Coach Mularkey's Monday Practice Transcript

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TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY MEDIA AVAILABILITY - Dec. 5, 2016

(on practice participation)

Did not practice today—Jurrell (Casey). He's better than he was a week ago, and we'll just evaluate him each day, not ruling him out for the game. He's getting better every day, so I'll let you know more Wednesday. Kevin Dodd did not practice today. We are going to place Kevin on injured reserve today and move up Justin Staples to the active roster. We felt like (we were) making no progress. I think the injury was affecting him in a number of ways. I mean, nothing's changed from the beginning, he's just had a hard time practicing with it and it's affected his performance. We feel it's best for Kevin. We'll reevaluate it and bring Justin up.

(on if he had indicted previously that Kevin Dodd's struggles were not injury-related)

No, I said it was performance. I said it was performance. That's, again, what I'm saying. It was based on performance. It was affecting him, I think, a little bit in his head that this thing was not allowing him to play at the level he wanted to, and that affected his performance, which affected why we put him down.

**

(on if he feels Kevin Dodd has a bright future with the Titans)**

Oh, absolutely. I mean, no question about it. I know he's disappointed. That's the conversation we had this morning that he really never felt like he could play like he wanted to play at the level he wanted to play. He's got a great future here. We're going to help him get that thing right and come back here stronger than ever.

(on if Kevin Dodd may need to have another foot surgery)

Yes, it may. We're going to reevaluate that, and it may involve that. If it is, it'd be early. We'd do it to get him back early in the spring.

(on if needing surgery is an indication that Kevin Dodd had a more serious injury than originally thought)

No, because what he has some players have played with. Every player is different. I mean, I've got 53 guys that all have different bodies. Some can do what others can't, and he's no different. This is the case that we're dealing with right now. He understands the situation, and that's how we're dealing with it.

(on if Kevin Dodd agreed with the decision to move to injured reserve)

Yeah, there wasn't a whole lot of discussion. He did agree and he thinks it's what's best for him. We'll have him for next year.

(on if the players practiced well today)

Hit it extremely well. For the time off, I thought probably one of our better practices. I cut it, actually, short. I was very pleased with the way we did things. We got a lot of work done, and I cut it short because I wanted to end it on a good note. It was a very, very good practice.

(on the message to the team with four games remaining)

Get ready for Denver. We've got a good football team coming in here. We got an extra day of work today on it, obviously. We can't control anything other than next Sunday against Denver, just like we were all off this week when Houston lost. We had nothing to do with that, and we have nothing to do with what happens tonight. We've got to take care of our business, and that's Denver.

**

(on if the players are handling the situation well)**

I'd say that. Again, I'd go back to today's practice. I mean, to come in here and do what they did—I've been around long enough, and these are the kind of days you have to maybe pull some teeth to get them to go. That was not the case whatsoever.

(on moving into a tie for first place in the division over the bye week)

It worked out. When you looked back at the schedule way back, you wondered how it would be. It was definitely a grind, there's no question about it, but seeing where we are with our record, where we are with our team, it came at a good time for the players and coaches, I think. A lot more fresh bodies and minds around here.

(on how the bye week helped DeMarco Murray)

It helped. He practiced today, which we've been holding him back, but he practiced today.

(on if DeMarco Murray's decision making in recent games was impacted by injury)

No, I think there's been little bits—again, it's not something the naked eye could see that some of the cuts he could have made, I think, that he made earlier in the season. I don't know if it was about decisions or about the toe, but no, I don't think he's trying to do too much. I think he's doing the same thing he has since day one.

(on if he thinks the running back rotation will remain as it has been)

Yeah, I see us on the same course. I mean, it's gotten us pretty good—one of the leading rushers in the NFL. It'd be tough to flip-flop.

(on Denver's defense)

They're, obviously, very good. They've got some guys over there—the scheme, obviously is very good. They're not very complicated whatsoever. They've got a lot of good players playing the scheme—I mean, very good—the front end and the back end.

(on how he has done when facing a Wade Phillips' defense)

I'd have to go back and look. I'd have to look at it. That's one thing about him, he's not a very complicated guy. He does some things on third down. Everybody does exotic defenses on third down, but when it comes to first and second down, he's not going to hide, especially when you've got guys that can play the things that they're doing. It's not a matter of knowing who. It's going to be how we block them.

(on if Von Miller is the biggest defensive threat the Titans have faced)

To this point, yeah, I'd say he's the best to this point that we've had to face.

(on if he spoke with the team about playing in contention games)

No, we've talked about the situation we're in really not specifically. We talked more directly about Denver and what we have to do to try to beat Denver. That's what the message was this morning.

(on if the players and coaches left town for a few days over the bye week)

I think they did. I know, I did. I got the flu, which was probably good timing—good and bad timing. I think everybody got out of here and everybody behaved themselves, which was good. We've got a team that does things the right way, which I appreciate, and had no incidents and came back in here and looked like they were ready to go.

(on when he had the flu)

Monday through Thursday was not good. Yeah, it's alright. It's part of the business.

(on if they have created a plan for the cornerback rotation against Denver's receivers)

Yeah, again, we've got a head start and we worked that a little bit today. But today and tomorrow is the planning, the majority of the meat and potatoes of what we're going to do against Denver.

(on the challenge of defending Denver's receivers)

It's a challenge. Yeah, it's a challenge. You know, when you've got one, it's a challenge. They've got a couple of guys that are special players that we're going to have to handle. You can't double everybody.

(on if knowing the starting quarterback matters in preparation)

No, it doesn't. Really, the offense, if you watch—I mean, that's the (Gary) Kubiak offense, really, that the pieces have always fit. It always has success. It's not a real complicated offense. Next guy up can play it.

(on if continuity is more important at cornerback than at safety)

Yeah, I don't see it being in the same light, to be honest with you. The safety rotation is, again, personnel-based by what the offense is doing. The corner rotation is, at least early, now we're going to see who's playing the most consistent and playing the best. That guy will end up playing the most.

(on if Denver's defense is the best in the league)

One of the top few defenses. Before yesterday, they were four. I don't know where they're at right now. But yeah, overall, as a complete defense, very good and one of the best.

(on Von Miller)

Disruptive—you can't have enough guys to block him—slippery, hard to block. That's one thing about this whole defense—hard to maintain blocks on them. They get off blocks very well, but he's, in particular, tough to block with one guy.

(on if he wants the team to be as energized about this game as possible)

No, I want them to be prepared and ready to play when it comes to Sunday. This is not bigger than the last one or the next one. This is just like every game we've played, dating back to day one. They don't have to do anything different. We just have to play consistent, play three good phases of football. When we've done that, we can play with anybody in the NFL.

(on his message to the team this morning)

Again, this is the fourth quarter. They know what lies ahead. It's really a four-game season for our team. Again, I've said it, you can't let what happens anywhere else affect us. It's just about what we do and what we do against Denver. That will be the message. It always has been.

(on if Jack Conklin will have help in his blocks this week)

We're talking about it. That's the next two days, again, looking through more film, looking at how we're going to protect. It depends on how you do it. There's a number of ways to do it, but we're not going to put anybody at a disadvantage if we can.

TitansOnline.com looks back at Marcus Mariota's outstanding performance in November of 2016. (AP Photos)

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