," Haley continued, "is we got a chance to get Pierre [Walters] up and get him a few snaps. I think it’s too early to make a real evaluation because he hasn’t had a whole bunch of snaps – only 18 I think and a couple on special teams. We’ll see how the week pans out."
The two outside linebackers we've seen the last two weeks, Studebaker and then Pierre Walters, are possibly the two we'll see next season.
Vrabel is entering the last year of his contract. There haven't been any reports or talks of a contract extension (not that they would get out anyway). The Chiefs have generally had just Vrabel and Studebaker active on a normal gameday.
Meanwhile, Studebaker is also entering the last year of his contract and his best chance for playing time would be sticking with the Chiefs, likely at a friendly price. Walters is under contract through 2011.
If these two players pan out, based on their financial worth to the team, it would be a nice surprise for the Chiefs. Of course, we're a long way from determining whether Studebaker and Walters will be the final product next season. Free agency and the draft will help determine that.