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Coach Mularkey's Friday Press Conference Transcript



(on how he is doing)

Doing OK after a difficult day to have to tell 22 guys that they can't play here, at least on an active roster right now. So difficult day, as it always is.

(on the thinking that went into cutting recent draft picks)

Again, we've added some players at all those positions that I think have played well, have played consistently. Obviously, we've got some numbers at those spots that we feel like we can go into a game with. Like we said from the very beginning, the guys that are the most consistent and play at a level that we like can play at, those will be the guys that are on the final roster. That played a factor into it.

(on who will be the primary kickoff and punt returner in Dexter McCluster's absence)*

Today if we were playing, Tre McBride would do the kickoff returns and Kevin Byard would do our punt returns. Obviously, there is going to be a mass number of names coming across the waiver wire. We'll continue to look at that, not just for a returner but for any position we feel like can help us improve our roster.

(on Kevin Byard's comfort level with punt returns and how much he has yet to master)

Yeah, I don't know. I feel really confident in him. Last night, you know he had to go back in there. Again, I'll take the blame on Kalan (Reed) being in there that third time. He made a couple poor decisions on the first two returns, and I should have taken him out after that. It was an invite for something bad to happen, and it did with the turnover. Putting Kevin (Byard) right back in there, he went in there and didn't even blink. Again, a lot of those were situations that we could have been backed up, and I felt confident that he could make a good decision sitting there standing on the 10-yard line, that he would make the right decisions.

(on if cutting Dexter McCluster was a tough decision)

Yeah, it was a tough call. Again, we just felt like the role and where we needed other position help, we felt like it was the best move for our team.

(on if Alex Tanney will get any reps as the third quarterback)

Probably a lot of it is going to be in practice. I mean obviously, he'll be down on Sundays. If we went into a game, he'd be inactive, so a lot of it is just scout team reps.

(on if Alex Tanney or Matt Cassel will run the scout team)

A little bit of both. Probably more Alex (Tanney).

(on if he would consider Kendall Wright once healthy as an option in the return game)

Yeah, I'd consider him. We have a couple guys--Perrish Cox also was a pretty successful punt returner (in college). Harry (Douglas)--I've been with Harry when he's scored on a punt return. so we have some options there. I think we're going to try Kevin (Byard). I just like his ability. He does some of the things--he makes people miss, even in these short returns. Really not a good decision last night to catch the ball inside the 10, but, you know, I think he got eight yards off the return. So he just has a knack of making plays with the ball.

(on if keeping Tre McBride over Justin Hunter is evidence that consistency is rewarded)

Again, special teams played a big value in that. Tre (McBride) can return. Tre can play gunner. Tre can do a lot of things on special teams, and Justin (Hunter) could not. Again, that played a big factor, and Tre has made some big plays. I thought he played well last night. There's some things I'd like to see him do a little better on his blocking and the screen running, but for the most part, he was more consistent and special teams was a factor.

(on if he would have guessed that Mehdi Abdesmad would make the team when he first arrived)

You know, Mehdi (Abdesmad)--he has improved. He's one of the guys on our team that from day one, he has improved and gotten better and better. The thing about him, he practices hard. They all do, but he brings it every time, every practice. He's a load to handle in practice. I like that. I can just see he's got a good future ahead of him.

(on if Mehdi Abdesmad's height is an additional benefit that is lacking elsewhere in the position group)

Yeah, it does. I mean there's not a lot of guys his size and that athletic. He's got a reach. He bats down a lot of balls in practice. I know we were in preseason game No. 4 last night, but he was in the backfield an awful lot last night.

(on Cody Riggs making the roster for a second year)

Consistent. Again, special teams played a factor into that, even into last night. You know, we talked about how there were some roster spots that were going to be decided last night, even in that game. Watching him on special teams, I thought he stood out for what we asked him to do. The role he was playing was something we needed, especially outside as a gunner.

(on if he picks the player who was drafted in the position battle between Antwaun Woods and Austin Johnson)

Austin (Johnson) has played better the last two weeks. Actually, if you put a depth chart back together, he would have surpassed (Antwaun) Woods. He has played better. He actually played good last night. I didn't say that in the postgame interview. I named a few guys, and then after I watched the tape, I probably should have included him in those names. He played very well.

(on how many positions they are still looking to add to from the waiver wire)

We feel very good about this 53, we do. Again, Jon (Robinson) obviously really watches it every day. Obviously, there is a big number coming out this time with the cuts. We'll look and see if there's any position across the board that will help us improve the roster. But there's not a set number or we're going after this position or we have this many. No, we'll look and see what's out there.

(on if he warns players that have made the roster but could still be cut depending on what happens with waivers)

No, I don't think you do that. I don't think you put that in the back of their mind. I don't think that's fair to them to think, 'Hey, congratulations. It's maybe only for a day.' I mean that can be anybody. It's anybody in this league. I mean you could be here today and gone tomorrow. So no, as positive as I could be and Jon (Robinson) could be, we were. I mean we were very appreciative of everything these guys have done. We've asked them to do a lot. It's been a very demanding offseason, including training camp, and they all responded the way we wanted. So it was very positive as we let them go today.

(on if he is comfortable keeping only three tight ends on the active roster)

We are, yeah.

(on if they did roster cuts today because they were comfortable with their decisions or wanted to have flexibility with the waiver wire)

A little bit of both. A lot of it was we wanted to move on to Minnesota, which we will do as soon as we come back. We didn't want this to linger through the weekend. We really didn't want to put guys sitting there--you know, is it me or isn't it? We just want to make it this is the direction we were going. We wanted to finalize it today for as much as you can finalize without all the waiver wire coming through. I know we didn't want to get into Monday. When Monday comes around, we were totally on Minnesota.

(on when the players return)

They're back Monday morning. So we'll have meetings. They'll be done by 12:30, practice and then we'll get into game planning for Minnesota.

(on if the Teddy Bridgewater injury will affect them)

I mean, he's a good player.  Obviously, he's difficult to defend against, but I think what we have to stop is Adrian Peterson.  He is, as I call them, game wreckers.  We'll have to do whatever we have to do to stop him.

(on if he would have kept six wide receivers if Kendall Wright had been healthy)

It played a little bit, but not much.  We just have some depth there compared to what we had last year.  I think we kept four when the final roster was set last year, so we have more depth, return-ability, special teams with Tre McBride (which) helped create that sixth spot for him.

(on the decision to keep two veteran wide receivers rather than the younger players)

I don't think it does.  I think it just confirms what we've been talking about since we've been together, and that is, if you come in here and you perform and make plays, and you are consistent, regardless of your age, or years in the league, or draft, or how much money, or who you know -- it's irrelevant.  It's the guys that are going to give us the best chance to win, and those are the consistent players, and that's Harry Douglas.  Even last night, when we needed a couple third downs, Harry (Douglas) made big plays.  Andre Johnson has made plays for us when we needed to make them, so that was the difference.  It was a clear difference.

(on keeping the winning momentum going into the regular season)

I think it doesn't hurt to do some things well in the preseason. I think especially when you're trying to create something here, and it helps win some games.  I think it helps confirm what you're doing.  I feel like we have some momentum just because I think we played well when we've had our guys in there, our starters in there, even our seconds and thirds played the style of football we wanted to play.

(on whether he needs to get a change of pace back)

You think about that, then I think about DeMarco (Murray) going 71 yards.  To me, you have a couple guys that have a chance if they hit a hole, and they get by the second level, they have a chance to go.  I don't know if you necessarily need a scat-back to be successful, but you have a couple guys that can go the distance.

(on whether he and Jon Robinson were on the same page with the roster cuts)

No, we were pretty much on the same page.  We talked a lot this past week, and really this whole camp we've talked a lot about the roster.  We were very clear, and we made decisions together.

(on if there was a strategy to the order in which they brought the players in to be cut)

A little bit.  Yeah, we had some decisions to make even in the afternoon that we wanted to make sure we weren't rushing everybody through in the morning.  Some of these guys, we'll see how it pans out.  We'd obviously have practice squad guys.  We can't talk to them about it until Sunday, but we would like to have some of these guys back.

(on if Marqueston Huff's looming suspension played a role in them releasing him)

No. You know the one thing about he and Andrew Turzilli, I'll give these guys credit, they had this on the back of their plate.  I know it was in the back of their mind, and they came in here with a good mind frame, and did not let it affect their play.  They came in everyday and worked hard.  What it came down to is we had depth at safety.  This is a position we feel good about, probably would not be up, and based on numbers in the other positions, we felt like why wait.  We know we have a one-game exemption there, let's let him have a chance. Another team can still claim him.  They get the exemption, they get to have him after week one.  We were set at safety, and it had nothing to do really with the suspension. 

(on if Marcus Mariota has a 'don't like to lose mentality' in non-football activities)

Similar to games.  It doesn't look like he's stressed by the situation, but you know he wants to win.  You can just tell.  Body language says a lot, but nothing that really comes to mind that you would think.  I mean some of those things out on the field, we do those for the wide receivers vs. DB's, and if he wants to make the perfect throw, that's frustrating for him.

(on if he carries losses into the next week and if that's a good or bad thing)

I don't think he carries it.  I think it's a positive.  I do.  I think it's good for him.  I think even when he's had a bad series, you look at him on the sideline, really he doesn't want to talk to people, but I know for a fact he's going to respond to what just happened in a positive way.

(on if they are close to making any trades)

No.  Again, in discussions with that, nothing right now.  We're pretty well set with the roster until we get the chance to look at the waiver wire.

(on the decision to keep three quarterbacks)

Depth.  We know we have a spot there that we can use if we need to go somewhere else, but finding a guy that can compete in a game, and again, Alex (Tanney) made some poor decisions last night with a couple of those throws.  A lot of that is lack of experience, which he got a lot of it last night, but I think he's shown that he has the ability to play at this level, and when you can have a guy at that position, and we still do, we're going to keep him if we can and it doesn't affect other roster spots.

(on if there is a position group that he likes especially)

I'm liking what we're doing up front with the o-line, I do.  I'm very pleased with that.  Really, both sides of the ball -- the lines. I'm very pleased with them.

A photographic look at the 2016 Tennessee Titans as of Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

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