TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIP - September 2, 2017**
We're through the last couple days of the cuts, which has been difficult for obviously us and most teams across the NFL. It's not a fun two days to have to tell players that (they're) not on your team anymore. We're still in the process. The roster is not completely set yet, we're still in discussions on some things. But for the most part, we're moving forward.
(on what happened to wide receiver Tajaé Sharpe that caused him to be placed on injured reserve)**
He injured his foot again.
(on if Tajaé Sharpe's injury is something that will cost him the season)
Yeah. Based on our history with that type of injury, we just felt like this was in his best interest for his career to make sure this thing is right before we push him back on the field again.
(on if the injury to Tajaé Sharpe is the same foot injury he initially suffered)**
Yes. Not to the same extent, no. I'm not even sure surgery is going to be required, I haven't heard that word yet. But, enough to where we felt like better safe than anything to get him healthy.
(on if Tajaé Sharpe was ever entirely healthy from his initial foot injury)
Yeah, he was cleared. He was cleared by the best in the league, Bob Anderson.
(on if Tajaé Sharpe suffered this foot injury during the game at Kansas City)
(on how cornerback Tye Smith earned a 53-man roster spot)
He's made some plays in the preseason, not just in the games. He was very consistent in practice. Like his size, like what he did. Again, his value on special teams played a factor in his role on our team. He had a good offseason, had a good training camp.
(on how injuries have altered the receiving corps since the beginning of training camp)
Yeah, again that's the nature of the business. You never can rely that it's going to be the same when you start. It is different, we've got some injuries there. I think we're pretty well – again, we're still looking at the roster at a number of positions, that being one of them. We still feel very confident with where we are right now with that position.
(on who will handle kick return duties)
I'll let you know on Sunday.
(on if the higher number of linebackers and defensive backs means the team is deeper at those positions this season than in recent years)
Yeah, we are. Again, that is a change for us from previous years. We have some depth at those positions which is a good thing, especially at pass rusher outside. Also – again, I've been saying it from the very beginning, that special teams will have a big factor in how this roster is built.
(on how many linebackers can conceivably be active on gamedays)
Again, a lot of that will be – every week it's a discussion. Injuries will play a factor at other positions. I've got a number in my mind but it can change weekly.
(on if he feels comfortable with cornerback Adoree' Jackson handling kick return duties)
Yes, I do.
(on if it is conceivable that Adoree' Jackson will be the kick returner)
It's conceivable, yes.
*(on how defensive lineman David King fits into the roster) *More depth at that position, which I don't know if you ever can have enough at the D-line positon. Watched a lot of tape on him yesterday, Jon (Robinson) and I both did. Just felt good about his play, his pass rush ability. He obviously comes in from a 3-4 defense, can play end – can rush the passer on third down. You've got an every-down player coming in here, so that was good for us.
(on if he essentially brought in David King to replace defensive end Angelo Blackson)
That wasn't the intent. You can take it at that, but that was not the intent. We're just trying to add depth to that position on our roster.
(on if he's comfortable having three tight ends on the active roster or if he'd like a fourth on the practice squad)
I'm sure we will. That's typically a practice squad spot, is one of the tight ends. Even when we carried four we had one.
(on if wide receiver Tajaé Sharpe's injured reserve placement ends his season)**
That ends the year, yeah. In order to bring him back, have the ability to return to the roster, they have to make the active roster initially.
(on if he still thinks wide receivers Corey Davis and Eric Decker have a chance to play Week 1)
I do, yeah. Still feel that way.
(on how Corey Davis made out after increasing his workload)
Pretty good. Again, he's not going to get a full practice. He hasn't had one yet, he's going to be limited on Monday. I like that we have an extra day, I like that we're in pads on Monday. He'll gradually get to where he is going full speed, hopefully by the end of the week.
(on if the team may keep a third quarterback on the active roster or practice squad)
It's in discussion. Still in discussion whether it's adding a third or practice squad quarterback at this time.
*(on what happened to quarterback Alex Tanney that caused his placement on the injured reserve) *More than we had thought initially. He broke his foot, serious enough that we put him on IR today. Again, injured reserve is for the season so he will be around here for the year.
(on how guard/center Corey Levin stood out enough to earn a spot on the 53-man roster)
He's a player, to me, that when he came in here after the draft I thought he improved all the way up until this last game where he had extensive playing time. I think it was good to get the amount of guard work that he got done. Here's a guy now that you've seen him do both and you feel comfortable that he can do both. There's not a lot of guys in the league that can do both. His improvement is why he's on that roster.
(on cornerback Kalan Reed benefitting from spending last season on the practice squad)
Yeah, that's a good example. We've used that to some of the players who we've talked about coming back on the practice squad. Kalan (Reed) was our example of a guy that was patient, understood the process and worked hard on the practice squad. Again, when he's had his chances this offseason and this training camp, he's had some good snaps for us.
(on if outside linebacker Kevin Dodd will have to fight to be active on gamedays)
A lot of that too will be his value on special teams, yes.
*(on the decision to cut nose tackle Antwaun Woods) *Tough, really tough. Big discussion, one of the longer discussions we had. Again, that's a position, as the O-line is, that you don't have value special teams-wise where you can carry somebody else. Obviously, we'd like to get him back on the practice squad if that works out. Very tough decision with that one. He's worked very hard for us.
(on if defensive lineman DaQuan Jones will serve as the nose tackle)
He will have to. DaQuan (Jones) can do that, as well as Austin (Johnson).
(on if there are certain positions he thinks big improvements have been made on from last season)
I think a lot of that will tell when we get into the regular season. I feel that way, I think we all feel that way. Some we haven't had the chance to really see, obviously the wide receiver position. We haven't had those same guys on the field yet with DeMarco (Murray). It'll be good to see it all come to light at some point. Hopefully it's this Sunday.
(on the feeling of huddling the team up now that the roster has been cut)
It's time to go. Game is on. I already have that feeling, just those guys walking in the locker room afterwards. A lot of the guys that did not play I can see it in their eyes and the comments where they're ready to go.
(on how much running back David Fluellen's play on special teams helped him earn a roster spot)
A lot. Again, there's another guy that you have to use him as an example for practice squad. He's been patient, he's done some things on special teams even years prior to this that we knew he had value with that and now we just needed to give him a chance to run the ball. I thought he was very effective with all the carries he had. Special teams, that's a position that you like to have a guy contribute.
(on if David Fluellen is a legitimate candidate to return kicks)
He's in the mix, but I wouldn't say he's up (at the top). But we know he can. We have depth there, and that's something I know we haven't had that in the past.
(on keeping linebacker Nate Palmer over linebacker Justin Staples)
Another tough decision. Both guys (are) very versatile in what they do. Nate (Palmer) has really played well, probably the best I've seen Nate (Palmer) play since he's been here. Very tough decision to have to make there, but we had to go with one of them.
(on how much previous starting experience went into the decision to keep linebacker Nate Palmer)
A bit. Definitely it did. Nate (Palmer) had to because of circumstances with the rushers Thursday night, went in and did a good job rushing from the outside. He's got versatility.
(on if he still wants to add a quick back to the roster)
Still looking. (Running back Khalfani Muhammad is) possibly practice squad candidate that we could keep around here. We could do that.
(on if cutting rookies that were drafted this year is a reflection of a deeper roster than previous years)
That's probably a good sign, definitely a good sign.
(on what the next two days will be like)
I know our scouts have been, you're talking about close to 1,000 players being released over these two days, next three days. Just continuing to watch the waiver wire, they talk through each guy. All we're trying to do is if we can find a spot to improve our roster. We're still doing some things with our roster as well until the numbers are set, we're still working on it. The hard part is over right now, having to release all the guys we had to release in a short amount of time. That was very difficult to do with them.
(on if he anticipates keeping two quarterbacks on the active roster)
(on if new Titans defensive end David King can be a factor in next week's game against the Raiders)
I think so. We'll have to look at the numbers, once we go to our inactive list. Some of that will be, are we healthier? We still have some guys that are dinged up with Aaron Wallace and (Curtis) Riley. It'll come down to when we make some decisions on the special teams part of this game versus Oakland and see where he's at. Fortunately he's been in a 3-4 system, he just hasn't been in Coach (Dick) LeBeau's system. We'll see how quick he picks it up.
(on guard/center Tim Lelito being in a tough roster battle)
Yeah he was. I think the move to center, we know he can play guard, I thought he played better at center after watching him on tape. I like that he has all the starts that he has in the NFL. Like Jason Wolf mentioned earlier, starts had a factor is some of the decisions and that was the case with Tim (Lelito).
(on if he thought Tim Lelito played better at center)
(on if safeties Curtis Riley and Brynden Trawick proved themselves to him prior to being injured)
Camp is important, but I go all the way back to when they showed up in April. What have they done since April? Especially (Brynden) Trawick, he's shown to be more than a special teams player. They've shown enough that they won a spot on this roster.
(on if wide receiver Harry Douglas will be on special teams beyond being a kick returner)
In a limited role, yeah. His role would be an emergency, I've seen Harry (Douglas) catch a million punts inside the 10, and when you need that fair catch Harry (Douglas) has done it. But Eric Weems has done it as well so we have some depth there.
(on if he feels any position is particularly stronger than last season)
I do feel that way. We haven't, at least offensively, gone into a game full-strength with all of our starters. Lets get a game or two under our belt and let's see where we are, (where) are strengths are.
(on the difficulty in cutting wide receiver Tre McBride)
One of the tougher ones, it's definitely one of the tougher ones. He's such a competition, I knew it would be when he came in. You kind of have an idea who's going to hit harder than others. He's a competitive player and (it was) very tough to do that. Tough decision, had a lot of conversations on Tre (McBride) as well.
(on the difficulty of cutting wide receiver Eric Weems)
We like Eric (Weems). We're not done with our roster yet, we're making some decisions and we'd like to hopefully have him back if we can.
(on when he will first address the 53-man roster)
(on what his message to the 53-man roster will be on Monday)
I think I'm going to let me tell them, if you don't mind. I think I'm going to let them here it from me first, then I'll fill you guys in.
(on if there is a possibility that the team resigns Eric Weems)
There always is. Anybody we cut today or yesterday we can always resign as long as they're not picked up on waivers.
(on why Titans fans should be encouraged by this 53-man roster)
They'll be very competitive, it's a very competitive roster. It's a hungry roster. It's a very close team that wants to bring this city success. It's about as close of a locker room that I've been around, (and) I've been around a long time.
(on if the players have Sunday off)
They're off tomorrow.
(on what he hopes to accomplish Monday)
We'll install, we'll begin Oakland on Monday.
(on if the game plan for Oakland is done)
(on if the game plan for Oakland is close to being done)
It's close enough.
(on if he sees tight end Jonnu Smith being the second tight end on the depth chart)
I consider those guys, you can say he's a starter, I consider them all starters. We can start every game with Jonnu (Smith) and Delanie (Walker) or Jonnu (Smith) and (Phillip) Supernaw. They're all part of a starting lineup. There's no one, two, three. You have to list them that way, but I wouldn't. They're all starters.
(on if Jayon Brown is his nickel linebacker)
There's a good chance.
(on the challenge that the Oakland Raiders present this team)
They're a good football team, all three phases, good football team. The two games here have been close games. We're very similar teams, in my opinion. The team that makes the most mistakes, it's Saturday, I'll probably be saying this again Wednesday. I think they're very similar in style and even scheme. It'll be a good game, it'll be a very good game. Good football team, very good football team to open up with.
Here's an initial look at your 2017 Tennessee Titans!