TITANS INTERIM HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - December 14, 2015
(on the Brandon Marshall touchdown play when the headsets went out and if there should have been a call on to the field)
Well, you have to wait for their personnel to come out. It was after a punt. It was really a two-minute segment that was taking place, so we were talking about everything that they do two-minute wise, routes. When they came on the field, it was the first time that they not gotten in a huddle. They went right from the huddle, right to the line of scrimmage and lined up. They had the play-call and the formation all set, and as we went to make the call, the headsets went down right in the middle of it. Again, like I expressed last night, what we were doing based on their personnel and our personnel, we were trying to match, whether it was zone or man, match our guys with their guys, and they caught us with it. They caught us uncovered.
(on if he had an opportunity to call a timeout on that play)*
There was. We have a fail-safe if we don't get the call in quick enough, but it happened so quickly that only a couple of guys got the call, unfortunately. I will say this, it was an unbelievable effort by Jurrell Casey. He's a special player, he played an unbelievable game yesterday, but that was – he recognized what took place and at least gave us a chance to try to stop it, but they caught us and the headsets didn't help.
(on if the fail-safe is a call that's made to cover bases in those situations)
Yeah, like if the headset goes down. I mean, everything was so quick with the process of what happened yesterday that once they realized it was down, then they went to the call, but the call did not get to everybody in time.
(on if he thinks it is a coincidence that when the Jets ran a quick play with no huddle, the headsets went out)
I thought it was, it is a coincidence. That's all it is, there was no ploy. They were not trying to catch us off guard. It's just the way it unfolded.
(on if he would have liked to have seen Michael Griffin get Brandon Marshall out of bounds on that play)
Yeah, I mean, the effort was there, it was just trying to get him out of bounds. I thought he was attempting to.
(on if the refs could have held the ball to allow the team to match in between plays)
We had 11 guys on the field, so it didn't look like we were attempting to substitute because again, we did not have a headset to substitute. We had 11 on there thinking, proceed with the play.
(on if there was an opportunity to alert the officials on that play)
By the time it got to me, I was on the offensive side, by the time it got to me that the headsets were down, I turned around and the ball was snapped. I literally chased (Jerome Boger) down the sideline. I was obviously a day late. But it was bang-bang how quick it happened. I went back to look at the TV copy, because originally this morning, I thought the same thing. How in the whole game they don't go from the sideline to the field and lineup like that? Why on that particular play when our headsets go down do they do it? I'm thinking, do they have something or was there something there? I went to the TV copy and even the TV copy is midway through the play. They didn't even catch it, that's how fast the thing went down. It's midway through (Brandon) Marshall running down the sideline. I called one of the coaches up there to see if they had something on us, and it was just like Dick LeBeau said this morning, it was like the perfect storm. For it to happen in the sequence that it happened, in the timing that it happened, there was no ploy behind it. It was just that the timing was not very good.
(on if a player should have called timeout on that play)
After the fact, yeah, you wish that could have happened. But again, you don't even know, they had no idea it was about to be snapped, let alone call a timeout.
(on how many missed tackles he counted in the game)
Secondary-wise we had 12. That's unusually high, most of those were in the first half, yes.
(on if Perrish Cox could have put in more effort to make the tackle on the goal line)
I would like to see that, yeah. We know what the result was with what happened yesterday, so let's go ahead and make the attempt to make the tackle, maybe knock the ball loose or whatever. But the way it went down yesterday is not what we want.
(on how that play was handled in the meeting room)
I address the whole team with it. It's not just addressed at Perrish (Cox), it's addressed to the whole team that that's not what we want. We want better effort.
(on if he does not call out individuals)
I mean, really, you're talking to everybody. Maybe it's one guy that had a situation like that in the game, but I'm really talking to everybody because I am talking to everybody so they understand that this is not what we want, and it's not going to be acceptable, and these will be the consequences if it happens. I'm talking to the team and I want them all listening, not just one guy.
(on if there were other instances in the game where he questioned a player's effort )
Not like that one. That one stood out, obviously. It was one yard behind the line of scrimmage, we had missed tackles on the play and then we had that at the goal line. So that play stood out more than most.
(on questioning the players' effort given the circumstances of the season)
I know what I said, I said that last night, but after watching the tape, sometimes I wish I had a chance to watch the game before I come in and have a press conference. The effort was better than I had thought it was (yesterday). It was more of a couple individuals on plays. I'm big into preaching, and these guys know and the coaches support it, of finishing plays, finishing it to the whistle. It was just more of a player here or there that was not going like we did the week before. We just want consistency, but it was not as bad as I thought it was in the post-game press conference.
(on what the Jets did to make the run game so difficult to get started)
I thought it was more of what we did. We had a number of mental errors in the run game where we left guys unblocked, and that was disappointing on our part. You feel during the game it's more of what they're doing. We knew we had some matchup issues going into this game, and you thought, 'Well, that's what's happening.' Then you put the tape on, which pictures don't show, and you see you've got some guys that are not on the right guys. That's what's disappointing is that we didn't give ourselves a chance. We should have had some bigger runs, which would have given us a little confidence into calling more and running the same play more, but when we had some mistakes up front, it did not give us a lot of confidence that we could run. We thought it was them and it wasn't.
(on the Titans' pass protection and what he attributes the Jets' five sacks to)
It wasn't all confusion by any means. They got us on one blitz we hadn't seen from them. Most blitzes, we have practiced at some point during the offseason, or training camp or at some point. We got that one that we hadn't seen in a while. Marcus (Mariota) immediately came over afterwards and said, "Hey, the blitz is called Avalanche. I saw it late, I could have gotten out of it.' Again, a lot of the things that he saw, he came over and without us having to go, 'Hey, next time do this,' he already told me what he was going to do next time, which again, is good experience for him, but unfortunately, on that play, the outcome was bad. Some of it was not winning outside so we're holding the ball a little bit longer. It wasn't just the line, the backs have to step up. Those are big backers, their two inside linebackers, they are a force when they come. We have to do a better job stepping up and hitting them underneath the chin instead of taking a side, which we did. It kind of went all the way around, some of the chipping. There are a lot of things we could have done better, but we knew there were going to be some issues going in trying to get the ball down the field. For the most part, there were a lot of good protections in that game.
(on Andy Gallik's progress on picking up on blitzes and moving the line)
Actually, we had no problems identifying. We had some issues with ID'ing personnel and that was not the case at all yesterday. Andy (Gallik) had his hands full yesterday. I'll say this for Andy, he held his own for the most part. There's sometimes you're not going to see, it's going to not look good. But he's doing the best he can under the circumstances and he's only going to get better from all this experience. He is doing everything we're asking him to do, but some of those matchups are not fair fights.
I'm glad we get to talk about something good. I wish I had said something last night, I didn't even realize it was the record that he earned last night. He's such a good player. He's been very good for Marcus (Mariota). Marcus trusts that he's going to be where he's supposed to be and if he's not the primary, he knows he can come back and Delanie (Walker) is going to be where he's supposed to be and Delanie's going to make a play for him, other than the first play of the game. Delanie is good for this whole team. He's good for this locker room, he's good for this organization and for anybody to think he is not a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end, he has had as good of a season as anybody in this league, and he deserves a chance to be recognized, irrelevant of records. It's what he has accomplished and what has he done for our team to help us either win or have a chance to win games? He's done it every week, week in and week out.
(on how much of a challenge it's been for Delaine Walker with injured wide receivers)
Well, people know he's our target. He's one of our main targets and he's still getting open. They're having a tough time defending him and that says a lot about the guy. When you know we're going to throw it, and you still can't cover him, that says a lot about this guy. If we had more production in other spots, his production could even be greater, but he's doing a lot for this team.
(on if having so many rookies on offense makes you get to a point where they're not progressing)
No, but we're watching that, obviously evaluating them. There are a lot. We thought at one point we could have had a play yesterday that we could have had six to seven rookies on the play if the play would have been called. This is a process with these guys. They're learning in the heat of the battle, which I think is the best way to learn. We can do whatever we want on the practice field, but the best experience, the best way they're going to get better is to have live reps in games against really good opponents. The good ones, the guys that are going to keep progressing will takes these reps and again, they'll be better next week. But this is not a bad thing that's taking place with these guys. That's why you coach, you enjoy watching a guy compete and have some success against some veterans and some really good veterans.
(on how the young receivers performed Sunday, particularly Dorial Green-Beckham and Andrew Turzilli)
I thought Andrew (Turzilli) made a couple good plays. He obviously had a false start, but I didn't think the game was too big for him. He's a quiet kid, it didn't affect him. He actually ran very good routes, precise routes on the chances that he had, and made a couple plays for us. I was very proud of him. Now, there are some things he could do special teams-wise. When you're the fourth or fifth receiver going in, you need to have some production on special teams. If he did not do well, it was more on that phase, but offensively, he did well. DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham) had opportunities that we wish we could have not had the drops. Those would have again, extended drives, but he's getting more asked of him. He's still a young, raw receiver who has shown flashes of production and what he can do, but the more that's put on him, it's more of a strain on him, too, as well. It's just a lot when you're put in that position. Again, I don't think it's a bad thing. I think it's where we are with our roster right now with the injuries. He's being asked to do more, he's just got to be more productive when that opportunity comes around.
(on if the receivers' need to win more one-on-ones outside has to do with speed or routes)
They need all that, but the one thing to me is patience. Some guys, especially young receivers, the first thing they do, if there is any disruption on a release, they think they need to speed up things. That's not the case at all, they need to be where they're supposed to be depth-wise in an area where we're designing a route to go. That doesn't change, that's where Marcus (Mariota) expects you to be regardless of your release. But a lot of young receivers and players, you see a little hesitation, because there is a lot of thinking going on when you are young and this is new, and maybe it's the environment or maybe it's the guy standing over you is one of the best that's ever played the game. But even the speed off at the snap, I see the defensive end take a step across the line before our receivers take a step. That's not good because he's one step closer to our quarterback, and we're not even off the line to run the route. Those little things, again, are going to get better and better, but that's kind of what you expect from a young wide receiver.
(on what he preaches to the team as they travel to New England)
Really, we have a couple choices. We can have a little pity party or we can rally together, which I know the guys in this room will come to work. I told them that was my choice, to come to work, prepare like we have, study, go out on the practice field and do everything it takes to get ready to beat New England. Don't worry about pointing fingers, if there is anybody, just look at yourself to make sure you're doing everything you're supposed to be doing before you look around. We can handle it one way or another, and I know the way these guys will handle it. That's what the feel was when we left this meeting room this morning. It was good.
(on if he has a relationship with Bill Belichick)
I really do not know him, no.
(on the challenge heading into New England and the chance of getting embarrassed if they do not play well)
It's a good football team. They're 11-2, well-coached. It will be a challenge. That's what's great about the NFL. It's a good challenge, our guys will be up for it, and we'd be foolish not to be. I think if you go in there and you're not ready to play, you can be embarrassed, and we will be ready.
(on if he is more inclined to get creative after Marcus Mariota's touchdown reception play yesterday)
Well, you see things on tape that you have a feel has got a chance to be a big play. Again, a lot of that is your personnel, your creativity, who you have, who you're playing against. A lot of that is just, there's a lot of that goes into it, but I felt like that play, from when we put it in, was going to score a touchdown. It just had a chance, based on all the looks we saw that Houston had against them. But we're always thinking of creative ways because of where we are offensively and some of the injuries we have, we have to find ways to get points other than the conventional 80-yard drive, we have to find ways to get points.
(on if Antonio Andrews had been lobbying to throw a pass for a while)
I can tell you that it's the best pass he threw out of a number of them. We went through that because I just felt like that is a touchdown if we can get it in the right situation, get it on the right hash, that's a touchdown. So we were pretty diligent about it.
(on if running the play in the game was a risk as they did not have success with it in practice)
Where we are, again, going against that defense, we needed to try to get points any way we could. I felt pretty good about that play.
(on if he worried about the cornerback being physical with Marcus Mariota on the play)
Not much, he could defend himself out there, but based on the tape, literally they did not look at the quarterback. Again, T.J. Yates and Marcus (Mariota) are different guys as far as their athletic ability, but they really did not pay attention to the quarterback when Houston motioned him out. They did a better job, I still think we caught them kind of off-guard at corner. When Marcus walked off the line, it kind of lulled them enough to get by him.
(on if they will look for more ways to run plays like that going forward)
I think you're always finding ways. Deception is very important to me. Any way you can get the defense to hesitate or again, give the appearance of, 'Why are they doing this? That's not something we've practice or that's not something we've seen in the playbook, what is it?' If you can get them to hesitate for a second, you have the advantage immediately against them.
(on the injury status of Da'Norris Searcy)
We're probably going to hold him out Wednesday and we'll see Thursday how he's doing. (It')s a hamstring.
(on the injury status of Derrick Morgan)
Derrick (Morgan) is going to have surgery. He's done everything we've asked him to do and we think the best option right now is a surgery. He does too, and he's going to have that surgery today, actually. He's out of the season.
(on how far Derrick Morgan came in his second year)
Well, talking about losing Jason McCourty, and then now losing him, we haven't had him since the first Jacksonville game, I think it has a lot to do with our pressures. He's a really good football player. You've got guys that can come off both sides. It's a threat and I think you've seen a little bit of what's happened since his presence has been missing.
(on what kind of year Derrick Morgan could have had if not for his injury, based on the way he started the season)
He was really confident in what he was doing. He just believed he couldn't be blocked, and that's part of it. A lot of that is confidence. I just think with (Brian) Orakpo on the other side, there's no telling how productive he could have been.
(on if Derrick Morgan will be ready for a full offseason)
Now he'll have time, yes.
(on how Derrick Morgan's absence affects Jurrell Casey and Brian Orakpo)
They can take their lines, they can take a tight end over there and chip over there. They can scheme to take away or at least abrupt the rush somehow with a chip.
(on if he was able to judge J.R. Tavai's performance)
No, he had five snaps. Not really, nothing bad or good, probably hold the point a little better.
(on Kendall Wright's injury status)
He's going to run tomorrow. We'll see where that goes, I'm hoping. I asked Kendall (Wright) how he was feeling and he said he was feeling the best he's felt since the injury. So he's going to run tomorrow and we'll see day-to-day.
(on if the interim tag makes him approach the end of the season any differently)
No, I don't. Whatever we can do to win this game is what we're going to try to do. Nothing I'm doing is any different than I did five weeks ago or six weeks ago. No, we're going to prepare and get ready to play just like that with the guys we have and try to go in there and take on the challenge.
(on if the team came out of the game healthy for the most part)
Not really, Dexter (McCluster) has a wrist that he broke and will have surgery in the next day or so. He is out for the year.
(on Dexter McCluster not being able to catch a break this year)
Yeah it's been him or Kendall (Wright). We haven't had either one of them in six weeks, we haven't had them together, which obviously would help. But it is what it is. It's the NFL. It's disappointing. Dexter (McCluster) is such a good player, he's such a good leader for the team, he's so tough, and he's a threat. He's a threat to score and (you need) as many of those guys as you can have.
(on if Bishop Sankey will get another chance)
Yeah, we're talking about it, but I think that would be Bishop (Sankey)'s opportunity to come in and have a chance to play that role that Dexter (McCluster) was playing.
(on if he will use the two open roster spots to look at practice squad players or if he will look at players on the outside)
We're talking. We talked about it this afternoon. We're going to kind of just look and see what's out there and look at our own guys, but we are in the process of looking at it.
(on if it is important for Bishop Sankey to finish the season strong if he is given another chance)
I think it's important for everybody that's on this team to finish strong. I think everybody, including myself, everybody is being evaluated. This is really what you want to find out about your team, is when you're not in the playoffs, playing teams that are in or vying to get in, how are they going to play? How are they going to respond? How are they going to play against good football teams that we're ending the season with? Everybody is being evaluated. Bishop (Sankey) is no different than these other two running backs still being evaluated.