TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - July 28, 2017
Welcome back. I'd like to say that I missed you all. But no, it's been a good break for the team and for the coaches. I think everybody is glad to be back with the season getting ready to get underway and the start of training camp. Kind of an anxious time for everybody. Just had the assessment run and it was outstanding. I don't know if I could say it was any better, our guys came back in very, very, very good shape – which they have to, to play at the level that we want to play at. So with that, I'll take some questions.
(on if defensive tackle Jurrell Casey's extension is an example of what working hard can do)*
Yeah, I think so. I think so, I think it – I'd be shocked if it wasn't a great example for other players to watch how Casey goes about his business, both here and off the field. He's done a lot for the community. Obviously, he's done a lot for this team and he's been very successful with his play based on a lot of how he works when he comes in here.
(on the uniqueness of extending Casey with two years remaining on his contract)**
This is a unique case. It's definitely a unique case, but a lot of things played into the factor of that happening. But, it is unique. But again, like I said, there's a lot of just on and off the field things that warranted it.
(on if rookie wide receiver Corey Davis is in the facility today)
He is not, but we're talking to him.
(on if any other players did not show up today)
Nope, everybody is here.
(on how much it would hurt Davis to miss the first day of camp)
I'm not going to address that until he misses the first day or two, which I'm hoping he doesn't obviously. I'll address it if it gets into a period that he's missing time. But, that's not the case right now.
(on the importance of Davis getting training camp reps)
I'd be mistaken not to say every rep is important. Every single rep is important for everybody.
(on if quarterback Marcus Mariota will be a full participant in tomorrow's practice)
He is cleared to go. We are still going to – we're not going to just send him out there and have at it. He's still going to have some limited reps, not as much as he had obviously in the offseason camps. It's not going to be like he's been healthy the whole time. We're going to watch him.
(on if outside linebacker Kevin Dodd will be a full participant in tomorrow's practice)
He's full go, he's full go as well.
(on the importance of this training camp for Dodd)*
I think he has – he hasn't had a lot of time. That foot has been an issue with him. We need him, I think he knows that. I think he wants to play, he wants to practice, he wants to be out there with his teammates. He wants to be good. That's important to him, and we want him to be. We need as much help as an edge rusher as we can get. Can't have enough, in my opinion. It's important that he comes up and shows that he can do it.
(on if outside linebacker Eric Walden is insurance at the linebacker position)
Sure, we have some depth there now. That is always an issue and concern about depth, especially at that position. We feel better about that position now.
(on what he likes about Walden and the unusualness of a player his age posting a double-digit sack season)
Again, that's – why then, not earlier? I can't speak for the scheme or his opportunities, but he's been a thorn in any place that I've been that we've had to play against him. He is a good football player, he's a nasty player. He's not 30, he's just a physical player. Has given us problems again and again. Hopefully is building off what he did last year and that continues and gives us a force from the outside.
(on offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola's release from the team)
First of all, he couldn't practice with the injury he had. Second, he made some poor decisions. It wasn't strictly the two offseason incidents that made that decision.
(on if poor decisions by Tretola by extending beyond two off-season incidents)
(on the reasoning behind holding quarterback Marcus Mariota back to start training camp)
Because we have time. Again, I'm not talking about an extensive hold back. There's going to be certain things I'm going to ease him into.
(on wide receiver Tajaé Sharpe and quarterback Matt Cassel's health)*
They're better. Tajaé was in here, he's been in here every week. He's better. Matt is going to probably be limited. Tajaé probably won't practice tomorrow or I'm not even sure when, he'll be a PUP discussion later. Then we'll just have to limit Matt with the throws.
(on defensive lineman Karl Klug's health)
He could probably go full speed too, but we're going to again, like Marcus, we're going to limit him with his reps. He has made a tremendous effort to come back, and he could go, if I let him. I know he wants to.
(on Klug wanting to play immediately)
That doesn't surprise me. Not at all.
(on the possibility of Klug being on PUP to begin camp)
No, I don't think so. Again, we're talking about it, but he just did the conditioning test with the d-line and looked great running.
(on his message to the team)
It's not going to change much from when they came here in April about us getting better. Every day that we're here, like we did in the offseason, I thought we got better. As a team, as individuals, as units, I think that's not going to change. If we can improve over what we did last year, I think we all know what the reward is. It's about getting better, coming in here and don't worry about what is being said outside this building. Worry about what we need to do inside the building.
(on disregarding the negative narrative that surrounded the team entering last year's training camp)
I do that all the time, regardless of what it is. I try to ignore things that are outside sources that can easily influence football teams. It's a matter of what we believe in here and expectations that we set amongst ourselves in here, and that won't change.
(on national pre-season predictions favoring the Titans)
That's nice. I think it's nice because it recognizes what they did last year, the talk is about what we did last year. Again, that was last year. This is a totally different year. Not totally different, but a lot of changes on this team, so you've got to just be careful about paying attention to that.
(on if nose tackle Sylvester Williams will be a full participation training camp)
He's full go, he did the assessment run as well. He's in great shape, he should have no restrictions.
(on wide receiver Eric Decker's health and his role as a mentor to younger players)*
He is full go. His role, he may have a little bit more of a role of being a utility guy that can play at multiple positions. We're going to start him out at the slot and as a Z receiver with Rishard Matthews. He'll play all over the place. The value of having him in that room with some young guys, again even Eric Walden, another veteran that's had some success, is invaluable to me. You see how guys have done things over their career and the success that's come from it. We just added another guy in that receiver room that will help that room.
(on how the organization has progressed since his arrival)
There's been a lot of change, we talked about it last year. We first got together, Jon Robinson and I, the facility has really changed since I got here. We've gone through two phases of renovation. This year it included the weight room and training room, and we expanded and basically updated it to be one of the top facilities in the NFL. I'll be shocked to see if there's anything better than this. Amy Adams Strunk has been very instrumental, very instrumental, in making sure it's gotten done. She has seen the vision that Jon and I have put in front of her and she's on board with it. I think the players respect that we are trying to do it right for them and make it one of the best facilities that they come to work in every day, and Amy has been very supportive of that.
(on the importance of bringing in veterans that have experienced success)
Add that on to personal success, and they've had some team success, I think that just gives them more credibility when they walk in that room.
(on being in pads throughout camp)
We'll be in pads every chance we have a chance to be in pads. By rule, we can't be in pads the first four practices, that's tomorrow and Sunday. Monday will be the first time, and a lot of them are scheduled for the mornings. But if you look at the schedule for the practices, it's a variation of different times and a lot of that is thought out. The Monday night practices, allows the players to get a little more recovery from a Saturday game. Also gets them out of the heat, also gives fans the ability to come out and watch us. People that work all day have the ability to come out and watch us under the lights. And I think our players enjoy practicing at night and then obviously we have the Friday Night Lights which is new and that's at Centennial High School. It'll give fans again a chance to come out and watch us there and the family night scrimmage at the stadium. There's just a variety of times so if you feel like you can't make it out to a practice because of work, look at the schedule. At some point you'll be able to make it out here and we're inviting everybody to come out and watch this team. Especially with what, again, Amy is responsible for, putting all the stands out there on the fields. It's going to be a comfortable environment, you're covered to get out of the heat. That's a change in itself of what we're doing for the fans for training camp.
(on how Sharpe has responded to his off-field situations)*
Very positive. He understands he's made a mistake and trying to handle it the best he can. He's been very positive but apologetic.
(on if he'll determine in late August who can be expected to have return duties)
Probably will do that. But again we've had more options than we've had since I've been here, with Adoree' (Jackson) back there with punts, Eric Weems back there, Harry (Douglas) has always got returnability. Kickoff return, Khalfani Muhammad's got a chance back there, Eric Weems. I've been with Eric as a returner, kick returner. May again put Tre McBride back there in the mix. Got some options for both punt and kickoff return.
(on what he wants to see from safety Kevin Byard)
Take another step. I thought he took one last year, coming in here really not intimidated by the level of the game. Really confident in his ability, he looks great again to me the second year. When guys come back in here, and they've had a year in an NFL system and NFL weight room, their whole body type is different and you can just see he's been working at it. So, just take another step. See if he can be more of a force, make more plays for us.
(on if it can be expected that Byard will play more center field at safety than last year)
I think that it's all based on the way we're going to attack the opponent. What is their plan, and how we are going to counter it? I can't say it's going to be more. There's been no conversation to get him back there more, it just depends on how we want to play our defenses for those games.
(on running back DeMarco Murray saying he'd like more work this year)
I love it. I mean, I hope everyone wants to get more work and play more and be more involved. We'll see how that all unfolds. Again, a lot of that has to do with how we're game planning. But he'll have enough to keep his hands full. I promise.
(on the comfort running back Derrick Henry's skill provides if Murray needs an in-game break)
I think we have an option now and you saw it last year. What the numbers are this year, I'm not going to predict that because I'll back myself into a corner with that one. They'll both be involved, they'll both be effective for us. How that will be, we'll see when we line up on Sundays.
(on how the offense will evolve with the newly added players)
Again, we have more options to attack people and that's what we're always looking for. How many different ways can we come from all angles to attack the defense, and we have more now.
(on if the offensive game plan will change on a weekly basis)
Sure it does. I see it however we've got to win the game, that's what we're going to do. Again, no predictions. We have some more options of how we can keep some teams off-balance and try to hit them again from as many angles as we can to try to gain an advantage.
(on how the change in the roster reduction rules will change the amount of playing time during preseason)*
It may, we haven't gotten to that point yet. It may, but I like the rule. We were in favor of it and I think it gives players another opportunity to show other teams - obviously, it's a big cut from 90 to 53. It just gives other teams more opportunities to see you one more time. And I like that, it's about opportunity for some guys who may never play again.
(on replacing the physicality at tight end that departed in free agency)
I think everybody's going to kind of takeover. Obviously we're hoping our tight ends understand what's expected from them, I think they know that. I know Jonnu (Smith) knows what's expected from him. (Phillip) Supernaw's been here long enough to know that he'll have a larger role and how important it is, but we'll find other ways. Again, based on our personnel is how we're going to do things. Again, we're not going to force feed anything down that we can't do. If we are struggling in something we'll get away from it. We're going to do what we're good at.
Titans head coach Mike Mularkey, WR Eric Decker, CB Logan Ryan, LB Brian Orakpo and RB DeMarco Murray address reporters a day before the start of the team's 2017 training camp. (Photos: Gary Glenn)