TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - Sept. 26, 2016
(on an injury update)
I'll give you all an injury update from yesterday. Da'Norris Searcy, he has an ankle sprain. He was probably the most severe injury that could keep him out this game coming up. (Derrick) Morgan made it through good in the game. (I am) pleased with that. And (we) should have Delanie (Walker). I'll say this, we should have Kendall (Wright) going full-speed on Wednesday and Delanie hopefully no later than Thursday working. Other than that, some bumps and bruises. We'll look at how some guys are and give you more updates on Wednesday.
(on the benefit it would be to have Kendall Wright back in the lineup)
I think it would be good to have Kendall (Wright) and Delanie (Walker) back in the mix if we can do that. Kendall had a good week, especially at the end of the week. I think there's no limitations on him come Wednesday. I mean he's going to take the reps full-speed for three days, which we've been talking about from the beginning. Delanie may not be at full go on Wednesday. I'll know more on that as these couple of days go by.
(on what allowed the offense to drive down field on the final possession)
A little bit of different coverage wise. We had four wide receivers in that set. We hadn't really gone two-minute in a four wide receiver set, and a lot of that's because of the injury to Delanie (Walker). So we had four wides out there which kind of opens up a two-minute drill. They're protected the lead on their side and we had some guys earlier in the game, we had some mistakes running depths on routes, running the right routes. We ran the right routes in that last two-minute drill.
(on why they did not go into the hurry-up offense sooner in the game)
That was a two-minute mode. It's two-minute for the defense, as well. I can't promise you that that's the case (with the defense). What comes with that, also, is that you're leaving your edges wide open. Everybody's kind of exposed in protections, so I can't tell you that's the way they're going to play their coverages. I know we here have a two-minute plan when we have the lead, and I'm not sure, I can't tell you what they have.
(on if they need to find a way for the offense to get into a rhythm earlier in the game)
Yeah, you know, we tried. Actually, we went into the no-huddle, which we've had a lot of success really in these, included the preseason games. We knew we weren't in a rhythm. That has gotten us into one. That didn't even pull us out of it. A lot of it, too, was because of situations—negative plays. Not just penalties, but we had some mental errors. Not mental errors that just hurt us gaining yards. They were mental errors that made us lose yards. Some those runs you saw, some of the things that happened for negative plays, those were errors on our side.
(on if he had a change of opinion after reviewing Taylor Lewan's penalty)
I didn't. I watched it. I listened. The whistle—they're all three, actually the Raiders guy who's also going in there to hit Tajae (Sharpe) one more time, (No.) 53, they're all going before the whistle. They're in mid-flight when the whistle blows, so there's no way you can control it. (If) they're trying to be protective of the players, then they ought to blow the whistle earlier. Ben (Jones) was just at the same time as Taylor (Lewan). Taylor got called for it but Ben was right next to him, and neither one of them—like I think I said last night—neither one of them hit anybody other than their own teammates.
(on if he wants Taylor Lewan to make a judgement before jumping on the pile)
I think they saw one of their defenders going in there and taking a shot on our player. I think they saw their guys still tackling our runner. They're listening for a whistle and they're looking for what the Raiders are doing. They're still tackling this guy, and they're coming in late on the hit. They're going down there to protect their teammate.
(on if he wants players to have that mindset)
That is our mindset, OK. Again, we're not preaching them to be dirty. We're not teaching them to do anything after the whistle. That's never been talked about. Actually, I'm adamant about them doing things like that. That was a judgement call on the officials. It was not good timing, but I'm not going to take our aggression away. They need to blow the whistle. If they think the runner's down, then they ought to blow the whistle.
(on Taylor Lewan arguing with the officials after the game)
That's definitely not acceptable. They were very frustrated. There's a lot of frustration on the sideline. That's the emotions of the game, and that came out with some of our guys, but that's absolutely not going to be tolerated with the officials. I'm the bad guy when it comes to the officials, not our players.
(on the offensive pass interference call on Andre Johnson)
Again, I saw things a little bit different. You could argue the fact with Dre (Andre Johnson). A similar play happened on the very first play—their offensive snap with their receiver on the go route. It's the same penalty. All I'm looking for is consistency in the calls. That's all we're looking for. And again, we didn't lose the game because of the officials, OK. We have to coach better, we have to play better and I think they have to officiate better. But I think all of us have to do things better. I just want consistency when it's all said and done.
(on if he thinks there was defensive pass interference on the final play)
Again, you could call it like it is. There was restriction, but again, a lot of those calls are judgmental calls.
(on what allowed the Raiders to score quickly near the end of the first half)
Other than the missed tackle there at the end—you know, we had some missed tackles. Third down was not good at that point. I thought when we ended the day, I thought we were good on third down. We call the coverage that puts our guys in one-on-one with really no help over the top. They have to make a tackle. They know the ball's got to come out quick because they all know the Raiders don't have enough guys to block all of our guys, so they realize the ball's going to come out quick. They've got to be ready to make the tackle when that happens.
(on the balance for Marcus Mariota between keeping plays alive and trying to do too much)
Yeah, you've got to be careful with it because he is so good at that position. You don't want to restrict him and what he's capable of doing. I didn't see a lot of him trying to do too much yesterday—maybe on the run where we had the fumble. I know what he's trying to do. I know he's trying to get to the line, but again, we've been pretty thorough about ball security with him when he gets outside the pocket. That's a tough lesson, again, to learn. We're going to stay on it until he starts doing it. We're going to stay on him about it, but those are things I see him trying to do more is when he's got the ball in his hand.
(on if he is confident that the offensive scheme allows Marcus Mariota to develop as a quarterback)
We are very confident in that, yes.
(on why Marcus Mariota's touchdown-to-interception ratio is worse than last year)
I think it's a combination of a lot of things. I would like to see our receivers help him out and make some plays on contested balls, like I see across the way. That's one. I think maybe earlier, with the interceptions, it was a little bit of trying to make something happen because he is confident in his ability. Again, I'm not going to take anything back from him. He's made some of those same throws and completed them. But yeah, we're very confident in what we're doing.
(on how Josh Kline performed in his first start)
He did well. He did very well—both run and the pass game, he did very well. There were a couple shots there that his effort allowed us to get the ball off.
(on why they allowed the clock to run at the end of the first half when the Titans were on offense)
On that last play? We were trying to hit chunks. We were. We were trying to hit chunk plays because of the time left.
(on if there was an opportunity to take timeouts instead of allowing the clock to run)
There was one opportunity to take a timeout, yeah. The next play was not a shot down the field. The next play was let's see if we can get more of a controlled possession pass and then call a timeout.
(on how Jace Amaro performed and if he could be on the field with Delanie Walker in the future)
I thought he did well. He made some plays. The first third down, the only third down we converted in the first half, he made a great catch. He had a couple other catches, got over the top of these guys, did a great job of concentrating on the catch. He had a couple errors that he was another primary receiver that being new, just made some mentals. But (we) haven't gotten that far. We've got to look at the roster spots and what he's capable of doing and what we do offensively on where we get that spot once Delanie (Walker) comes back. Obviously, we look at all of that every week.
(on if he intended to go for two points if they had scored at the end of the game and why)
Yes, I just thought we were six feet away from winning the game. I told them when we started on the 20, I told the offense before they ran out on the field, when we score the touchdown—which, we were pretty confident we were going to go 80, which our team is very confident in our ability to come back—I told them then that we would go for two.
(on Tajae Sharpe's development)
I think he took a little bit of a step back yesterday. He has been playing consistently really well. We targeted him early in the game. I think some of the things, for one reason or another—depths, his releases on routes, some of those things—I thought he took a little bit of a step back. We tried to get him the ball early.
(on why he thinks Tajae Sharpe took a step back)
I don't know. I don't know if he's pressing or feels like he has to make—you know, we put a little pressure on him. We were going to try to hit a go route on the first play of the game if they gave us the coverage. He knows we're trying to get him the football.
(on how to open up the run game when offense is struggling to have a deep passing game)
I think we need to complete some more balls down the field. Again, we know it as well as you do that we haven't had a lot of success with it for one reason or another. We've either thrown them and they've been interceptions or we've been sacked on them or they've been incompletions like they were yesterday to Andre (Johnson) or there's a bust in the protection. For one reason or another, we have not had a lot of success getting the ball down the field and giving guys a chance to make plays. But we will continue to do that. They're in every game and they're called. There are at least six called every game.
(on what defines the deep shots that are called)
Circumstances, situations in the game—down, distance, score.
(on if deep shots are defined as being thrown in the air a certain amount of yards)
(on the need for the defense or special teams to give the offense a short field when the offense is struggling)
Well, field position these last two games has not been very ideal for the offense. Again, in giving the ball to them where we've given it to them in the turnovers has not been very ideal for our team. Yeah, I mean I think every unit has to complement each other. We need big plays from all units to help win these games. With all the things we're about, we still had a chance to win the game yesterday.
(on if DeMarco Murray appeared to get stronger as the game progressed)
Yeah, he looked like it. He's such a competitor. He didn't want to come out. He wanted to keep running the rock. He did a lot of things for us—again, catching the ball out of the backfield—but he's a competitor.
(on if DeMarco Murray is a more well-rounded player than they originally thought)
I'd have to say yes on that. I would. Rarely do you get to talk about a guy that can protect like he can, but his ability to protect has been outstanding. And the plays he's made down the field—not just the short chunks out of the backfield, they've been down-the-field plays—he's been very good.
(on the challenge of improving tackling during the season)
Well, you know, that's the problem when you're in pads once a week. You still have to drill it, but you don't have a lot of time to do it. That's something that you're hoping is fundamentals that you've been doing since you've been a kid. But to me, you still have to work on it, which we will.
(on the attempted screen play to Harry Douglas when DeMarco Murray was in motion)
That was a mental mistake by DeMarco (Murray). It was supposed to go the other way.
(on Perrish Cox's development)
I think, first of all, he's facing some pretty darn good receivers these last couple weeks—really good receivers. I think you'd like to see more plays on the ball, because you see some plays that he makes. That one play over there on their sideline where he stripped it out on the catch—we need to see more of those from him. I think we can get better there.
(on the angle Brice McCain took on the Raiders' touchdown play and if he could have prevented the score)
Like I said, with that coverage, there is no help over the top, so he knows his only friend is the sideline. So his angle to keep that receiver from getting back to the field, all he's got is the sideline to help him. It's just really a matter of the angle he took, knowing, again, like I said, we have more guys blitzing than they can block, so the ball has got to come out quick.
(on why Kevin Dodd took more snaps than Derrick Morgan)
Just being smart so we have Derrick (Morgan) for the whole season and not overload him, not overload his injury.
(on how Taylor Lewan performed, rather than his penalty in the fourth quarter)
Really good. Very good.
(on how Taylor Lewan has played the first three weeks)
He's played extremely good. I mean, run and pass, he's played very well.
(on Taylor Lewan's struggle with drawing penalties)
I know he doesn't mean the false starts. I mean that's really what he's had are the false starts. He hasn't had as many of the hands to the face as he had his first year in the league, even last year. It's little things that creep up with him that he's not purposely trying to do. He has played well, even with the penalties. He has played really well for us.
(on Quinton Spain's performance)
You know, he's another one. I'll mention that. He's got a knee that he may be limited on Wednesday, now that you brought that up. He's playing well. He played well yesterday. Again, he had some loads in there that he had to block.
(on what stands out about the Texans heading into the week)
I've really only had a chance to watch their defense because of the day. The scheme—they're good. They're good on defense. The scheme, the personnel that are playing the scheme and the effort from that personnel is very high. So they've got a lot of things going for them on the defensive side of things.
(on if J.J. Watt appears to be the same player he was in his return from back surgery)
Yeah, you've got to be aware of where he's at. He's still getting free on a lot of these—I mean, the arm over, his patent move, is still there. Yeah, there's a lot of J.J. Watt still there.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Oakland Raiders in Week 3 action at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)