TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - November 17, 2017
Injury update, still Kevin Byard with the shoulder. He should be OK, the extra days obviously will help to get better. We'll have an idea on Monday when we come back in here for practice. Brian Orakpo had a leg whip last night so he's – he returned, but we'll see how he is on Monday. Looks to be OK. Other than that, we're pretty healthy.
(on if the injury suffered by outside linebacker Brian Orakpo was to his leg)
Yeah. Again, he returned but he should be fine.
(on safety Kevin Byard missing snaps yesterday due to injury and how impressive his level of play has been)
It's pretty impressive for a young player like that and to play those snaps at a high level. For him to come out of the game, you know he had to have something be bothering him. He's about as tough as they come, too.
(on if quarterback Marcus Mariota came out of last night's game healthy)
Yeah. He's got some bumps and bruises as just about everybody does after an NFL game, but yeah. He should be fine.
(on what stood out to him about last night's game after watching tape)
Boy, we had our chances. I thought coming out in the second half, especially with the score on the first play, put us right back into it. Again, they responded with a touchdown which good teams do. I thought we had a chance, we went right back down the field, had a chance to respond and answer their score and we failed to do that. I think it was 23-17 with five minutes to go in the third quarter. We had kind of come back and felt good about going back and forth against them. I just felt like, we felt like we had a chance in that environment. Kept coming back – especially after a slow start, both sides really didn't start off the way we wanted to. Being down 10-0, I've been on a lot of teams that that would have been enough to say, 'That's it.' Our guys didn't do that. They came back and made it a game all the way through until about five minutes to go in that third quarter.
(on how critical it was when defensive tackle Jurrell Casey incurred a third down penalty that extended a Steelers touchdown scoring drive and when Delanie Walker dropped what could have been a touchdown)
Anytime you're talking points like that, it's pretty critical. You talk about two of our leaders on our team, guys you'd bet your house on those things. Delanie (Walker), I trust him to make that catch, and he does too. The ball did not bounce our way, again, on a lot of things last night. Especially on defense where we had a number of chances, a fumble, a screen that bounced off of (Le'Veon) Bell's shoulder that (Wesley) Woodyard was standing right there to catch. There was just a lot of things we didn't capitalize on.
(on how much he can chalk up last night's loss to being a 'tough night' compared to legitimate errors)
I think the score wasn't as indicative of the way the game was played, the way it was played out. It was a closer game than that score said.
(on how the team can try to fix 'bad bounces' during games going forward)
Well, we've been fortunate, we have had that in some of our wins and it just didn't seem to be the case last night. Some of that we are in control of, the turnovers. We obviously (can) do something about that. Can't turn the ball over four times to anybody in this league and expect to win. I think there's a 100 percent ratio that you're going to lose if you do. But, we've got to fix that, we've got to clean that up. Probably the most penalties we've had in weeks, that was disappointing too.
(on if he can evaluate last night's mistakes as individual or team errors)
It's always a team thing. We're always – again, team including the staff, everybody that's involved with the games. Yeah, it just was uncharacteristic of us after cleaning up a lot of things leading up to that game.
(on if he feels like pressuring Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was effective)
No, I think it was. We had three sacks on him, they had given up 11 in the first nine games. So, I'd say it was pretty – and again, we made him move around the pocket, get out of the pocket, you saw him scrambling a lot of times. I thought the pressure was good.
*(on how you correct when offensive players like Delanie Walker or wide receiver Rishard Matthews drop passes) *You keep throwing it. I've seen them catch a lot more than they've dropped. I can't remember the last time Delanie (Walker) has done that or Rishard (Matthews). Not while I've been around them. We've got to keep dialing them up, if they can get that open. They'll make the plays.
(on if he looks at the interceptions thrown by Marcus Mariota last night on film and feels that the picks were on plays Titans players could have made)
I would say yeah, with the exception of the first one where I think that ball sailed. I thought Rishard (Matthews) ran a good route and the ball just sailed on him. They just happened to be standing right behind him.
(on if Marcus Mariota's first interception was due to a grip issue)
Ball just took off on him.
(on what wide receiver Corey Davis could have done differently on the interception thrown by Marcus Mariota that was intended for him)
Come back to the ball. Any route that's breaking in or breaking out, we say, 'Be friendly.' Come back to the ball. Really what the DB did is what we need Corey (Davis) to do, that kind of angle, there's an angle that you can't defend it. Again, that's just a tough lesson that we all had to watch and he's got to learn from, and I think he will.
(on the challenge of Corey Davis learning in-season and how he's seen Davis' progression going)
Again, I just told this to Robbie (Bohren), this is really his, legitimately, his third game. I don't know if he's got a month of practices in him in the NFL, maybe a little more than that. The number of reps he's getting is nothing but good for him. I don't think we're overloading him by any means. I think he has shown signs of doing some good things based on making some mistakes earlier, he's not making them again. There's nothing better than doing it and he's getting a lot of reps to do that.
(on Corey Davis getting 17 targets in the last two games and what that says about him as a player)
Yeah, that is. That's a trust factor that Marcus (Mariota) believes you're going to make a play, and needs to continue to do that.
*(on what specifically he sees Corey Davis correcting about his own game) *Route running, just – not everything about receivers is route running. Catching the ball, blocking in the run game, who to block, where to line up, rules, the rules we have, some things in the passing game.
(on how Corey Davis handles constrictive criticism)
I don't see anything – I don't see him flustered by it. Again, we talk him through it. I'm not one of these guys that's going to berate him on the sideline. These guys know before I have to say a word what they did wrong, but they've just got to learn from it. I don't see him flustered by it, put his head down, do anything different. He gets ready to go, he looks me right in the eye the next series, he's ready to go.
(on if Marcus Mariota was having pre-snap communication trouble last night)
No, it was loud, but no. There were a couple of checks we had to get into that when they moved we had to get back out of them. It wasn't a big issue, no.
(on if Marcus Mariota is struggling with rhythm on touchdown passes more this year than he was last year)
Other than the ones we're dropping? No, we're in the red zone more this year than we were last year, the high red. Earlier in the year, we had failed to get down in the tighter red where more of his throws were coming that he threw last year. We just weren't down there as much as we were a year ago and I think that has a lot to do with why his production's off from a year ago.
(on how he would grade Marcus Mariota's performance last night after watching the tape)
Probably, when you turn the ball over four times, whether it's you throwing it or not throwing it, things he could've done a lot better. Yeah, there's some things he could've done better.
(on if he's getting the same run-after-catch consistently as last year)
Yeah, that's something I'd have to look back exactly. I couldn't tell you right of the bat that the production, that's not one thing we study.
(on why Marcus Mariota has more interceptions this year than he did last season)
A variety of reasons, and not solely all his responsibility. I think whether it's been pressure, had more pressure, more blitz, more making him move, more guys needing to make plays, more guys being where that ball, like last night. That's the thing about zone coverage, that's how Kevin Byard makes these interceptions, they just happen to be in the right place in the right time and that's kind of what happened with some of his interceptions.
(on if Marcus Mariota is progressing in his third year like he had hoped)
Yeah, we're asking him to do a lot, a lot more than I've been around. We trust him to do that. I know he's thrown more. I'm glad he's our quarterback. I know this, we still have a chance to win every game with him no matter what the score is, where it is in the game. Nobody every talks about how accurate he is in some of the throws he does make, all you guys keep asking me are about the throws he doesn't. There's a lot of good throws that he makes every Sunday, very tight window throws.
(on how the coaching staff judges what is too much or too little for Marcus Mariota)
We ask him. We ask him what he can handle. If there's anything he doesn't like, it doesn't go in.
(on the biggest challenge that the team faces)
I think that was good for our team last night, to be in that environment against a team that's a perennial playoff team. To know that we can play with them and we can beat them in their place if we don't turn the ball over four times and make the plays that are there when they're there.
(on if the running back snaps favoring DeMarco Murray was due to the happenstance of the game)
Pretty much. I'd say yes, that was probably the case.
(on the reason for the nine sacks allowed in the past two weeks)
Protection's got to be better. Our O-line's got to protect better, our backs got to protect better and our receivers certainly can help. To me, that's some of your best protection there, the precision in your routes. It's a group thing, it's not just one particular guy or group, it's everybody. Our O-line definitely needs to be better, especially inside, more firm with our protections.
(on how he would grade guard Quinton Spain's play in his first game back)
I don't think he played at the level we need him to play at.
(on if Quinton Spain's decline in play is due to his toe injury)
I don't think it was the toe, I think he's playing against a very good defender, very good.
(on why the O-line's play has dropped off in the past few weeks)
I don't know. We just finished four straight weeks of top-10 defenses, that may have something to do with it. They're pretty good with who they're facing, especially last night, pretty good front. Last week too, pretty stout front. And the blitz packages that they present.
(on the reason for the blocked field goal)
I think from snap, to hold, to kick took too long.
(on if there are similarities between last night's game and the San Diego, where the team went on a run, game last year)
I didn't compare the two, not until you just said that. I like the end result if we could do that. I looked at it as a good experience for our guys to know that we can play in a game of that magnitude. That was a playoff-type of game, the environment was like that, the team was like that. I think that's going to help us down the road, whether it's going to help us kick into this next week, I think our guys in this room will respond from it.
(on if last night's game can be a wakeup call for the team, as the San Diego game was for the team last year)
I hope so. If I remember right, last year we had two turnovers for touchdowns - that cost us that game. I'm hoping, I say this room, yes they'll respond because of it.
(on if the running backs were hitting the holes correctly last night)
We had some mistakes in the run game as well, not blocking the right people. I didn't see the game, obviously, from that angle. There are holes. I'm never going to tell, I've never done it, and I'm sure most of those people making those comments haven't either, to tell our backs how to run, especially DeMarco Murray's got 7,000 yards of hitting holes the way he does. I know if we block it better, we should've had bigger runs. We had opportunities for much bigger runs than we had last night, if we block it better.
(on if the running backs not hitting holes is on the offensive line)
I'd say that. And our tight ends, yeah.
(on if he plans on keep the same offensive line moving forward)
(on if he heard any buzz about the sky cam)
No, I did not.
(on how much the team benefits from a long week)
I'm a big recovery guy, I think it's good for our players. That's a grueling week on them, Thursday night games, no matter what anybody says. It's very difficult, especially the week before when your offense runs 91 snaps then they've got to play four days later. I think this time off will be good for them. Coaches will have tomorrow off, we'll be back in on Sunday. Give us more time to prepare for Indy and hopefully cut down on some of the nights we have, the late nights we have during the week.
(on his message to the team and them still being able to accomplish what they want to)
We talked about that. That's in this room and in this room only.
(on if the team sees the opportunity they have for the rest of the season)
Yeah, that last one was over with at 1:30 a.m.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11 at Heinz Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)