TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - August 13, 2017
I'll follow up a little bit from what I said last night, not far off from what I said last night. I thought our defense played winning football. Any time you can get stats like that in a game, holding your opponent to seven points, you should win a game. I liked the way they played, the physicality and the effort that they gave. Offensively, we made – again, that's why I have a hard time giving you, sometimes, direct answers until I've watched the tape a couple times. After watching it a couple times, it still was not good enough obviously to win a football game. There were less mistakes than I thought there were. The problem was the mistakes that there were, were critical and some catastrophic. Tough lesson from that, and that's what we've got to get better. Again, I think our special teams were better. We're better there than we were a year ago. We're faster, much more productive as far as making fewer mistakes. There are some good things that came from that last night. I'll say this again, as long as we play with that effort and that kind of intensity, we have a chance to win the game just like we did last night. We had a chance.
(on if the sack taken by quarterback Alex Tanney in his first series was due to running back Derrick Henry missing a blocking assignment)
No, it was not. That was a protection breakdown. Some of the sacks – where I'd like to address is the veterans. Our backs have got to do a better job in the protections, but that was not Derrick (Henry's). That was (Jalston) Fowler's. The thing was where we had breakdowns that created the sacks, we've practiced those things. We've practiced them, we've done them well. We've got to take them from there and execute them in a game and we've done that, we just didn't do it last night.
(on if there were mistakes made last night that are deeper issues than it is simply being early in preseason)
No, I think there's some things in that category that you can attribute to being the first preseason game. I think some of that is the two turnovers that we had with Alex (Tanney). That interception should never have happened. On that specific play if you don't get it out of your hands, then timing-wise that's a dangerous throw, and obviously it was for the interception. Just the ball security in the pocket. We had just said too, 'We're in field goal range, let's not make any mistakes down here.' Again, to have a fumble at that time, those are things in the preseason that you're learning from.
(on if quarterback Alex Tanney's interception would have been a touchdown pass if his timing was correct)
It could have been. If it had been one-on-one with space between the safety and (Darius) Jennings, yeah.
(on the benefit of quarterback Alex Tanney getting a high amount of reps last night)
I thought he did some good things, I think the experience was very good for him. The Jets have a good defense, their defensive scheme is very good. Got to give them some credit, too. But I think that he saw a lot last night, which was important that he did. I think some of our younger guys, when he was in there with our younger guys, had to throw the ball a little quicker than normal. I think it was good experience, there's no doubt. That's one thing he just lacks.
(on if quarterback Matt Cassel will play in the preseason)
Yes, he will.
(on his message to the second-team offensive line who 'picked up where the first offensive line left off' and had difficulty at the Jets)
Well, really the first offensive line had a sack. Other than that they were pretty solid, so I don't want to say one carried over to the next when it didn't. Again, this is training camp. This is part of the process that we're trying to build as we go through the training camp. It's Week 1 of the preseason and we've got a lot of young guys up there. I think (I was) asked last week how many guys have never been to an NFL game, well we have eight rookies who have never been to an NFL stadium in their lives let alone playing in one last night. That was good experience for them, they're going to learn from it. We've learned – again, as coaches we may make some moves as far as upfront with that second line, moving some parts there to make sure we're sounder in the protection.
(on what he saw from quarterback Marcus Mariota's playing time last night)
Well, purposely tried to get him out of the pocket the first play and liked the execution of it. Unusual for him to have a delay of game on him, again I think that's just part of the first preseason game. Just made a mistake there. He did a number of good things in a limited number of snaps we gave him.
(on if any specific rookie's performance stood out to him)
Yeah, Jayon Brown played a lot of snaps, he played really well. You can see his speed, you can see his aggression, you can see that he can be a core special teams player. Taywan (Taylor) made some plays, again he's got a lot on his plate. There's a lot he can clean up. He made a big play for us, I'm going to call on that and see if that was a touchdown or not. Josh Carraway outside I thought made some plays. Jonnu Smith had a winning grade offensively and special teams-wise. Here's another guy that wasn't too big for him, I liked him at the point of attack. I thought he did some good things blocking, which was really a good thing to see. Kind of working across the board there. (Kevin) Dodd had the second-most snaps on defense, he did some good things. I liked to see where he was physically in his conditioning, that he could play that many snaps. I didn't see really anything that really caused him to not play at a high level.
(on cornerback Logan Ryan)
Yeah, it was not a good early start for him. But again, this is the first preseason game. A couple of those balls—the first catch on him was tight coverage, thought he was all over him and the guy made a good play. The deep ball—obviously we don't want anybody to get behind us—but I thought he had tight coverage until he turned to look for the ball, which is what you've got to do. So there's no penalty there. Once you turn, that's where the separation is created, but up until then—. He gave up some plays. I like that he's his own worst critic, that's important. He'll respond to that.
(on how cornerback Kalan Reed showed up in the game)
Yeah he did. He actually played the most snaps on defense. Kalan (Reed) played good. He played very good. Really, if you think about last night, one of the best things we did better than coverage early on was our support by our secondary. We had some guys coming up and really—Curtis Riley coming up, Kalan Reed, Tye Smith. We have an aggressive secondary that likes to tackle. And you can see that already in the first preseason game.
(on if stopping the run game is rare for Titans cornerbacks)
No, I think that's an emphasis here—especially with coverages that we play. We have our corners in a lot of run support, so it's important that they can tackle. Adoree' (Jackson) had a big hit last night outside. I'm pretty happy with where we are with those guys out there. But they are involved in the run game more than other teams.
(on Jason Michael and how big the adjustment is to the new sideline rule)
That was last year. That was the first preseason game for the coaches as well. You're not allowed to be on the field.
(on how hard it is to get the players to come to the sideline)
It's hard. It's especially hard on 30-second timeouts. They've got to get over to you, get a message to them and get them back on the field. The hardest part, for me, on that rule is our special teams coaches. Especially with 90 guys on the sideline. They've got to stay on the sideline to put the players out in front of them. Other than one play—where we had 10 guys on the field—which I predicted the night before, that's the history of the NFL on the first preseason game. Some special teams units can have 10, and it happened. You don't want it to happen, but it's a process trying to get the right guys on the field in the preseason for special teams.
(on if he's looked back at defensive tackle Jurrell Casey's penalty)
I did. I'm going to find out the rules on that. I thought it was clean. I'm not sure what else he's supposed to do other than not tackle him. And I'll have a hard time telling him not to tackle him. But it's the preseason too for the officials. They're trying to go through their process just like we are. That was just a critical penalty. That was a critical penalty for us.
(on the injured players)
I'll go down and kind of just give you where we are right now. Mekale McKay with the hamstring—we'll be talking about him towards the end of next week. He probably won't practice against Carolina. DeMarco's (Murray) going to do more than he's done in the last week. Corey's (Davis) obviously still out but he is progressing pretty well. Demontre Hurst, again we're going to just see how he is tomorrow after he gets done with individual walk-through see how much more he can do. (Karl) Klug should be going tomorrow more than he has and he will probably be ready for Carolina practices. From last night--really came out of it pretty clean. Kourtnei Brown—hamstring—he's probably another week-to-week guy looking at one to two weeks. Beau Brinkley has a groin strain. He's probably out for this week—at least for these practices—we'll see where he is at the end of the week. And then Daren Bates had a couple of fingers pretty dislocated.
(on if he will have to sign a new long snapper)
We're talking about it. We're talking about it.
(on if there are any options for a long snapper on the current roster)
We do. Yeah, we do right now. Again, that's just part of the discussion if we need to make a roster move there or stay in-house.
(on how long linebacker Daren Bates will be out)
He was back in last night.
(on if linebacker Daren Bates will need surgery)
I don't think so, no. He's probably limited tomorrow as far as grabbing anything defensively or special teams wise—just grabbing jerseys. Pretty painful.
(on the decision to not play quarterback Matt Cassel in yesterday's game)
I think that was smart on our part. He'll be ready to go for this game next week.
(on if wide receiver Corey Davis has progressed from week-to-week to day-to-day)
No, I think it's still week-to-week. I think he is ahead of where he was, just talking to him this morning and talking to Todd. He stayed here all weekend and was in here all weekend, did a lot of work. He's really not feeling much pain, you just got to be smart with this kind of injury.
(on if the goal is to have wide receiver Corey Davis return to play by Week 1 of the regular season)
I hope it's earlier, obviously. That's why I won't ever get into how many weeks. You start telling people that's a four-to-six week injury, they start listening to you. I think everybody's body is different, it's how you react to recovery. I'll never put a time frame on an injury and I wish doctor's wouldn't.
(on running back Akeem Judd earning his spot in the lineup)
That was kind of the way we were going to play it out based on the snaps with him, after Derrick (Henry) came out, with (David) Fluellen. The rotation worked out, he hit a couple of runs, we hit a couple of runs we didn't call in the first half. He made the most of it.
(on running back David Fluellen)
I will say he had one of the sacks, he was part of that, but he did a good job last night. He did a good job in the protection scheme.
(on yesterday's game being a wake-up call for the team)
I made that statement last night and I'm going to stick with it. It was maybe good for us what happened last night. We'll see. Based on being around this team, and this offense and this defense, they're pretty good about responding.
(on if there's anything he has to harp on with the team)
No, I think they know pretty well what we can and cannot do. I'll go through a lot of this tomorrow with them and say it like it is and they'll respond, just like they have since I've been here.
(on Monday's schedule)
We have a morning walk-through, so there's meetings. We'll watch the game, we'll have a team meeting, we'll have a special teams meeting that will review the Jets game, we'll have offensive and defensive meetings that will review the Jets game. We'll have a walk-through that will partially walk through the mistakes from the Jets game. We'll have afternoon meetings that will lead into the night practice that we'll still install.
(on not feeling confident going into yesterday's game)
It wasn't the team, it was about the offense. If you look around the league, typically the first preseason game it's not very crisp offenses. I was hoping we would be different. I didn't think it would be to the point where we played as poorly as we did. I just wanted it to be different, I wanted us being in our second year knowing that when we got in the second half it wouldn't be as clean. I wanted it to be clean with our starters and with our veterans. That's what I was concerned about. First preseason game, the norm is not to play well offensively. Got to be better than that.
(on the high number of mistakes in yesterday's game)
It's a game, you can call it what you want. It can be a scrimmage, it can be a practice, it can be a preseason, it can be whatever you want to call it. When we go out to compete it's about going out to win. The positive, we have made less mistakes than we have been in first preseasons game. The negative is the ones that we did helped us lose the game. I give credit to the Jets by all means, it's a good defense, but we're better than we played last night.
(on the Jets' second and third-team defensive players)
I'd say it's a pretty good group. Schematically they do a lot of things, you've got a lot of moving parts against a young group, they get the advantage.
(on guard Josh Kline playing center)
Actually pretty good. I'm glad he got the number of snaps that he got, that was good. We'll do that again these next couple of games. I think that's important that we get guys that have specific roles that just in case we have a problem, it won't catch us.
(on the upcoming practices against the Panthers)
It'll be good. It'll be a very good competition with these guys. I think it's two very physical teams, very similar teams in regards to offenses and defenses the style of play and even schematically offensively with both quarterbacks ability to run the football. I think it's going to be good competition. It's going to be good for us to work against somebody else. It'll be good for us to work against a four-down defense. Special teams will get some good work against another unit. There's a lot of positive coming from this work.
(on if the practices against the Panthers will be live-action)
It's full pads, so it's live. There's no live tackling, but it's full pads.
The Tennessee Titans take on the New York Jets in the preseason opener for both teams on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 at MetLife Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones Photography, AP)