KC Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen is the definition of a liability

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 27: Luke Stocker #88 of the Atlanta Falcons is tackled by Daniel Sorensen #49 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on December 27, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 27: Luke Stocker #88 of the Atlanta Falcons is tackled by Daniel Sorensen #49 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter at Arrowhead Stadium on December 27, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

The KC Chiefs humiliating defeat to the Bills in week 5 allows for plenty of blame to go around, though no player is more deserving of it than safety Daniel Sorensen. “Dirty Dan” has struggled heavily up to this point of the season and entered this game ranked as the 80th (out of 82) ranked player at his position according to Pro Football Focus. Sorensen was straight up exposed in the Bills routing of the Chiefs which is having many fans calling for big changes going forward.

Sorensen has been a hindrance to defensive success.

The Chiefs defensive unit as a whole has been difficult, if not painful, to watch over the first five weeks. In fact, they have been historically bad up to this point, allowing a whopping 7.1 yards per play to opposing offenses, the worst stat of its kind in NFL history. Sorensen in no way deserves all of the blame when the defense is this porous as a unit. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to get stops when rival offensive coordinators understand the deficiencies in Sorensen’s game (of which there are many) and take full advantage in exploiting them. Daniel Sorensen’s play as of late is reminiscent of the frustrating former Chief Phillip Gaines. When Gaines was on the field he was targeted repeatedly and appeared to be responsible for allowing a minimum of one long touchdown per game, a trend that appears to be making a comeback.

“It’s a simple game. Cover your guy. Make a tackle…when you don’t do those things it’s embarrassing”  – Tyrann Mathieu

Tyrann Mathieu is a vocal leader on this defense and a class act of a human being. Though this should be taken as a message to the defense as a whole rather than as a direct shot at Sorensen, Dan certainly fits the bill for what Mathieu is describing. There have been three plays this season in which Mathieu had his hands up in exasperation following Sorensen getting toasted by receivers. These include a 42 yard catch for a touchdown by Marquise Brown in week 2, a 61 yard reception by Stefon Diggs, and a 53 yard touchdown by Dawson Knox, the two latter occurring in the most recent game against the Bills. Though Mathieu noted that he does the same thing on positive plays, it’s difficult for fans and players alike to see Sorensen allow big chunk plays with blown coverage.

In addition to Sorensen giving forth his best impression of Sandra Bullock in Bird Box while in pass coverage, he has also missed tackles repeatedly. To be fair, the blame doesn’t fall entirely on him. Rather, it is indicative of miscues by the defense as a whole. That said, Sorensen is currently leading the league in most missed tackles this season with twelve. Not exactly an encouraging statistic.

Where has Juan Thornhill been?

Chiefs fans seem to all be in agreement that Juan Thornhill deserves the start over Sorensen, yet this clearly has not been the case thus far. Sorensen has currently played 325 snaps on defense this year, only one less than L’Jarius Sneed, the current defensive snap leader on the team. Sorensen saw 100% of defensive snaps in week one, 100% in week two, 91% in week three, 99% in week four, and 100% in week five. On the flip side, Thornhill has only seen 142 snaps, and only gained 44% of defensive snaps against the Bills in week five. As a member of one of the top safety tandems in the league according to Jay Feely, Thornhill’s lack of opportunities have been frustratingly puzzling for Chiefs fans.

Steve Spagnuolo replacing Bob Sutton as the defensive coordinator was instrumental in bringing Kansas City its first Super Bowl in fifty years, and Chiefs fans should never forget that for a single second. However, Spagnuolo’s current lack of success has been showcased to start the season. In fact, putting players in a position where they can’t succeed is one of the very reasons why Sutton was replaced to begin with. Sutton liked to drop Justin Houston, a fearsome pass-rusher, into coverage. Similarly, Spagnuolo is making Sorensen play as single deep safety. Players need to be put in the best position possible for them to showcase their talents in order to succeed on the field. The coaching staff and Spagnuolo in particular of course know far more than fans when it comes to who is the best fit for the job, though seeing Sorensen over Thornhill as the defensive safety blanket is still perplexing.

We need the Daniel Sorensen we’ve seen in the past.

Though over the last few years Sorensen has had many critics, it seems he’s had just as many fans. Sure, he’d give up a big chunk here and there. However, Sorensen made a name for himself as being a hard-nosed player who would make big time plays when the Chiefs needed one most. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen a shred of that this year. Sorensen has sealed several games with drive-ending interceptions. In the 2019 Divisional Playoff matchup against the Texans Sorensen was one of the sparks that helped the Chiefs overcome a 24 point deficit. His intelligence and poise helped prevent a fake punt conversion that had everyone else fooled. His hard hitting abilities caused a fumble during a kick return that the Chiefs cashed in for a touchdown.

The last several years proved that Daniel Sorensen made up for his errors with huge, momentum-changing splash plays, something that has been absent up to this point. Though it has been a painful start to the year let’s not forget why he is in KC, and hope that he can bounce back to the player we all knew and cheered for. The Chiefs need to turn things around and figuring out what to do with Sorensen is a good place to start.