Here's a quick look at the Kansas City Chiefs through my three-question interview with Terez Paylor, who covers the Chiefs for The Kansas City Star. You can follow him on Twitter here and read all of his coverage at kansascity.com.
Jamaal Charles' status for Sunday is obviously a bit up in the air, as he continues his recovery from a torn ACL. How much has his absence hurt the Chiefs' offense?
Paylor: Charles is a fabulous talent, one of the league's best backs when healthy, but the Chiefs' rushing attack has been just fine since he's been out. Between Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West, the Chiefs have found a duo that can replicate most - but not all - of what Charles does. Ware is the bruiser, West is the cruiser; both are willing blockers and able catchers, and are worthy of roles even when Charles does return.
In each of the first two games the Chiefs got off to very slow starts, particularly on offense. What's the reason for that?
Paylor: Players and coaches say they were just stoned by the Chargers, and they just hurt themselves too much against the Texans (three turnovers). There was more receiver-quarterback miscommunication than normal on Sunday, and you simply can't have that stuff and beat teams in this league. Keep an eye on the Chiefs' no-huddle offense, though; when the Chiefs have turned to that late in games, it's been very effective.
How much has the Chiefs defense been hurt by the loss of Justin Houston?
Paylor: Houston's absence is definitely felt. He's a tremendous player, a force against the run and pass, and someone defenses must account for on every play. You take a guy like that out of the lineup, and a team becomes much easier to prepare for.
His replacement, Dee Ford, has looked solid through two weeks, but the pass rush as a whole has generally underperformed and needs to turn it up a notch to beat the Jets. Tamba Hali, the Chiefs' other Pro Bowl edge rusher, is on a pitch count (only 31 percent of the snaps Sunday) due to his knees. Frank Zombo is a steady veteran who is solid against the run but doesn't provide the same pass rush as the others.