TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - August 28, 2017**
I'll give you guys an update on the injuries from the game. I think really, the only serious one, think I said it last night was (Jeremy) Boykins. He had a groin strain, he'll be out probably for this game coming up. Another one popped up, a little more serious than we thought. Brynden Trawick with an ankle sprain, he'll be out for the game. Aaron Wallace, again we held him out with the back. We're going to keep him out one more week and just let that thing settle down. Curtis Riley will probably be out with a hamstring still. We'll see (Eric) Decker. DeMarco (Murray) made it through fine last night. (Eric) Decker and Corey Davis, we're going to do the walkthrough with them tonight and see how they are tomorrow. Maybe start some individual with those two guys.
(on if wide receivers Eric Decker and Corey Davis have a chance to play at Kansas City)*
There's a chance. It's probably slimmer than most, but there is a chance. Much greater than it's been for the last three weeks.
(on how injuries at the wide receiver position have impacted game planning and roster decisions)
Any time you don't have – the one game we had our top four receivers not there, for the Carolina game. We still made it through. It certainly does affect some of the planning and I think it's affected us third-down-wise. Our third-down has not been where we need it to be. I think we're a very good third-down team and we haven't been this preseason. But it has thrown a little bit of a wrench into the planning, no doubt.
(on if he attributes the injuries in the receiving corps to anything other than bad luck)
It's part of the game. The injuries these guys have had – it's just part of it. Unfortunately, it's hit one of our positions more than any other position.
(on if he'll have to ease wide receiver Corey Davis in to game action during the regular season if he is unable to play at Kansas City)
Yeah, I think we would watch him. I don't think you'd see him play an entire game. Again, he'll have this week to get ready mentally and physically, hopefully get more reps every day. But then next week, we get an extra Monday practice which helps. He'll get four good days of practice next week, I'm almost sure of that. I think Eric Decker will be the same. That will help to get the extra day in there.
(on how much more difficult it is to ease wide receiver Corey Davis back in to game action given him being a rookie)
Much more. There's nothing like a game. Again, yesterday I can't tell you how much teaching will come off of that tape in all three phases, good and bad. There's just nothing like getting the rep in the game, there's just nothing like it. You can't replicate the speed out here of what's going on. Again, he hasn't had a problem in the limited practices that he's practiced in but it's not like a game.
(on if rookie wide receiver Taywan Taylor is more prepared because he's taken more practice reps than he would have if the receiving corps was healthy)
Yeah, I'd say that's true. I would definitely say that's true. Taywan (Taylor) again, there's things he still has – if we had some mistakes offensively, again you probably wouldn't see them from the naked eye. It's the younger guys, the double-poke-post, Marcus (Mariota) kind of overthrew Rishard (Matthews) in the endzone. If Jonnu (Smith) would have just released vertically he may have scored a touchdown. When he widened to go grab the safety, he made the window that much smaller for Marcus to have to fit it in. If he stayed where he was with his lineman, that window would have been this much – those are little things he's going to learn from. Probably won't do it again. He's one guy that when he makes a mistake, very rarely has he come back and done it again. Those are little details that you get from playing in games.
(on the incomplete pass that landed in between wide receivers Taywan Taylor and Tajaé Sharpe)
Again, another great learning experience. He (Taylor) should have kept that route high, you've seen that ball completed a bunch of times to our veterans. If he keeps that route high, that ball is going to drop right in his lap.
(on if wide receiver Tajaé Sharpe was the intended receiver for that incomplete pass)
He was the intended receiver.
(on if wide receiver Tajaé Sharpe was in the right place when that pass became incomplete)
He needs to run better than he did. He needs to clear it out. He's basically the clear-out guy.
(on how he'll handle cornerback Adoree' Jackson moving forward after his performance yesterday)
Again, the early part of the game obviously he got picked on with a lot of success. I thought it calmed down a little bit. I think once he got a feel for how fast things happen, especially your first game starting in the NFL, I thought he settled down and played better as the game went on. Again, he covered some guys, you didn't see that. You do see when he gave up some receptions, but I thought he got better as the game went on.
(on if there is value in struggling in the preseason)
I don't know. I've never been in – struggling and losing, and I don't know if there's anything – I know there's a lot of good teaching from this. I do know that. That's what this is all about.
(on if cornerback Adoree' Jackson will be the punt returner at Kansas City)
(on if he is OK with the team not stressing yesterday's loss too hard because it is the preseason)
I think they're frustrated, at least I got that impression in the locker room afterwards. We made too many mistakes. Again, the Bears didn't. We didn't play well enough, they did. Again, in this league you can't afford to do what we did against a good team that's playing well. They played well in the first two preseason games, they came out aggressively like they did in the first two preseason (games). Didn't surprise us, they've been that way.
(on if cornerback Adoree' Jackson will be the punt returner Week 1)
There's a good chance he'll be the punt returner.
(on cornerback Adoree' Jackson's punt return from the three-yard line against Chicago)
Again, that was a mistake. One of the ones I've been talking about that – certainly after our conversation on the sideline, I hope he doesn't make it again. We'll address it again when we get to watch the tape, just how the ramifications of one thing can lead to another thing, to another, to a catastrophic punt block.
(on if he'll give the starters a series or two at Kansas City to shake off their performance against Chicago)
That's not why I'm going to play them, no. That was my thought prior to this game. You're just talking about a couple weeks in between games. I know you get that in the bye week, I don't know if you need it in the preseason. That's the thought, again I haven't sat down with the staff to talk about it, but that's kind of the thought. One to two series.
(on carrying a 90-man roster into Week 4 of the preseason)
Everybody will play this game. Everybody will play in this game.
(on if the preseason games have been enough of a sample for him to select players at positions where there is competition)
Yes, I think so. I think we have a good feeling on that, yeah.
(on the challenge of teams approaching the fourth preseason game differently in terms of personnel to put on the field)
I think it's different this year with the 90-man roster. It's definitely – it's different. I talked to the staff this morning, there's some guys that haven't had a chance to play yet and I think they need a chance to play. They've earned the right to play in an NFL game and they're going to play this weekend. Everybody will play. Regardless of what the Chiefs do, that's out of my control. I know what we're going to do.
(on if he thinks it's different for wide receiver Taywan Taylor to get through holes when he's taking snaps at running back)
Again, those are the little things from the tape that – you know, we think he had the first down. Anyway, those are things – he needs to make a first down right there.
(on if wide receiver Taywan Taylor should have made the first down he fell short of)
Yes, you've got to make that.
(on if the remaining two weeks until the regular season begins is enough time to clean up all of yesterday's mistakes)
Yeah, definitely. We've had those in previous games and come back and cleaned them up, and executed very well. I'm not concerned with that.
(on the double handoff from quarterback Marcus Mariota to wide receiver Taywan Taylor and running back Derrick Henry)
Again, these are all things – you're talking about a young player. It's part of the process of learning the system. The play in practice is on the left hash, the game it is in the middle. You line up in the same place, so the timing of the pitch was not there. Just an adjustment that – he's got to learn to understand where the ball is and his alignment has got to change with the ball.
(on if that specific play was designed to be a pitch as opposed to handoff)
(on if it matters to him if guard Quinton Spain punched or slapped his opponent)
It doesn't matter, that's not acceptable. That's an expensive slap.
(on defensive lineman Quinton Spain's take on his ejection)
It's a violent game, that's the way it is, up until he whistle blows. Then it's over, get away from the situation. Not going to say it again. He may be getting hit with a fine, (it'll) be just what he needs, but that's not what we want.
(on how tackle Tyler Marz played in Sunday's game against the Bears)
He actually played pretty good. He actually played, to me, played better inside than he did outside. I thought he struggled more when we moved him over to the right.
(on if the team will be fining Quinton Spain for his ejection in Sunday's game)
I would never give you what we're doing internally, but I know the league typically fines getting thrown out of the game, being ejected.
(on if he has concerns with the ones after the first three preseason games)
No, not really. I think there's different circumstances compared to last year to this year. I know this, the three teams we've faced are pretty good up front in stopping the run. Without putting a big game plan situation type game scheme in, no.
(on using running back David Fluellen on special teams)
We've felt like he can be a good special teams player for us. I'm going back to last year, preseason. When he's had his chances on special teams, he's been a factor. We've always known that about Flu (David Fluellen), we just haven't had the roster spot to give him. That definitely plays into it. When this final roster is set, special teams will have a big part in why it is the way it is.
(on if any player on special teams benefited from outside linebacker Aaron Wallace not playing)
Not really, no.
(on outside linebacker Kevin Dodd's play on Sunday)
I thought he played better than he's played in the first two games. I have to watch the tape to see that. He was disruptive, he was much more physical, his conditioning has gotten better, his playing conditioning has gotten better. I thought he was better yesterday.
(on if preseason struggles have lessened the team's confidence entering the regular season)
No, I think they're a pretty confident group. If you go back to Carolina, just a short week ago, there's some pretty good things that happened in that game. The nice thing is I have a bar to show, if you play and execute this way this is what the results are, if you don't these are what the results are. I shouldn't really have to say a lot, they should see it themselves.
(on if the team took a step backwards this week)
My message Saturday night was we need to find a way to do it again. That's what good teams do, it's consistency. Just like a player, consistency is important in this league. That's what the most disappointing thing was, that we came out and did not play like we did a week earlier. We need to find a way to do that.
(on if the team was over confident entering Sunday's game against the Bears)
I don't feel that, I don't think so. Because of the expectations, I've been trying to down-play them. I don't think so. I think that's why you play these preseason games, to kind of get a taste of a lot of things. A lesson learned yesterday of things we need to clean up, and we have time to do it.
(on if the Bears game-planned more than the Titans did)
I think they're still, again I'm not going to talk about what they're trying to accomplish, I think they're still looking to see who their starters are as well. We know who ours is.
(on if it's fair to say that wins and losses in the preseason are overstated)
Pretty fair. We like to win them all, just like everything we do. When we compete we want to win. I'm always disjointed in a loss, but I also have to get over to get ready for the next game and this one is going to be on us quickly Thursday night, and they have to do the same thing and get ready to play.
(on how much of the nose tackle rotation is matchups compared to competition)
It's been more of competition than it is matchups. We want to give everybody a fair chance in there and see who's our best front when we lineup.
(on how defensive lineman DaQuan Jones played on Sunday)
I thought pretty good, I did. I thought he did pretty well. That's another line (the Bears' offensive line), I think they're a good run offensive line, pretty stout up front, and I thought he did pretty well.
(on if nose tackle Antwaun Woods was able to play at full-strength)
(on how tough this week is from a scheduling standpoint)
It's a pretty busy week. It's the first for me, playing Sunday and Thursday in the preseason. Having 90 guys on the roster this last game, it'll be challenging, but again that's part of this business, that's what you've got to do to get ready. Unfortunately we're traveling instead of being at home like the Chiefs, but that's not going to be an issue. We'll be ready to go.
(on if the weekly schedule for a Thursday game during the preseason is different than a Thursday game during the regular season)
This difference is during the season we probably won't go in pads tomorrow here, this week we will because of the time frame in between. Some of these guys probably aren't going to take some shots with pads for a while so I want to not kill them but at least get some work with the pads on, while we still can.
(on if players still have the opportunity to change his mind prior to roster cuts being made)
I think guys can always do that. To me it's always the last thing you see, the last impression. But that's a process we'll go through over the weekend, there's a time frame that we've got to do it. Jon (Robinson) and I have a plan for that.
(on how the weather in Houston is affecting Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk)
I think she's here for now, just because of the situation there. I talked to all the players yesterday prior to the game that may have some kind of situation going on down there just to make sure that they're ok, their mind is right, that they're families are ok. We have about five guys on our team that do have family down there. It is a concern for a lot of people, what's going on down there.
(on wide receiver Rishard Matthews being presented with an American flag prior to Sunday's game)
I was not aware of that, that's great. We had General Poppas from Fort Campbell, who's the commanding general of Fort Campbell, the 101st Airborne. We thanked them in the first quarter for bringing all the women up and showing them quite a day. We do have a good relationship with them, a very close relationship. I'm honored that I get to know them and know what they do for us.
(on hanging the 101st Airborne flag in the team meeting room)
Just to show that we are that close. It's important to us. We know what they do, and they're behind us as well.
(on if cornerback Adoree' Jackson will return kicks in addition to returning punts)
That's still in discussion.
(on outside linebacker Brian Orakpo's play at this stage in his career)
He's got a pretty good selection of pass rushes. He's a physical player. He can get an edge if he needs an edge, he can power you, he has multiple things he can do. I think he's got 42 snaps, he had 44 last year. Really the snaps are almost identical to last year, and they're two productive outside backers for us. He's always trying to find something (new), but he's got a pretty good assortment of rushes.
(on if he wants to keep a certain number of players in each position group)
I'll say this, special teams will have a huge factor in numbers at positions. And versatility. Can somebody play two positions? That will play a large role as well.
(on if he likes being able to retain 90 players on the roster through the fourth preseason game)
I definitely do. I want to get guys a chance to play. I know all these players are evaluated by other teams. My son is in Detroit evaluating every guy, he's there late. They (other NFL teams) evaluate every player on every play, we're going to play every body to get a chance to be seen on tape by other teams.
(on if they plan to make roster cuts a day ahead of the deadline)
We have a plan this weekend that we're going to follow through with. That's between Jon (Robinson) and I.
(on how hectic he anticipates this weekend to be)
I'm not looking forward to it. That's a tough day. You're telling some guys they're not going to play, obviously for the Titans, but they may never play again. That's a tough thing for me to do. With those numbers, I'm not looking forward to that at all.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Chicago Bears in Week 3 of the preseason on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones Photography, AP)