Chiefs

Chiefs’ Daniel Sorensen making the most of his time with the first team

Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray was taken down by Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Daniel Sorensen during a game in January.
Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray was taken down by Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Daniel Sorensen during a game in January. skeyser@kcstar.com

The echo of the hit may have just ended.

The loudest crunch of Chiefs training camp occurred on Sunday when Daniel Sorensen broke to the sideline from his safety position to meet running Knile Davis toward the end of an 11-on-11 team session.

Davis lowered his shoulder preparing to deliver and absorb a hit. Mostly, Davis absorbed. Sorensen delivered a loud and powerful shot that left Davis on his back for a few moments before he was helped to his feet.

The injury report, recited a few minutes later by coach Andy Reid, included Davis, who was favoring his shoulder. Davis returned to practice but the impression left by Sorensen lingered.

“He’s a smart player and we’re asking him to do lot back there,” Reid said. “But that’s what the position holds.”

The strong-safety position remains in something of a state of limbo with Eric Berry not in camp after not coming to terms with the Chiefs on a long-term deal in the offseason.

Berry remains the starter, according to the depth chart issued by the Chiefs in advance of Saturday’s preseason opener against the Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium. But it’s next man up on the depth chart, and that’s Sorensen, taking first-teams reps in camp.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Daniel Sorensen appears to be making an impact as Eric Berry's replacement. Nick Foles appears to have back-up quarterback slot.

Sorensen, a third-year pro from Brigham Young who made the team as an undrafted free agent, hasn’t started a regular-season NFL game. But he increased his presence on the team from a rookie who appeared in seven games in 2014 to a solid contributor to last year’s playoff team on defense and special teams.

Sorensen appeared in all 16 games and both playoff games and recorded 23 tackles. He got his first career sack, at Oakland, and was credited with two passes defended.

Berry’s absence has pushed Sorensen to the next level, if temporarily, and the world looks different for Sorsensen from that vantage point.

“Everything is clean and crisp, and you’ve got to be able to step up to the standard,” Sorensen said. “That first-team defense, they operate smoothly, without mistakes. You’ve got to step in and contribute and do your responsibility at that same high same standard.”

Oh, mistakes occur among the starters too, but Sorensen gets the point.

“You have to elevate your game to be in there with them,” Sorensen said.

He will attempt to approach the level of, say Berry, a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection.

“He’s extremely athletic,” Sorensen said of Berry. “I found that I have to be on top of everything. That’s some of the things I’ve been working on out here, leverage and technique, things like that.

“Eric Berry has great technique also, but I have to focus in on the details.”

The secondary includes several new faces from the group that ended last season. Gone is starting cornerback Sean Smith, who signed with the Raiders. Safety Husain Abdullah retired and free safety Tyvon Branch is with the Cardinals.

Stepping up in this training camp and in the film room are second-year corner Marcus Peters and safety Ron Parker. Sorensen also is growing into a leadership role. When the Chiefs entered the playoffs last season with six captains — they rotate during the regular season but are permanent for the playoffs — Sorensen represented specials teams with a “C” on his jersey.

He snapped a photo of the jersey and sent it to family members. In training camp, he’s making himself with big hits and improving play as the team awaits Berry’s return.

“Until (Berry) gets back,” Reid said, “he’s holding down the fort for us. So that’s great reps for him.”

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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