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Nick Sorensen replaces Brian Schneider as Jacksonville Jaguars’ special-teams coordinator

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired Nick Sorensen as special-teams coordinator to replace Brian Schneider, who stepped away from the team for personal reasons.

Sorensen spent the past eight seasons with Seattle, joining the Seahawks in 2013 as a special-teams assistant before moving to coach the secondary beginning in 2017.

Sorensen played 10 years as a safety and special-teams player in the NFL, including four seasons with the Jaguars (2003-06).

He also played for the St. Louis Rams and the Cleveland Browns.

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Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson resigned to possibly playing NFL season on one-year deal

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson sounded resigned to possibly playing the 2021 NFL season on a one-year deal in advance of the July 15 deadline for franchise-tagged players to receive long-term contracts.

“I don’t have any [contract] updates or nothing like that,” Robinson said on a Tuesday Zoom call.

“That’s not in my control, if I don’t [get a long-term deal]. That being a possibility [of playing on the one-year franchise tag], then I mean, that is what it is and I’m comfortable with that. Obviously, that’s a possibility. That’s fine, it is what it is. As I said before, my main focus now is continuing to be better and get better.”

The Bears placed the $17.98 franchise tag tender on Robinson after the two sides were unable to agree to an extension last year. The veteran receiver led the team with 102 catches for 1,250 yards in 2020.

Robinson, 27, skipped the Bears’ voluntary offseason workout program but reported to this week’s mandatory three-day minicamp. Robinson added on Tuesday that he will be on time to training camp when it opens next month.

“At the end of the day, [the offseason workouts] are optional things, and I think I have a pretty good routine I’ve been working through and progressing in certain areas at the pace that I want,” said Robinson, who focused on creating more muscle endurance in the offseason in order to be more effective after the catch.

Since joining the Bears in 2018, Robinson has been far and away the team’s top wide receiver. Despite playing on some of the league’s lower-rated offenses, Robinson has caught 255 passes for 3,151 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past three seasons.

“It was really good [to have Robinson rejoin the team this week],” head coach Matt Nagy said. “You guys know I have a really good relationship with A-Rob, and anytime you have that quality of player that shows back up and gets out here in the huddle and just that experience that he brings, he just has such a quiet calm and confidence to him that you can see the guys out there throwing him the football and the things he’s doing, he just slides on in. The one sneaky thing about A-Rob that I think is pretty cool is No. 1, even if he’s not here, you know he’s working his tail off and No. 2 he’s always in great shape, and we noticed that.”

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Baker Mayfield says extension with Cleveland Browns will ‘handle itself’

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BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said Wednesday that he’s in “no rush” to get an extension done with the team and that his focus remains on the field.

“Everything happens for a reason and it’ll handle itself,” said Mayfield, who became eligible for an extension this offseason. “So, just worried about winning.”

The 2018 No. 1 overall pick is coming off a breakout season in which he quarterbacked the Browns to their first playoff victory in 26 years. In Cleveland’s first postseason appearance since 2002, Mayfield threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns as the Browns snapped their 17-game losing streak in Pittsburgh.

Mayfield finished the season 10th in QBR, though from Week 7 to Week 15 he ranked third, trailing only league MVP Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Mayfield ended with 26 touchdowns and only eight interceptions, while completing almost 63% of his passes.

The Browns already have picked up Mayfield’s fifth-year option, which will pay him $18.86 million during the 2022 season. General manager Andrew Berry, however, has refrained from commenting specifically on a potential extension.

“We have been pretty consistent with our messaging around Baker that we think he had a really strong season for us,” Berry said in March. “We like the maturation and the growth, both on and off the field.”

Heading into Cleveland’s second minicamp practice, Mayfield called even thinking about the extension “a waste of time and energy” and said he prefers to keep his mind on what he can control.

“The chips will fall where they’re supposed to,” he said. “The concern right now is winning and building a strong foundation for the season. That’s what everyone in this building should be concerned about.”

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How Rams’ supporting cast for Aaron Donald looks, sounds different – Los Angeles Rams Blog

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — An almost eerie quiet swept over the Los Angeles Rams defensive line while they stretched before a recent voluntary practice session.

The silence was broken when a player hollered, “Dang, I miss Brock, it’s quiet as hell!” defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day recalled.

NFL roster turnover is inevitable, and the 2021 Rams defensive line is not immune. After he was selected 14th overall in 2012 and played nine seasons with the Rams, defensive lineman Michael Brockers was traded to the Detroit Lions in March in an effort to create salary cap space.

Brockers’ departure means not only less noise, but a gaping hole along the front of the NFL’s defending top-ranked defense and marks the end of a seven-year run playing alongside three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, who often praised Brockers’ efforts that helped but did not appear on the stat sheet.

“It’s different for sure and definitely an adjustment,” Joseph-Day said about the group’s dynamic sans Brockers. “But in this business it’s kind of what’s expected.”

The amount of turnover on the Rams’ defense has been significant since the unit led the NFL last season, allowing an average of 18 points per game.

The Rams hired Raheem Morris as defensive coordinator to take over for Brandon Staley after he departed following one season to become the Chargers head coach. The Rams also lost their cornerbacks and linebackers coaches to promotions elsewhere, and saw starting cornerback Troy Hill, outside linebacker Samson Ebukam and safety John Johnson III depart in free agency.

Fifth-year pro Morgan Fox, a rotation player on the defensive line who had six sacks last season, also departed in free agency, signing a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers.

“We have the right kind of guys in this building to be able to pick up the slack or pick up exactly where those guys left off,” said Joseph-Day, a sixth-round pick in 2018 who is entering his third season as starter. “I think that’s going to be the story of what’s going on here.”

Donald, who attended a portion of the voluntary offseason workouts but was not made available to reporters, will now lead a group that includes Joseph-Day, A’Shawn Robinson and Greg Gaines.

The Rams also added depth in the draft, selecting Bobby Brown III in the fourth round from Texas A&M and Earnest Brown IV in the fifth round from Northwestern.

“There’s a lot for me to learn,” said Bobby Brown, who was the first defensive lineman drafted by the Rams since Gaines was selected in the fourth round in 2019. “I don’t think I’ve completely made the transition yet but also I would say it just shows me that I’m not a premier defensive lineman no more. I have to learn all over again and I have to be just as humble as I was pretty much my freshmen year again.”

Gaines has played in 26 games the past two seasons and has recorded 31 tackles and two sacks.

Robinson reported to the offseason program in the best shape of his career after dedicating himself a new diet and workout regimen. Listed at 330 pounds last season, Robinson says his goal is to play this season between 300 and 305 pounds.

“I just wanted to be the best for these guys,” said Robinson, a second-round pick by the Lions in 2016. “I’m not going to go out here and slack and let any of these guys down.”

A sixth-year pro, Robinson was signed to a two-year, $17 million free-agent contract during the 2020 offseason to take over for Brockers, who at the time agreed to terms in free agency with the Baltimore Ravens but ultimately returned to Los Angeles. after the deal fell through.

Robinson spent the first half of last season sidelined due to unspecified health issues and played in eight games. Through organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, teammates noticed his readiness to step up.

“He’s really locked in,” Joseph-Day said. “I think a lot of guys are locked in especially with the departure of Brock. A lot of guys are locked in, a lot of guys are ready to step up and that’s a huge, positive.”

As for how quickly the group can come together, Robinson emphasized the importance of the offseason program, which wrapped up last week with a three-day mandatory minicamp that Donald did not attend (Rams coach Sean McVay indicated the two communicated and it was an excused absence) and Joseph-Day did not fully participate in.

“That’s what OTAs is for, the foundation, you build the ground up,” Robinson said. “… Everyone has been seeing how everyone needs to do this, how everything comes together and putting the puzzle pieces together.”

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