TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - Aug. 14, 2016
(on the health of Tajae Sharpe)
He is doing well. He should practice tomorrow. We did a full evaluation of him and he had no symptoms today and should practice tomorrow night.
(on if there is anything Marcus Mariota could have done better on the throw to Tajae Sharpe)
The coverage really kind of forced Marcus (Mariota) to be a little bit late on the throw. Originally where the safety was and the coverage, the coverage was very deceiving, but for him to find him again and to be where he was, I thought was an outstanding thing the way it unfolded.
(on any argument with the hit on Tajae Sharpe)*
No. That is the one thing, he knew he was going to get hit and he made a big catch. That is what you want to see is guys making plays when you can possibly take a shot like that.
(on the performance of Jack Conklin)
I think he was solid in both of them (run and the pass). He got an up-and-under late in the second quarter where we got some pressure, but for the most part I was pretty pleased with Jack (Conklin) in his first time in an NFL game. I thought he was solid in both.
(on the performance of the first-team offensive line)
I was pretty pleased with it. I liked the communication and identification of the defense, where we were going with our scheme, run and pass protections. I liked their effort. I liked their physical play. They just had a thing about them, their demeanor was good on and coming off the field and in between series.
(on if Quinton Spain stays with the first-team offensive line at practice)
(Quinton) Spain stays with the ones.
(on the condition of Kevin Dodd)
I think we are running him a little bit more and more. Right now it is not about the X-rays anymore, it is about the pain. It is really about him and if he can tolerate it. I think we are getting close, I really do.
(on Josue Matias' injury)
He is going to have surgery. He has a slight tear of the patella tendon and he has had that surgery before on the same one. That is an IR, it's a six-month injury.
(on if Josue Matias had a good shot at earning the third tackle spot)*
He was playing well. The one thing about Josue (Matias) was he was versatile, he can play guard, he can play tackle. He was playing better and better at left tackle as we went along. He was one of our most improved guys that came from the offseason.
(on who the next tackle up is)
Well Tyler (Marz) out there, he again has improved. We moved Quinton (Spain) out there to get some reps at left tackle. We have some options, Jack (Conklin) can always go over there when we are talking regular season if we had to. We have some options and again we are still looking at the waiver wire trying to see who is available daily.
(on if Avery Williamson was the player who should have stayed outside to prevent the Chargers' long touchdown play)
No, obviously it was a blitz. Wesley (Woodyard) read it. He should have been on the other side. When you see somebody block, you add on to try to keep them in there, and he added in added in a bad place, obviously—left the back free out in the flat. I mean it's an example of if you're out of place, how detrimental it can be. Just one guy—it was pretty darn good coverage everywhere else.
(on what a victory means, even if it's a preseason win)
I mean I was proud of our team. I'm proud of the way that they are trying to buy in to what we're trying to do here. Hopefully that reinforces that we have an opportunity to be very competitive if we play at that level and we can do some of the things we've been talked about from day one. I'm happy for them because, again, like I said, we want to win in everything we do—in preseason, regular season, whether we're in here competing, whatever it is. We want people that want to win.
(on if Derrick Henry deserved the late hit penalty by the Chargers that was called off)
They were pretty adamant about it. They thought it was—I'm not going to question that.
(on if Derrick Henry will get less calls because he is a big player and hard to take down, similar to Steve McNair)
That might be the case last night. I'll find out if there's a pattern with it or not. They were pretty adamant that they didn't think it was a late hit.
(on if Tre McBride is better in punt or kick return)*
I thought he did some good things for us. I think there's some good things to learn from. I'd like to see him on some of those kickoffs run straight as fast as he can because when you're sitting there trying to find places, you're letting the coverage team converge and get on you in better angles. It's hard to tackle a guy that's running fast. Again, these are games that we're learning something from every day, but he did some good things. The punt return was good. He had a good kickoff return, made good decision, obviously caught the ball. He was good with ball security. I was trying to get (Kevin) Byard and Kalan Reed even in there on a punt late in the game. They would have been the next returners, so we'll probably get them more next week.
(on if Derrick Henry has the right feel for kickoffs when he leads the returner)
He needs to get a little bit quicker, too, because he put Tre (McBride) in a little bit of a bind. Tre was running up on Derrick (Henry). We've got to do a better job of Derrick moving faster so Tre has a little bit more vision, a little more room to maneuver.
(on if any defensive backs distinguished themselves in Perrish Cox's absence)
I thought it was good to see Brice (McCain) play after the ankle. I thought he played pretty well. LeShaun Sims is very quiet. Don't be fooled by his demeanor. He's a physical player. He's a good tackler, made some good tackles last night. I thought our secondary overall played well in coverage, but I liked the way we tackled. I liked Daimion Stafford—(he) was a force in the run game. I just liked the way we played in the secondary.
(on why Da'Norris Searcy played after halftime)
Rotation wise, just based on the personnel groupings we were using. Nothing more than that.
(on what he saw from Justin Hunter and Dorial Green-Beckham)**
A little bit of what we've seen in practices. Again, just a little bit of inconsistency. I think we made too many mistakes with DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham) early. I would have liked to see him have a chance to make that play on the go-route. I thought his release was poor which immediately gives you no chance on the deep ball. Justin had some chances. We tried to take a shot down the field. He fell down. On the one, I know his feet got tangled up, but he should have gone over the corner. Things like that—we've got to just again—talking about consistency, and they know it. I don't have to keep reminding them. They know that.
(on Dorial Green-Beckham's block on the long touchdown run)
All the receivers I thought blocked well in the run game. I mean I think when you rush for that many yards, you have to have guys blocking down field. I thought our receivers really blocked well down field. Huge block by Harry (Douglas). Huge block by DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham)—really blocked it well, technique and everything. I mean because those are chances to get holding calls on possibly big touchdowns. And just where their hands were and we keep telling them to drive their legs so when that guy does try to get off, it's not a hold—they all blocked well.
(on how big blocks impact receivers who might be on the roster bubble)
The one thing about not just the receivers but everybody, they're evaluated on everything from when they walk in here to when they walk out. The blocking part in this offense is critical, OK. It is. I'll tell you, it was Marcus (Mariota) who put them in that position for that play to happen. I've seen Harry (Douglas) do that a number of times, but Marcus started the whole process for that play to develop like it did.
(on how Marcus Mariota started the process for that touchdown run to develop)
Recognizing the coverage, recognizing where the threat was, putting us in the run. He was in charge of making the play call there. We were in a no-huddle situation right there. He put us in that play. Once we were in that play, he recognized there is a threat that could possibly be coming off the slot, bring Harry (Douglas) down here, take away that threat and see what happens after that.
(on how that affects his comfort with Marcus Mariota making play call decision)*
That's how far he's come. We have a lot of confidence that he's going to put us in the right situation.
(on if Bishop Sankey did enough to get earlier playing time in the next game)
We'll talk about the personnel, how we're going to play them again. I was really pleased with Bishop (Sankey). That was a big run, obviously—a lot of great cuts. The one thing about Bishop that impressed me was how physical he was on the other run. I mean you talk about our backs' yards after contact, it was really impressive of him getting the run that he did after contact.
(on if David Cobb will be ready to play this week)
He should be. We did warm-ups with him. We were just being smart with him. We've seen him with a number of carries and wanted to get these other guys an opportunity. So he should be ready to go tomorrow night, as well.
(on how comfortable he would be with Kevin Byard playing with the ones if necessary)
I'd feel OK with it right now. Again, it's early. We're still in training camp. We still have three games to play. It was a spectacular play, like the 19 (interceptions) he had in college. I trust him. But am I ready to put him up there with the ones to compete right now? Not so fast. I'm going to, again, evaluate, give him some more time. We're still in camp evaluating.
(on Brice McCain and Perrish Cox not being healthy at the same time to compete at cornerback)
I mean it is what it is. It's frustrating. You'd like to have those guys (as) bookends, and Perrish (Cox) was having an extremely good camp before he got hurt. But I'm hoping when the season starts, we've got those guys healthy, we're ready to go, and I think we will.
(on his confidence with playing B.W. Webb on the outside)*
I like B. W. (Webb). He makes plays. I mean he made some plays last year for us when he was thrown into the fire because of the situation we had at corner with all the injuries. He's good for us, not just there, but for special teams. He's a good player.
(on if the special teams penalties are typical preseason penalties)
We talked about them this morning. You know, the special teams coaches—that's a tough job with all the bodies on the sideline. Now that coaches cannot be on the field—new NFL rule—you've got to do all this from the sideline, which makes it much more difficult with 80-something guys on the sideline. With that being said, we also said we're not going to start making excuses for anybody. We made some poor decisions, some calls, things that should not have happened, that can't happen in games. We can't burn two timeouts for special teams play, especially for as many times as we reviewed the personnel groupings. So there is no excuse for it.
(on where the responsibility falls for special teams penalties)
First of all, it's with the coaches to know the situation. We had an error. We had the field goal team ready to go and a sack occurred on the play. Our field goal team was getting ready to run out there and really now we have to punt because now we're on the 41. Now punt team is within the 80 guys. That's a situation—I already told Bobby (April)—that's something I can do better in practice is put that situation into a practice to where you think one team's going out there and it's really in one play, in a matter of seconds, you've got to get another unit out there. So a little more difficult with all the bodies but still not acceptable.
(on the conversation with a veteran player like Anthony Fasano who gets a personal foul penalty at the goal line)
You can't do that. Everybody knows in this league, the last guy with the hand in the face is going to get called. I mean we've talked about being a physical football team. We've also talked about being a smart football team. Nothing after the fact, nothing after the whistle, nothing dirty—that's not who we want to be or who we are. I appreciate his effort, but there's a limit of when that effort's got to stop.
(on how Antwuan Woods performed)
He started slow. I just watched the tape before coming in here with Coach (Dick) LeBeau, but I thought once he settled down a little bit, which is again the rookies, I thought he played well the more he played.
(on if he saw a noticeable difference in physicality on both sides of the line)
Yeah, I thought we sustained it. I thought it didn't matter who the rotation was, who was going in when both of us started to substitute the players. I just thought we sustained it, and sustained it longer.
(on if he was concerned that the Chargers were able to convert on third down so well on the first drive of the game)*
I'm not going to -- one drive, or one play, one third down -- you don't want any third downs, third and longs especially, but again this is why we're doing these preseason games -- to learn what we have to do better -- who's got to do it better. Is it a call? Was it a good call? I mean it starts from everything, from the call to the execution of the play, and you know it helps us get ready to clean it up and move on to the next game.
(on how much you hide when you know you're going to play the same team later in the year)
Again, these are not game-planned games. These first couple games, these are things we've been doing out at practice. There will be another plan when we play them again. This is a unique deal with three games, three teams playing them again in the regular season. So, we're not going to show a lot.
(on how you evaluate Derrick Henry's performance when he's playing against two's)
I don't factor that in. I just wanted to see his vision, and is he going to lower the shoulder, is he going to do the same thing he's been doing in practice. Is he going to make some plays that aren't there? I don't factor who it was against. I mean, this is the NFL -- they're pretty darn good players throughout, so there's no factor, not at all.
(on seeing that Derrick Henry had east/west footwork agility in addition to north/south)
Yeah, he made a lot of those. A lot of those runs -- again, for the whole night for all the backs -- but for him, it was nice to see that he has the ability to jump cut and make things happen outside and really outrun defenders. I think a lot of those plays were not just the backs making plays, but it was also people upfront sustaining blocks and staying on guys and receivers blocking at the second level. I think that had a lot to do with plays that are designed to hit somewhere, and go somewhere else. If they go somewhere else, we need people blocking there, and that was the case.
(on what changed for the offensive line)*
Coaching. Russ (Grimm) has come in here. Scheme is a little different, what we're doing. We've added some new additions up front. Obviously, the backs back there have a difference in it. We have to be able to call the runs, it's called a run game. It's a lot easier to call the game when the run game is working and functioning like it is as a play-caller.
(on what he expects to see from Andre Johnson moving forward)
We'll probably play him about the same number of reps. Again, we haven't gotten into that situation -- who's playing up to what point. I would think -- that's one thing about him when you think about it, I'm sure he's had practices off and taken some. Here he hasn't taken any time off. He practices, he does everything that the receivers do. We do monitor his reps, but we would like to keep him fresh so he has the ability to show what he's capable of doing in these games. So probably same number of snaps, and pull him back a little bit in practice.
(on how Kendall Wright's injury has affected the other receivers during practice)
We move forward -- we have to keep moving forward and now these slots -- Harry (Douglas) and Tre McBride and even the tight ends that now have to play slot are getting more reps to see what they're capable of doing.
The Tennessee Titans kick off the 2016 preseason against the San Diego Chargers at Nissan Stadium. (Donn Jones, AP)