As the Kansas City Chiefs have won four of their last five games, much of the in-season discussion surrounds players we see on the field or even on the sidelines during the game.
While they're the ones we see making the plays, catching the touchdowns and tackling opposing ball carriers, there's still a faction of players helping make these wins possible that we don't see out there on Sundays.
That would be the players on the practice squad.
They don't play in the games, but they're out there every day at practice helping the guys you do see on the field get ready for the game.
According to Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, there are a couple of different ways the practice squad can help the team.
"I think inevitably the practice squad gives roughly 320 guys an opportunity to develop," Dorsey said of the 32 NFL teams all being allowed 10 players on the practice squad this year, which is two more than in previous years. "It allows them to get better at their craft. But at the same time, it's an avenue to help the team prepare for next week on certain opponents."
The practice squad players help give looks of what an opposing team might do in the Chiefs' upcoming game, but that doesn't keep these players from needing to develop their own technique to grow as individual players as well.
"When you have teachers, quality coaches, it's an opportunity to develop," Dorsey explained of this double-duty needed of a practice squad player. "That's kind of what I've always thought was the value of the practice squad—the development aspect. I think the greatest example we can use is receiver Frankie Hammond—how he developed last year and he made the 53-man roster this year."
Because these guys are learning how to give the Chiefs starters a "quality look" throughout the week of what to expect from their opponent, but also developing as individual players, Dorsey said it takes a certain kind of character to be able to handle both.
The team is back at work on the practice field on Wednesday
"It's a pride thing," Dorsey explained. "I personally think that if you want to be any good at what you do, take pride when you walk out on the field to make your teammates better. You know what your role is, it's to give the starting group a good look but it's also an opportunity to develop your craft.
"If you're exerting effort, taking pride in what you're doing—that's all you can ask. Again, that's part of the character of the man that we've talked about. That's part of loving the game of football. You're working your individual techniques, but you're also helping your teammates get better with a quality look. I've always believed and still do that you play like you practice. Usually nine times out of ten, the guys who have a little self pride and want to get better, that carries to what they do out there Wednesday through Saturday."
These 10 practice squad players will continue to work and give the Chiefs starters a quality look as they prepare for the New York Jets on Sunday. So while the Chiefs go for their third consecutive win on Sunday, know there are guys you don't see on the sidelines who have worked to help get the result we're all looking for: the fifth victory of the season.