TITANS INTERIM HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - December 7, 2015
(on if it feels good to finally win at home)
It does. It was a good win for the organization and good for us to have one less thing to have to worry about and try to overcome. So that was good. We didn't quite want it to be that kind of game and come down to the end again, but whatever it took, they did a good job of finding a way.
(on what a Victory Monday is like from a coaching perspective)*
As far as not having the players here, it allows us to get a jump on the next opponent. It gives those guys a chance to get away from us for another day, which I know they don't mind a bit. But it does help us, especially with the Jets, who we are about to face this next Sunday. It's good for us in really all phases to get, really, a couple extra hours, it really comes down to about three hours that we get to spend extra that we're not with the players.
(on how much he will look at yesterday's game with the team)
There are a couple different ways. After New Orleans, we spent some time on Wednesday morning to review the game. We didn't lose a lot of time in preparation, I think Carolina was the next one. But this one, I think we're going to move on as quickly as we can to get ready for the Jets. It will be a brief overview of this past game and we'll get into the Jets as quickly as we can to start preparing for them.
(on the support from players wanting to win for him so he has a better chance of keeping the job)
Hopefully you're doing something right for these guys. I think the whole staff wants to do the right thing for these guys so they will go out and play with that kind of energy and that kind of want. I told them that it was about winning for all of us, for the way we work, all of us. Not just the players or the coaches, but it was important to get a win for all of us to be rewarded, finally. I know some of them thought of how much more important it was because of it being Jacksonville, but it was more about us in this room wanting to get a win for everybody.
(on what the team can do this week to create a carryover going into next week's game)
Hopefully we gained a little confidence. Again, I think these were two close games we've had that we've won, with New Orleans, and I'm talking about since the change in head coaching. These are two games that have come down to the wire that we have won. At least this should give these guys – we are very capable of winning these games. If we could have done some things differently, maybe it wouldn't have gotten so close. Some of those turnovers that we had I thought were critical in the outcome of the game. I thought it changed the momentum of the game. But I just think, if you're not going to get some confidence off of this last one, I'll be shocked by these guys. I know when they come in here on Wednesday, the way they've come in here off of losses, we're going to have even greater energy coming in here.
(on what he would like to show in the rest of the season aside from wins)
Well, we'd like to be consistent in what we're doing. Again, the message they've heard from the beginning has been very clear and very precise. I think they have seen from the results that we've had chances to win because of the way they're playing, and yesterday was no different. There are things that, especially, at the end of the game, where our defense on those last four plays made a statement. We needed them to make a stop and they made a stop. Then for our offense to go out there on the 69th play on the five-yard line, to watch 10 guys trying to get the ball carrier in the end zone, with the effort and the physical play, at this time of the year, at that time of the game, to watch them play the way they were playing, there were a lot of positive things about that. That's what we want to continue to do and see what happens. Again, we're going (forward) just for the Jets right now.
(on how critical Dorial Green Beckham's performance was after his drop for an interception)
I thought it was big. Probably the biggest thing about him is that for a young receiver, a rookie receiver, to have what I thought was a big momentum-changing play when we turned the ball over after the drop. It wasn't just a drop, it was a drop for an interception that they went down and scored on. I kind of felt like we had the momentum and we had these guys, and then that changed. That changed kind of how we were attacking them and defending them. But for him to come back and to make some of the plays that he made and some of the catches that he made, the touchdown, obviously, was a big one. To respond and not let that bother him, that's really a big plus. Especially after putting a lot of pressure on that position, those guys came up and made a lot of plays whether it was on third down by Kendall (Wright) or DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham) or the blocks. Those guys, to watch that run by Marcus (Mariota) and to watch wide receivers 70 yards down the field blocking, that's what we've been preaching since day one. That's what creates plays like that one, because of the effort from those guys, not just catching the ball but run blocking.
(on how important it is from a coaching standpoint for a player to make up for his mistake)
These guys are very hard on themselves. We've talked about how a lot of these guys are their own worst critics. It's never good enough, they are very hard on themselves. You can look in their eye, they know they've disappointed people. Whether it's the coaches or their teammates, you can see they are frustrated that they had an opportunity to make a big play and the total reversal happened and it went in the other direction. They need to know immediately that, first of all, it's a mistake, but it's over. There is nothing that's going to – just don't let it affect the rest of the game. If you let it, maybe something negative happens again. But you just have to get them back into a positive frame of mind as quickly as you can and see if they can overcome that. (Dorial Green-Beckham) did. For the rest of the game, he made plays.
(on if David Cobb has been playing as well as he was during training camp now that he is healthy again)
Yeah, I thought he made some nice runs. There were others I wish he stuck with. The ball should have hit and we should have had some more yards out there. I think that's for both of those guys. These are two young backs in the NFL that are seeing things with different lines, how things are being blocked differently. But I saw some things that were good to see, some flashes of what he's capable of doing, but I'd like to see both of these guys break some of these tackles so that when they're on the last line of defense, if you can get through that, we're going to have some big plays that are going to lead to more scores.
(on if David Cobb's vision is what needs to improve)
Some of it is vision, some of it's not understanding the speed and how quickly everything kind of comes together. You can't start cutting back when they're coming that way. Stick with what you saw first, believe in it and try to make a play.
(on if he is any bit surprised by the success Marcus Mariota has had)
He does something that the run, obviously, kind of shows you where he's at right now. We talked about, even during the game, 'Run it. If you see something, run it. If you see a crease, running is not bad. Don't feel like you have to stay in the pocket.' The one thing about him that I saw yesterday is that after the fumble, after the interception, after anything that could have possibly been a negative because we didn't respond to the sudden change and let scores happen, as he walked down with the offense getting ready to go back on the field, he's got the look, at least this is the feel of the look that I see. It was like 'I got it.' That's a good feeling when your quarterback is looking at you like, 'Don't worry about it. We're good.' We had been in a lot of cases, the way he gives us a chance to win games.
(on if it is rare for a rookie to have that look of confidence)
Really, the only other rookie that's started is Matt Ryan that I've been with. Very similar, you always felt like you had a chance. Very similar.
(on if it is tempting to put in more plays that allow Marcus Mariota to run the ball after his 87-yard touchdown run Sunday)
Since the Miami game, since he's been healthier, and we felt like this is probably as healthy as he's been, we designed more yesterday. We had the zone read in. They did a good job two weeks ago of stopping it. We countered it, and I thought we did a better job of running it than they defended it this time. They won week one, or week, whatever it was, two weeks ago, we countered it, and he made some yards on it. We would have had bigger plays if we had sustained some of the blocks when he was running it outside.
(on if his aggressive call to go for the touchdown with five seconds and no timeouts left in the first half was meant to lead the players to play aggressively too)
At the half, again, even on the headphones, when we were faced with the third-and-10, the conversation was we want to run the ball, get them to burn a timeout if we were going to punt it after this. Really, the thought was, I'm not worried about their timeout, we're worried about trying to score points, so call our best third-down play, which (offensive coordinator) Jason (Michael) called the play to DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham). It was not about trying to be conservative at that point, it was about trying to go down and score. When we hit the third-and-10 and then we continued to hit plays all the way down to the one (yard-line), to come away with three was not going to be what we wanted. For all we did to get to that point, we were going to finish the drive. I don't care, no matter what, we were going to finish the drive, and it was all or nothing. The way we were playing, I just had a good feel for our guys to get the ball in the end zone. First of all, because I knew the play we were going to run, I knew the scheme, and we were confident that if that was the first play, if we get down to the goal line, that was the first play and we're going to score with this play.
(on they caught a break in addition to executing the play on Antonio Andrews' touchdown before the end of the first half)
Yeah, we did. We did have them walled off. Based on their front, we thought we could get an edge on them and (Paul) Posluszny just took a poor angle. The way the momentum and the speed Antonio (Andrews) was hitting that thing downhill, even if he had made contact with him, I'm not sure it would have made a difference for a yard. He was going to go in the end zone.
(on the defensive pass interference call after Marcus Mariota was sacked at the very end of the game)
I knew it was going to come out of his hands quicker. They blitzed both corners off the edge and the thought there was, make them go 65 yards with 20 seconds left on the clock from the minus one. Really, to be honest with you, I really liked the play call. If he's not held, he's going to score a touchdown there and the game is over. I thought it was a good decision at the time, and I still do. They had to hold him or it was a touchdown.
(on the Titans' final defensive play of the game and if he talked with Ray Horton and Dick LeBeau or if he let them make the call)
I listen. I do a good job of listening with those two. We talk about what's going to happen in certain situations, and I know the call when they make the call. A lot of this verbiage is back from when I was in Pittsburgh, so I know the call pretty well. They don't need me. They don't need another voice on the phones. They do a very good job of communicating with not a lot of chaotic conversation going on. I don't direct them on what to do.
(on the corners' performance and if B.W. Webb has moved ahead of Blidi Wreh-Wilson)
The corners, we did some things yesterday where we were guessing a little bit. Very undisciplined, unlike the way we've been playing. It goes back to what the message has been in the locker room about doing their job because a lot of other guys are depending on them to do that. We were not as disciplined as we played, we were guessing on some things, and it really hurt us the whole game. Blidi (Wreh-Wilson) and B.W. (Webb), when we went to our nickel package, they were going to rotate in and out. We thought we were going to play who we thought was playing the best when it was all said and done, and we made the switch. We'll discuss who's going to hold that role, but yesterday, B.W. was playing better than Blidi.
(on Blidi Wreh-Wilson often being in good position to make plays but not making them)
He is, he's in good position to make plays, if not, turnovers, and just has not really done that. We're getting him opportunities. We're doing it even in practice to kind of get him work with it live. It was disappointing that that happened like that.
(on if Craig Stevens catching more touchdown passes has anything to do with the fact that he is in charge)
I've been high on him since he came out of college, but him scoring touchdowns, he's just where he's supposed to be. Marcus (Mariota) did a good job, he's really the last guy in that progression to hit and based on the play that we were running, he can kind of get lost in the line of scrimmage, which he did. (Paul) Posluszny lost him and there was a nice crease, and really, Marcus has hit that a number of times in practice, so it's a tough play to defend.
(on the improved third down conversion percentage in Sunday's game)
We have practiced third down more than any place I've ever been. That's why, when you start like we did a week ago, 0-9, it's frustrating because of how much we do in practice. The drill, that's the competitive period we have at the end of Wednesday practices where it's ones against ones. We're better than we were a week ago, but Marcus (Mariota) started off by making a play out of the pocket to DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham). Some of those things, he was doing with his feet getting out of the pocket, but also, protection wise, we did some things protection wise different than what we have. It gave him a chance to step up in the pocket and hit some of those deeper throws. Yesterday, I think we were three-for-four on third-and-10 or more, and if you can convert those, you're doing something right. I think our guys up front were blocking and protecting pretty well.
(on his former player Kelly Holcomb and former Titan Derrick Mason saying they think he should keep the head coaching positon)
Well, that's nice. That's nice to hear. I have a lot of respect for those guys, coaching Kelly (Holcomb). That's nice, but you know, I think I said this in the beginning, this is my coaching style and this is how I approach it, no matter who I'm coaching. I'm going to continue to do that and see what happens in the next month when it's all said and done, but the message when I stand here in front of these guys is not going to change. We're going to approach every one of these games like we have. That's nice to hear, but we'll keep plugging away.
(on if the team is better now than it was under Ken Whisenhunt)
I don't want to do that. I'm not going to compare where we are. Again, they're playing hard. They're doing the things we've talked about, doing a better job of not beating ourselves. I know we've cut our penalties in half in the last four weeks from where we were the first eight. Is that because of me or because of Ken (Whisenhunt)? I just think our guys are trying to do the message I am trying to send across to them about how to try to win football games.
(on how the offensive line took a step forward in this game after their first week together against Oakland)
It was better, I thought, from the first Jacksonville game. The communication and our ability to handle some of the things they were doing. I think they saw we were trying to establish the run and sticking with it. That's a good defense to run the ball on, a very good defense. I thought they were gelling with the run, they knew we were trying to hit some balls down the field. We were trying to help them win the protection, I think they saw that. That's two weeks in a row now that they've played together. That's hopefully good for them and good for us, but it was a good win for that lineup again.
(on how much can winning increase Marcus Mariota's confidence when he already has confidence)
I think it's going to help immensely. I think he's going to win a lot of games. He's going to win a lot of football games here. I think what he does on the field, whether it's the play he made – we've been very good in our two-minute drills. We have not scored on the end-of-game two-minute drills, but we've moved the length of the field that's given us chances to win because of some of the things he's done. What we did before halftime, to go down there and score a touchdown with him making those plays, that's not only gaining him confidence, but the guys around him are seeing what he's capable of doing. They know there's always a chance regardless of the situation with him.
(on the evolution of Jason Michael's play-calling)
He's done a good job, he's kept a good tempo. We haven't had a lot of times when we're worrying about the play clock. I think he's doing a good job of staying a play ahead, we talk about it, talked about it prior to the game, right before we went on the field, the offense. Just get your thoughts together, we talk about them. But he's got a good feel for where we're at with things, and I thought he called a very good game yesterday. He's got a good rhythm in play calling and we're letting him have some time to think about it. That's why he's upstairs, to get his thoughts together, and we'll talk in between series, but the rhythm has been very good.
(on Daimion Stafford as a nickel linebacker)
It was a scheme based on their personnel to get him in the game and let him play a little bit more. It was more about their personnel against out personnel.
(on Phillip Supernaw playing with an edge but having to get his penalties under control)
He's on this team because he has played with an edge since he came here. Again, we talked again today, there's a fine line that he's crossed, and it's going to cost us football games. It could have cost us the game yesterday. It's just about making better decisions in the heat of the moment, but it's not acceptable. It's just not acceptable what he did.
(on if Phillip Supernaw got the message about getting his penalties under control)
Yeah, I think he got it.
(on if he has been in contact with ownership and if they were happy about the home win)
They were happy, but again, I've done this before, I know how important it is to stay in communication and make sure they are aware of everything that's going on even day-to-day. I kind of go through the week with my conversations, but they were happy. Happy to get over the streak, per say.
(on if he's talked with Amy Adams Strunk about his future)
Yes, we'll revisit at the end of the year, but nothing as of late.
(on the feedback from the community after the home win)
It's been very positive. They know what we're trying to do, they know how hard these guys are playing. But for the most part, it's been very positive.
(on his philosophy on analytics)
I think there's room for them, but I think you have to be careful of them. They can be information-overload. There's so many things. The problem with them is there is so much information. Guys like me, you worry about, 'Did I study everything possible to help win this game?' You can get a book this thick on the analytics of the game, of what this one player does based on the down, distance, his stance, and it can be too much. For an example, go for it on fourth-and-one, if you look statistically fourth-and-one, how high the percentages are, I don't know what they are today, but they're pretty good. I want to know, when was it fourth-and-one? Who was the fourth-and-one on? What part of the game? Where was it, was it on the one (yard-line)? But that's not always factored in. It just says, 'Hey, fourth-and-one. You should go for it.' I need to know when. So there is some good and bad with it and we take it all in as much as we can, but it can be overboard at some points.
(on if he'd welcome a condensed version of analytics)
We kind of have that, we know percentages and when we should do things. We talk about those things.
(on if Dexter McCluster will be back on Sunday)
I like his attitude about Sunday. He ran today and we'll see how he feels tomorrow, but I'm hopeful that he's going to be ready.
(on Mike Martin's knee injury)
Mike (Martin) was in my office again today, he said he's getting better. He's getting treatment today and were going to see where he is, he and Derrick (Morgan) on Wednesday with these days off, see how they are.
(on if Derrick Morgan will be back at some point this season)
We're hoping. Again, the process now is to just try to strengthen the shoulder. There's nothing you can do, it's not like we can fix it and play. It's got to be strengthening it and hopefully he can play.