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Q and A: Which Chiefs team is real one?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Here is this week’s edition of the Kansas City Chiefs mailbag. To ask a question for a future edition, send it to me via Twitter (@adamteicher) and tag it #ChiefsMail.

@adamteicher: I thought it at the time and appear to be proven right since then, but the Chiefs are too talented and too well-coached to play the way they did in the season-opener against Tennessee. The Chiefs seem to have settled into a pattern in the last three games. They're running the ball better, moving the chains and putting together long drives. On defense, they're getting after the quarterback while not allowing nearly as many big pass plays as last season. So, the answer to your question: They're much closer to the team that beat the Patriots.

@adamteicher: The Chiefs have missed linebacker Derrick Johnson and safety Eric Berry more in the running game than against the pass. They've cut down greatly on the number of big pass plays they've allowed, and one reason is that their safeties are doing a better job. And the Chiefs will improve a lot against the run if they tackle more securely. It's one thing to play well without two of the top defensive players for two or three games and another to do it for a longer period. So we'll have to see how the Chiefs handle this for the longer term.

@adamteicher: The Chiefs didn't release cornerback Brandon Flowers to save money. If they were going to cut him for salary reasons, they would have done it a lot earlier than they did. He wasn't a good fit for what the Chiefs are doing defensively and he wasn't happy playing for the Chiefs any more. There's no guarantee he would be playing as well if he was still in Kansas City and, regardless, the Chiefs are holding up well without him. If the Chiefs are guilty of anything, it's of not being more aggressive in acquiring a veteran corner to replace him.

@adamteicher: He's going to have to show a lot more than he's shown since joining the Chiefs for that to happen. A.J. Jenkins is fast, which makes him the kind of receiver Andy Reid is always going to give a long look. But he's been too inconsistent when he does get the chance. The fact he couldn't take some of Avery's playing time before his injury doesn't speak well for Jenkins' chance of ever becoming, say, the No. 2 wide receiver.

@adamteicher: Starting right tackle Donald Stephenson is back on the Chiefs' roster after his season-opening four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. But after missing almost a month of practice and games, he won't start in Sunday's game against the 49ers in San Francisco. The Chiefs might reassess the situation next week, while they're in the bye week, but for now at least, Stephenson is a backup.

@adamteicher: I don't know yet that the Chiefs will cut Dwayne Bowe. That's a possibility, but far from a done deal. The biggest thing is that Bowe is their best wide receiver and they have no one else capable of becoming their No. 1 receiver. They could always sign a receiver next year or draft one. But particularly if they go the draft route, Bowe still serves a purpose. Very rarely do rookie receivers come in as ready to play. So we'll see, but any decision on Bowe has yet to be made.

@adamteicher: I'm not sure what the rush is here, particularly on the part of the Chiefs. They have until March to reach an agreement with linebacker Justin Houston on a new contract and I suspect they will as they get closer to that deadline. If not, remember the Chiefs have a lot of leverage in that they can make Houston their franchise player.