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Coach Mularkey's Monday Press Conference Transcript



(opening statement)

I'll go ahead and give you an injury update. Really nothing from the game—bumps and bruises, but nothing that should hold anybody out of practice this week. Cody Riggs and (Da'Norris) Searcy should hopefully be ready for the game. We'll ease them back into practice on Wednesday. Al Woods may be another week with his injury. We should get those two back.

(on if Da'Norris Searcy will be the starting safety upon his return)

That hasn't been discussed yet. We're still talking about that. Again, I want to see him—just like I've done with so many other guys that have been injured—I want to see them full-speed in these practices and see where they're at.

(on how Angelo Blackson and Austin Johnson played in place of Al Woods)

They did some good things, they did. I thought they did some good things. Each of them made plays when we needed to have them made. The play that Austin Johnson made where he batted the ball—that could have been a bad play for our defense. There was nobody around the receiver. That prevented a serious play happening against us, so it was a big play.

(on if DaQuan Jones played most of the game at nose tackle)

He played majority of it, yeah. And he played well.

(on if Austin Johnson had not practiced at nose tackle)

No, Austin (Johnson) was going to get a handful of snaps, which he did.

(on if they like Austin Johnson more playing defense end or nose tackle)

That's the beauty of the guys we have. They can play either-or and can play them in the game, and you really don't lose a lot at either position.

(on if Marcus Mariota has one of his best games of the year in terms of decision making)

Yeah, he did. I think I said it yesterday afternoon. He made some good decisions on throwing the ball away. I thought some of the third downs were good decisions—quick, precise, we didn't get the first but we gained yards. Again, that's field position that our defense now gains. And then his decision to pull it down and run when he saw lanes—that wasn't like all of a sudden, we encouraged him to do it for this game. That's any game that he has a lane to run, take it. He had more lanes yesterday just with the way it unfolded. Again, they played a lot of man coverage. That's what happens when you've get man coverage. When you get guys out of their zones, there's a lot more space to run than a zone coverage.

(on if Marcus Mariota's runs were designed)

Were any of the runs designed? No, other than the one he scored on. That was a designed run for him.

(on if teams are playing zone defense to limit Marcus Mariota's running opportunities)

Well, I think that's one way of defending a lot of the things we do. The zone read—to go back on Paul's (Kuharsky) question—the zone read can be a designed run by him, and there was. Yeah, there was another one of those. Zone does give you some problems with that. We can counter it. We have answers for zone, but that is a good way of defending the zone read.

(on if having opportunities to run helps Marcus Mariota settle into the game)

I think he gets maybe more comfortable. I don't know. There were a lot of times yesterday we gave him some options to run based on the defensive front. A lot of those you saw—the play even with Derrick Henry that he split for 20 yards. That was what the defense gave us.

(on if Marcus Mariota made good decisions about ending runs before getting tackled)

Well, there was one in that last drive of the first half that he could have easily gotten out of bounds. We'd prefer he get out of bounds in that situation.

(on if they would rather Marcus Mariota slide or run out of bounds)

Well, we think, based on where he was, he could have gotten out of bounds right there. But he's doing a great job with the slide. There's no unnecessary hits on him. That's very smart on his part.

(on why Marcus Mariota was effective under pressure against the Dolphins)

The previous two performances didn't affect him. That's the way he is. He doesn't let things carry over into his play or games. They don't affect him. He puts a lot of pressure on himself. He ignores the noise out there that a lot of you would think puts a lot of pressure on him. I don't think it bothers him. I think that's the way he's been his whole career.

(on how Marcus Mariota carries his success forward)

That, again, just like the negative and the positive, he'll be the same. He'll be ready, he'll be prepared, he's going to do whatever he can to help us win, but I don't think either-or affects the way he approaches the game.

(on why the defense has increased its number of interceptions)

I think, obviously, better coverage, making plays. You know, that was a great play by J-Mac (Jason McCourty) yesterday. Those are things we have to have happen. Being in the right place where we're supposed to be and pressure certainly helps. Getting pressure on the quarterback—it all kind of plays in, all of them, all of those guys on defense—they all are pieces to the end results.

(on how Jason McCourty has wrestled away two interceptions this season)

Plus, it was a little bit behind him. It gave him the advantage of seeing the ball. They do these drills every day. Those are drills that our secondary coaches work and it's coming in our favor. A lot of times, it has not. It has, as of late, which is good.

(on if the coaches have done anything different with how they rush Brian Orakpo)

It helps to have a complementary—we have another rusher on the other side, whoever that is, whether it's (Derrick) Morgan or (Kevin) Dodd. It helps that you have another one that they have to take care of and be aware of. That certainly was the case last year, even with Derrick Morgan having the start he had at the beginning of last year. Plus, you know, yesterday they had some issues with their offensive line, which every team in the NFL does. There's guys that are not typical starters playing positions. I thought he took advantage of the situation.

(on if getting their first sack of the season takes pressure off of players)

Well, they know they've been close, especially Jurrell (Casey). He's tough to block, and he knows he's been close. Nothing has deterred him to keep bringing it. It was good to see him get a couple. Hopefully, that's like you get one, more to come. I'm hoping that's the case.

(on if there has been any drop off with Josh Kline)

He's played extremely well. He has had a tough duty, especially yesterday. There were some plays yesterday—we had some double teams in that game yesterday that you can't draw them up and script them any better than they doubled these guys out of there. He had a lot of pressure on him to perform, and he performed really well against that front.

(on if Josh Kline fits the mentality he wants on the offensive line)

Absolutely, yes he does. He's fit right in. He's smart, he's tough, he understands what we're trying to do. You know, he doesn't say a whole lot, he's a quiet guy, but he's playing our style.

(on if Josh Kline's performance is a surprise after coming to the team off of waivers)

It is, but he started some big games in New England. You just have to say they wouldn't have put him in there if they hadn't had the trust that you need to have in a guy in big games. He's really done everything we've hoped he would do. I mean, it was a very good pick up.

(on if Karl Klug has maximized his role in his snaps)

Yeah, (Karl) Klug represents what we stand for on this team. He is a fierce competitor, all-out every play. He's getting more snaps, and every snap he gets, there's nothing but all-out effort. Relentless—I wish I had all the words to describe—physical, this guy is very disruptive. He doesn't get a lot of credit. You know, he had four pressures yesterday. One, I think, caused an interception. He does a lot of things that people don't really see behind the scenes that are very disruptive.

(on if had a chance to review the punt returned for a touchdown)

I did, and again, that's why I like to sometimes see the tape. First of all, the punt was a deep punt to the right, and it was more of right down the middle, just off the hash. So now we're giving our coverage team the field to cover instead of the right side to cover. Coverage lanes could have been better, so we've got to punt it better and we've got to cover better and they've got to officiate the play better. I'm not changing my mind on the officiating on the play. It was not officiated very well.

(on if he saw two penalties that were missed on the punt return)

I saw two. I saw two holds, and I saw a push in the back on Jalston Fowler.

(on differences he has seen in the offensive line this year to create more success on the ground)

Well, we have some new faces in there. Jon (Robinson) has done a great job of putting some good parts to the O-line. I think Russ Grimm has been very instrumental in the way they play and the execution. We don't have a lot of mistakes up front. And I think what we do scheme-wise, we're giving our guys a chance to have a chance. We're trying to help who we can. I think we know what they like, and we're providing that for them.

(on if it is common for a new offensive line coach to change the mindset and production of a group so quickly)

I mean, I've coached with Russ (Grimm) in Pittsburgh. Since he came in—that was a new group—we were effective there almost immediately. You gravitate towards people that are good teachers, that are good people that care. They know that they're there for you to be successful, and it's important for Russ that they're successful. He just has a coaching style. There's no right and one wrong. It's just his coaching style is just what our guys, especially our guys—you know, we demand the tough, the physical players—goes right hand-in-hand with Russ.

(on how he helps the team understand the importance of winning at home)

I spell it out that we've got the Cleveland Browns Sunday coming in here, and that's all that matters. There's no way we're going to look beyond Cleveland, and there's no sense to. We have to start something. It has to start somewhere. Our first opponent is Cleveland on Sunday, and that's all we're going to lock into.

(on if he talks to the team about not paying attention to Cleveland's record)

Already been addressed, all been addressed.

(on how he approaches that topic with the team)

Don't pay attention to that. This is a team, they've been in the lead two times in the fourth quarter and they lost an overtime game to Miami. In the NFL, every game is a fine line of winning the games on Sunday. Don't let your guard down. Don't listen to things outside this building—we should do this, we should do that. We know what we have to do in here and not worry about what others are saying outside the building.

(on if last year's game against Cleveland is irrelevant)

That's what I told them today. This is a different team—two different head coaches, two different teams, two different schemes—everything is different from last year and the year before. There is nothing the same.

(on if he mentions to the team how the Titans have performed against winless team in the past)

As far as us, no, I didn't really bring it up. Again, I'm trying to keep everything in the now, what's going on with us today. Again, like I said, this team's beat us two times—there and here. That's irrelevant. That has nothing to do with what's going to take place this Sunday. Like I said, it's different personnel, different coaches, a lot of different things. That will have nothing to do with what takes place on this Sunday.

(on if they will plan for Cleveland's offense rather than a certain quarterback due to the Browns' injury situation)

Well, just the word that we hear just like you guys you do—(Cody) Kessler or (Josh) McCown could possibly be available for the game. I don't know if there's a whole lot of planning where it's

different one over the other.

(on if there is a reason Marcus Mariota has made some throws off of his back foot)

No, I mean he has done that. Some of the throws that have been errent, he has not stepped into them. For whatever reason, whether it's the rush or he sees a window that he needs to throw it right now—you know him, he's got a very quick release—and I've seen a lot of throws where he has thrown off the back foot and been very accurate and successful with it. He's trying to get it out as quickly as he can.

(on what team he sees right now)

A close team, a team that cares about each other, a team that likes to compete—a good football team. Not much affects them. I mean, it doesn't take a lot to motivate them. They are self-motivated. I think that's a lot of how are locker room is, filled with those kind of players.

(on if anything with the team has changed from the beginning of the season)

No, I think, like we've said, we were close on a couple of those games. We had a couple plays that did not go our way. We lost some games we wish we could take back, like most teams do that lose, but they know what we're capable of doing. Like I said, last week was probably our best week of practice—need to have that again—and I think that carried over on the field.

(on what happened on the blocked extra point)

We had some communication that we need to clean up. We were probably trying to do too much when we really don't have to, and more technique than anything on the right side. If it wouldn't have been blocked, I mean they had two guys that had a chance to block it. So we need to clean up the communication and then the techniques.

(on if Kendall Wright's limited catches were a result of the reads the defense gave)

A lot of that and we didn't use—you know, Kendall (Wright) is right now starting in the slot—and we didn't use that personnel grouping other than third down. And then, really, three of the third downs, we ran the ball with DeMarco (Murray). So he was not on the field as much as you'd think based on really how the game unfolded.

(on if Kendall Wright is still rusty)

Yeah, I still think there's improvement that can come from Kendall (Wright). He's still rushing some things yesterday. He rushed some routes again. Really, second game back, that's kind of natural. I don't care how many years you've been in the league.

(on if Derrick Henry played limited snaps in the second half because DeMarco Murray was playing well)

I think you answered your own question—or to take a guy out that's making things happen for your offense, moving the ball like you are. If we did anything differently, maybe at the end of the game when we were in the four-minute, get some snaps there for (Derrick Henry).

(on if he liked what Derrick Henry produced when he played)

I do.

(on if he plans to continue rotating starting snaps between Rishard Matthews and Andre Johnson)

Yeah, we're still talking about who that would be. Both did some things yesterday that were productive for us—obviously, two touchdowns, each with one. Rishard (Matthews) probably blocked as well as anybody yesterday in our receiver group. That's why we ran the ball so effectively. We had receivers block as well as they've blocked all year long. Their route running was better yesterday. A lot of things were better yesterday, and results were better because of it.

Titans players recap their Week 5 victory at Miami with reporters during Monday's open locker room availability. (photos: Gary Glenn)

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