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Quick hits from Bill Belichick on Chiefs

Takeaways from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's Wednesday morning news conference:

A tough backfield to face. Kansas City has one of the NFL's elite running backs in Jamaal Charles and another powerful back in Knile Davis. Belichick knows these two players present issues for the defense.

"I think they are different skill sets but they do different things with them -- kind of the same plays look different depending on who is carrying the ball," Belichick said. "Davis is strong. They are both very fast. Davis is strong -- 230 pounds. He breaks tackles, good lower-body strength, hard guy to bring down. You see that on some of those kickoff returns from last year where he runs through tackles. Charles has good playing strength too, but he's more elusive -- great quickness, acceleration. ...They both have great home-run speed."

Smith throwing short. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith isn't exactly known as a downfield passer, as seen by his 6.30 average yards per passing attempt this season. But Belichick is not locking in on Smith's short passing, as there is always a threat that an explosive player can break a big play in an Andy Reid-coached offense.

"There was that play last year to [Donnie] Avery -- a 75-yard post. I think that is part of what Andy [Reid] does, takes what the defense gives you," Belichick said. "If you want to lay back, they will take the short passes. Those receivers, tight ends and backs are all capable of catch-and-run plays where they turn a five-yard pass into a 25-yard gain."

Glad to have Chung back. Patrick Chung wasn't necessarily the most likely candidate to emerge as the safety to start next to Devin McCourty, but he has assumed that role. Chung, who was with the Patriots from 2009-12 before returning this season, fit right back into the defensive system.

"Pat has been good. He contributes on all four downs," Belichick said. "He was obviously familiar with our system. We are familiar with him. I'm glad that we were able to get him back on the team this year. He has contributed well on first down, third down, fourth down. Pat is pretty much the same player he was when he was here. He's in great condition. He's smart. He's tough. He's a very good tackler. And versatility -- he can play in a lot of different situations."

Belichick on Hightower. When asked about linebacker Dont'a Hightower's versatility and whether the Patriots scouted him to be a player who fills multiple roles, Belichick praised his third-year linebacker.

"We saw him as a versatile player and we use him that way, so it's not really a big surprise," Belichick said. "I think the big thing for a player like Dont'a is his ability to play on third down -- his ability to cover and rush the passer. Just gives your defense a lot of flexibility."

Arrowhead, a hostile environment. Kansas City is a tough place for a road game and Belichick is aware of the difficulty of pre-snap checks and calls on offense in a stadium like Arrowhead.

"I think you have to be careful. I would say, like at every away game, there are going to be times that it will be really hard to do that. Other times, I'm not saying it is easy, but it's doable," Belichick said. "Third down is challenging on the road everywhere. Might be a little louder there; it probably is."