It takes a team effort to be as bad as the Chiefs have been defensively.
They rank last in the NFL in total defense, and nearly last — 29th out of 32 teams — against the pass and the rush as they prepare to play at Washington on Sunday.
But one player has taken the brunt of the criticism, especially from fans of the Chiefs: safety Daniel Sorensen.
Sorensen was the closest defender to a pair of long touchdown passes by Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen during Sunday night’s loss to the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. He’s the team’s leading tackler through five games, but he has also has missed several tackles during the Chiefs’ 2-3 start.
On Thursday, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo warned against singling out any one player during the team’s disappointing start.
“It’s not about one guy,” Spaunuolo said. “We haven’t been good, that’s a true statement. To focus on one person, I don’t think is fair. Did Dan struggle a little bit last week? Yeah.”
An eight-year pro, all with the Chiefs, Sorsenen has delivered plenty of highlights on defense and special teams during his career in Kansas City. In March, he signed a one-year deal for $2.46 million to return to the Chiefs.
Sorensen played every defensive snap against the Bills, and his 325 overall snaps this season trail only cornerback L’Jarius Sneed’s 326 among the Chiefs’ active defensive players. Those 325 snaps also mean that Sorensen has been on the field for 97.89% of the Chiefs’ total defensive plays through five games.
Because of Sorensen’s struggles, fans have been clamoring for safety Juan Thornhill to see more playing time — he’s thus far been in on just 42.8% of the Chiefs’ defensive snaps this season.
“Sometimes, when you have plays to the eye of everyone else look worse than other ones, nobody sees the plays that he’s making when you’re covering someone and they don’t throw it there,” Spagnuolo said. “That’s always been the case. ... I think Dan has had a lot of good snaps for us.
“Juan will play for us, as well. We’ll work through who is playing there, what we’re doing package-wise.”