TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - Nov. 21, 2016
I'll give you a little injury update. Taylor Lewan has a knee sprain. He was evaluated and it's day-to-day. He does have the possibility of playing this Sunday. (Phillip) Supernaw—concussion. He's in the protocol. If we had a practice today, obviously he'd be out. We'll evaluate him as we go. I'll keep you updated on his progress. Actually, that's the extent of it right now.
(on if he is relieved Taylor Lewan's injury is not worse)
Yeah, I think if you watch the tape on it, it looks like it could be worse. I think we were nervous about it, but Todd (Toriscelli) felt pretty good about it last night when we were getting on the airplane.
(on if Taylor Lewan's injury is a pain tolerance injury)
**Yeah, and those are painful, speaking from experience. That's a painful injury.
(on if Marcus Mariota is banged up from the game)
(on if there were times in the game Marcus Mariota could have used his legs more)
Yeah, if he can. He's made some good decisions about getting out of the pocket, and obviously he did yesterday. He made some runs for us for first downs, but he's, again, going through his reads. No, I think he's done a good job making good decisions on when to take it and run. **
(on if Kevin Dodd was a healthy inactive scratch)
He's a healthy scratch. We had a discussion about the way he's practicing, the way he's playing right now—more of how he practiced last week. We need to see better from him in all areas, whether it's on the defense or the look squad. He needs to just pick his play up a little bit, and he will this week.
(on his review of the game after watching the tape)
Probably a little more frustrated just seeing some of the things we did. Just lacking consistency in a lot of things, not from previous games, but also from things in the same game—the consistency of when we have been, how successful we've been and not to have it for some reason or another. That's where I say a lot of that's on us coaches that we're not getting that out of these guys.
(on if this was the offensive line's worst performance of the year)
Probably not their best game as a complete line. I give the Colts credit. They came out and knew what to expect and delivered better than we did, especially early on. I thought we got better as the game went on, but early on, they sent an early message to us. **
(on if there is an abort signal on a punt return)
No punt should be fielded inside the 10-yard line by anybody.
(on Valentino Blake's tweet about his punt return)
**Irrelevant of what he was supposed to do, no ball is supposed to be returned or caught inside the 10-yard line. So I'm not sure what he tweeted. Again, I'm not on Twitter.
(on why he called a judgement-call play with Valentino Blake on the fake punt)
Really, the judgement is trying to get outside. It's not a really critical—I'm not going to abort a play to be aggressive, which we were trying to be to gain back a possession. I thought we'd get a first down, let alone I thought we'd get a bigger play out of it. If we'd executed the play better, we would have. I'm talking about the punt fake.
(on why he kept Valentino Blake in the game after the failed fake punt)
Because he's the fastest guy on our team, and the play was designed to get us a first down and maybe more. So that's why we went back to it. Plus, there's a trust level that one mistake like that is not going to make me—if I did that for every player, I'd have the whole team on the sideline. **
(on what his trust level is with Valentino Blake after two special teams mistakes)
(on what went wrong on the fake punt)Poorly executed. **
(on why he looks for explosive plays on special teams after struggles in that phase of the game)
It's some of what we're seeing on tape is giving us that impression. A lot of that is what we see on tape. We see vulnerability on the side of the opponent and a little more.
(on if he spoke to Delanie Walker after his penalty that took the Titans out of field goal range)
I did. Yeah, I told him that was a poor decision on his part. That's not like how Delanie (Walker) plays. That's not how he does things. He does everything the right way, and that was not one of them. It was selfish. I think a lot of it was frustration, but nothing's going to change. I've never seen a call overturned because a player or a coach got into an official's face.
(on if Delanie Walker was talking to an official or opposing player)
*It was an official. *
(on the holding call on Anthony Fasano)That's frustrating.
(on if it concerns him that an official with a bad vantage point called the hold by Anthony Fasano)
**That felt like that a lot yesterday. I wasn't frustrated as much about that but about when it was thrown. It was thrown when basically the play had been blown dead, close to being blown dead. It was the timing of it.
(on how he decides when to challenge a call and when to save timeouts)
We talked about the timeouts being more important for Kendall's (Wright) play. DeMarco's (Murray) play, I was actually down. I could see it with my own eyes whether I should challenge it. It was confirmed upstairs to save the timeouts, but I saw with my own eyes, as I saw Tajaé's (Sharpe) catch on the sideline being out of bounds. I saw it. I don't need to ask anybody. He was out of bounds. **
(on what went wrong on the final fourth-and-one play)
We need to block them better. We had hats on everybody, we just need to block them better. I feel like we have one of the best backs in the league, if not the best back, that we can get a yard on fourth down. **
(on why run the fourth-and-one play to the left after Taylor Lewan had left the game due to injury)
That's the way it's designed. It doesn't matter who's in the game or who's not in the game. It was blocked well at the point. Other places it was not blocked well. **
(on how far off he thought the ball was spotted on Kendall Wright's catch)
We're talking about that right now as we get into the game planning. We're just now starting the plan. I mean, I've looked at about a quarter of the Bears. I'm going to look at their personnel. They've had some injuries, as well, so we'll see. That will be discussed.
(on Jack Conklin's development)
**It's been amazing. It really is. To go that long as a rookie (without a sack), he's blocked some pretty premier pass rushers. It was a great move yesterday by (Erik) Walden to beat him like he did. I think he's played very consistent all year, both in the run and the passing game.
(on if there is a common theme between the slow starts on the road)
I'd say the most common theme is they're converting third downs and we're not. They're converting third-and-longs, and we're not converting third-and-shorts. That's one thing we pride ourselves in is third down, and we've been a very good third-down team offensively. I think we're a good third-down team defensively, especially late in games. But if there's a common denominator, it's the third-down converting, which we haven't. **
(on how Tajaé Sharpe and Rishard Matthews' consistency has been the last few weeks)
Well, they're working at it. I would have liked to have seen them be a little more consistent yesterday. Again, took a little step back as far as some of the route running. Took a step back in it, after watching the tape. **
(on which receiver took a step back in terms of route running)
Really, our group.
(on if Rishard Matthews' increasing numbers is a product of Kendall Wright receiving more attention from defenses)
**A lot of that, too, is Rishard (Matthews) was rotating with Andre (Johnson), so his reps have gone up significantly. He's got many more opportunities. I think Delanie's (Walker) had some more success and probably Kendall (Wright), but getting a little more single coverage has helped him.
(on if Perrish Cox not catching passes during practice to protect his hand would show up on the injury report)
**Really, he hasn't missed a play since the injury, so we felt like there was no reason. You know, he caught an interception last week with the cast on. That's why he hasn't been on there. Really, it was fourth down. All he had to do was bat it down and we get the ball.
(on if the coaches have contemplated a lineup change at cornerback)
We're discussing that, yes. **
(on how realistic it is for the team to win its final five games)
**It's not unrealistic, I'll say that, not with this team. This team believes in what we're doing. Like I said to them this morning, that's the beauty of the NFL. Every one of these games is like whitewater rafting. Anybody that's ever whitewater rafted, I've done the Ocoee 15 times and the ride's never been the same. It's a different ride every time you get on it. That's what Sunday's are to me in the NFL. Who knows what can happen the next five games. It's the hot team, the team that plays the most consistent is going to come out of this thing and be at the top. Is that nine wins? Is that 10 wins? I don't know. Right now, nobody knows what that is. I know this team still feels like we have a very good opportunity ahead of us.
(on how much he discusses the big picture with the team)
**I do at the right time, and I did this morning. Again, a lot of it relies on what other things are happening around the league, which is absolutely, totally out of our control. I've stated that pretty matter of fact. It's really about what we do. It's all about what we do and nobody else, not even who we're playing. It's about what we do, and that's been the case of the wins and losses about what we do.
(on if he is concerned the players will be looking ahead to the bye week)
I don't think so. If we weren't in this position, you could be concerned about that. I'm not concerned about it. They're going to get their time off. That's dictated by the NFL that they get their time off. I think this team, the way they work, it shouldn't be an issue with us. I think it's coming at a good time, actually. Now it's a good time. It doesn't feel like it, but right now, this might be a good time.
(on why Derrick Henry did not play many snaps)
A lot of it was predicated on the situation we were in. We put ourselves in a hole there. DeMarco (Murray), I think, is very good in pass protection, very good obviously out of the backfield, throwing the ball. We were in a little bit of a hurry-up mode there to try to get back a score to at least get into the game, so there was no game plan not to get Derrick (Henry) there. I'd like to get him in there. I know what he can do, but I also know what DeMarco's capable of doing in these games.
(on Aaron Wallace's performance)
He did, he played pretty good. He was in on two tackles. He's getting his first really special teams work. He's flying around. He's trying to do it the right way. He's a smart player. You can see he's trying to do what we're asking him to do.
(on if he is familiar with the Bears)
I have an idea. Again, I'm just starting to watch their defense. We do a little preview. I know about the team and where they're at and the injuries and who can possibly wreck the game. I know all that, but I want to sit down and watch the tape on them to get a fair evaluation of them.
(on if Jay Cutler still has a strong arm)
Still does and believes he can make all the throws and will try to get it into tight windows. A lot of times he does and sometimes he doesn't, and that's when we've got to be there. **
(on if he starts with his review of opponents by looking for potential game-wreckers)
Well, you kind of know beforehand. I mean, you have an idea. We haven't played a lot of common opponents that we've watched. I mean, we played the Vikings and the Lions earlier in the year. The Packers game is not a game we probably use offensively because of the different styles, so I haven't seen a lot of games against the Bears to have a good feel for them like I do, but I will, obviously, by the time we get done game planning tomorrow night. **
(on what having a 1,000-yard rusher says about the team)
Well, we're changing. We set out to change the run game. That's a compliment to our guys. That's important to them. Teams know we're going to try to run the ball, but it's a complement to our team, our offense after 11 games to have a guy like that. That's impressive, and I know Marcus (Mariota) is doing some good things with his numbers, too. We've got to continue to do those things to help us win.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11 action at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)