JACKSONVILLE – This made sense for many reasons.
Continuity was one. Fit was another, and that was a major reason Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer felt good about Nick Sorensen.
"Nick came extremely highly recommended by guys on our staff who had worked with him," Meyer said Thursday following Day 6 of 2021 Organized Team Activities presented by Baptist Health at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Fields.
Sorensen, a veteran of eight years NFL coaching, officially joined the Jaguars as Special Teams Coordinator on Monday. He replaced Brian Schneider, who stepped away for personal reasons after being hired for the position in February.
Sorensen, who played for the Jaguars from 2003-2006, spent the past eight seasons as an assistant with the Seattle Seahawks – and was a special teams assistant there under Schneider from 2013-2016 before he transitioned to secondary coach in 2017.
Sorensen's experience in the system being implemented by Schneider was critical to the decision, Meyer said.
"The system we have in place, we're going to continue," said Meyer, who said he spoke with Sorensen via Zoom and spoke extensively about Sorensen with Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll.
"I really like the system we have in place. To change dramatically in June, I don't know if it would be fair to the players."
Meyer said the Jaguars interviewed "several" other candidates but that he felt Sorensen "was just fantastic."
"He got off the plane, and the next morning he's coaching the team," Meyer said. "He's done great. … His recommendations were off the chart, and he did a great job in the interview."
Meyer also said the responsibilities of special teams assistant Carlos Polk have been elevated.
"I feel great about where we're at," Meyer said.
Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. in recent weeks has discussed publicly his experiences with anxiety and depression, sharing his story in a video shared by the NFL's official Twitter account as part of Mental Health Awareness Month. Chark, speaking to the media via videoconference following Thursday's practice, said the Jaguars' practice of having a full-time psychologist on hand is a positive way to help players deal with mental-health issues. "That's the first step," Chark said. "You can't really force someone to open up with things like that, but providing them with a place and a space to do so is big. As long as we continue to move toward allowing players to express themselves by having a place where they can confide, that's huge – definitely at the professional level." Meyer said focus on players' mental health "never has been more prevalent than right now. It's a tough world right now. It's a world I didn't grow up in and I've learned a lot in the last 20 years, how different it is. It's something we address. We have a fulltime sports psychologist on hand. I've talked individually with a lot of guys. We're on call 24-7 for that. The NFL is trying to do a great job with that as well. I watched DJ Chark's message. I'm so glad he did it because these guys are role models."
Meyer on the Jaguars' announcement this week that they will donate home uniforms for athletic teams from four Duval County schools. The four schools – Westside Middle School, Springfield Middle School, Charger Academy and Riverside High School – had name changes this week after previously being named for Confederate leaders. "It's awesome," Meyer said. "It's amazing to me how much commitment they (Owner Shad Khan and the Jaguars) have to so many different charitable organizations. That's incredible. What I've seen so far these last four months, I think it's great for our community and I'm so proud to be a part of this organization."
Meyer, who took over as head coach in January, on the improvement in players' physical conditioning since the offseason began: "I saw a team that didn't look very good. My vision of a team is a big, strong, powerful, fast team – and it wasn't that way. We had a lot of injuries last year and that's why we made a lot of changes in that sports performance area. If you've followed our team over the last 10 or 15 years [at Florida and Ohio State], I expected to be as big and fast and strong as any team in the country. That's in college. In the NFL, I expect the same. We had a bunch of good talks. The good thing is there was zero resistance. They (the players) all agreed."