TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - August 20, 2017**
(on how the team fared with injuries after playing the Carolina Panthers)
Good. I think Jalston Fowler, I think it's not as serious as we thought. Good chance he may have a chance to play this week. Obviously we'll see how that progresses during the week, but good with that. Akeem Judd with the thumb, nothing serious there he should be fine for the week. That was really it, just some bumps and bruises. The norm for an NFL game.
(on how he as a coach addresses inconsistency in game performance)
Well, it's pretty easy. You show them – like I did last week – that if you don't do it right, the results. This week, you do it right, the results. Pretty easy to show, pretty good teaching. But, I think anybody that has any common sense will see if we don't self-destruct and do some of the things we did, not what the opponent did, we can have good results. So, that's what you've seen these first two weeks.
(on the offense's run blocking in yesterday's game)
That's a good defense, I'm sure you're clear on that. Very good defense. They have one more guy always up there than we have to block. Again, those are the kinds of games you're going to get one-yard, two-yard, three-yard, bang. One-yard, two-yard, bang. That's the nature of the beast when they know you're going to try to run the football. But I like the way we stuck with it. 37 rushes – if we run the ball 37 times we're going to be winning another game. So, I was pretty pleased with it. I really liked how physical our guys were upfront. Our receivers blocked probably better than they've blocked any game since I've been here, they were very involved with the run game. I like some things that even our tight ends – you know, Jonnu (Smith), blocking big defensive ends. When you play a four-down front, now your tight ends have to block their ends and I thought he did a good job with that. So, I was very pleased with the run blocking.
(on if rookie tight end Jonnu Smith's two penalties are part of the learning process)*
Yeah, he ran a lot of snaps. Some of them, you had a long drive there. The one thing about him is he's not going to come out. We asked him, 'Hey, do you need a blow on special teams?' after that long drive. He said, 'That's one thing you'll never see me do, is come out of a game if I don't have to.' So, I like that.
(on if he was encouraged by rookie wide receiver Taywan Taylor's performance)
Yeah, really that first play decided – not far from just getting to the locker room, I've seen him run in-cuts and one-on-one and be very successful with it. I thought this would be a good chance for him to see if the play is designed to go to Delanie (Walker) and Delanie is not open, he's being covered by the free (safety), that ball has got to go back to the in-cut. I've seen how many times he's won and again, a lot of stuff that comes from practice transfers right to the game in my mind. The thing I liked about it was he didn't know he was going to start the game until literally an hour and a half before it. Then to come up with that play was big.
(on if he anticipates rookie wide receiver Corey Davis playing in the final preseason game)
On track to do that if he continues to progress like he is. I think he's ahead of schedule with that.
(on the injury to wide receiver Eric Decker)
I think if we went into this game I'd say questionable. There is a chance – again, he's moving around better than he has. There is a chance he'll play this week.
(on the importance of rookie wide receiver Corey Davis taking live preseason reps)
Obviously, it would be really good for him to get into one, but we want him for the season not for a preseason game.
(on revisiting wide receiver Tajaé Sharpe's status on PUP)
Tomorrow morning we're going to revisit. We're going to take him out for a good workout and then discuss what we want to do with him. But, he looks real good. Tajaé (Sharpe) has done everything above and beyond what we've asked him to do to come back from that injury.
(on if he feels like the receivers have stepped up their individual game due to the injuries at the position)
Yeah, I mean Tre McBride, let's not take away from Tre. Tre played a good game yesterday, with the exception of the dropped touchdown. A couple things in the run game, I was pretty pleased. Again, that was kind of a short notice of telling him he's going to start based on the play, based on the hash of the play we were going to run. But, I thought he did some good things. I thought our receivers stepped up and did some good things yesterday. Made plays when we needed to make plays.
(on if wide receiver Tre McBride needed to run through his dropped touchdown pass)
Yeah. Just run through it, go catch it and hand it to a kid in the stands. Would've been perfect.
(on the performance of and penalties called on the special teams unit)
Yeah, the penalties are – they killed us. We could've had – if you looked at their starting point, at (halftime) I think it was a minus-12 where they started. We were at the minus-42. Those five penalties made a big difference, in really field position. Other than that, I was very pleased with our special teams. The coverage was outstanding, you can't block all the guys now that can make plays. It showed up yesterday with, we had five tackles inside the 20 on special teams. That will win games.
(on the importance of safety Da'Norris Searcy on special teams)
Very. Very and it's important to him. He knows that, he likes that role. He likes being able to play on special teams. He made some plays for us.
(on if rookie cornerback Adoree' Jackson should have stayed in the endzone on his kick return)
Yes. Again, that's why you're doing this. It's exactly why, we want him to stay in there.
(on how wide receiver Tajaé Sharpe will fit into the receiving corps if he's activated off of PUP and all receivers are healthy)**
He'll just work in the rotation out of the X-receiver where he's at. Again, that's where (Eric) Decker is playing, so you've got another guy out there to take snaps out there. He'll just rotate in. Again, we're not going to go into a full practice with him taking a gazillion snaps. We're going to make sure he's ready to play Sunday when we play, but be smart about it.
(on if wide receiver Rishard Matthews will return to practice tomorrow)
(on how he thought the defensive backs played in yesterday's game)
I was happy with them. I thought we had tighter coverage, still some things we need to work out. Their depth in some of the coverages, but I like how physical our DBs are. Our secondary is a physical bunch, they take pride in it. I thought they played well. That first play was a big play with Logan (Ryan). Again, clinic tackle wrapping, using his arms to knock the ball out. Instead of saw tackling, he used his arms and that's where turnovers are created.
(on safety Kevin Byard saying he wants '10-12 turnovers' this season)
I told Coach (Dick) LeBeau I'm expecting two turnovers in the first three drives every game. That's what it's all about. If you don't see that, if you visually and can't believe that we can do that, then the odds are less. So, I like what our mindset is, I do.
(on tight end Jace Amaro's blocking in yesterday's game)
He's improving. He's trying, that was a big game for him yesterday to see what he could do on special teams for us. He was down there, he's one of the first guys down on kickoff. That's going to be important when it comes to making some decisions, how the special teams play into it.
(on if he was happy to have the frontline defenders take limited snaps in yesterday's game)
I am, based on how many they had Wednesday and Thursday against their frontline. We had plenty of snaps Wednesday and Thursday for our defense and those snaps were all productive. A lot of it was not just the number, but how productive they were. I thought, especially defensively, we had plenty of snaps. That was kind of the case – we knew that going into the week.
(on rookie cornerback Adoree' Jackson's development as a defensive back)
Well, he's got skills. I think I said at the press conference last night, that open field tackle was good to see. Every play is going to be good experience for him. We need to get more with him, but I like what he's doing. I like what he's doing in special teams as well, the punt return was big for us. He's coming along very well.
(on how rookie cornerback Adoree' Jackson could push up his position on the depth chart)
Just keep competing. He may get some more snaps this week. Again, we always will talk about rotation, who's starting and who's playing, and how many reps. We'll do that towards the end of the week. He'll have a chance to compete for a job, he's still competing.
*(on if there is an expected time for a first-round pick like rookie cornerback Adoree' Jackson to be ready to start successfully) *No, it doesn't matter when they're picked. There's no more when they're picked, it's about competing.
(on outside linebacker Kevin Dodd's performance yesterday)
I was pretty pleased with him. He's a powerful man but he slipped some blocks, I thought that was something I hadn't seen from him. Getting off blocks, he was around the ball a bunch. Just the play that they broke contained with the quarterback, for him to come over there and make that play, I mean, he was running. Really running. Some of the things he's just got to get more comfortable with is in coverage. Fullback in the flat for the big gain, that was his guy. Those are things that again, come with repetition and getting practice.
(on if it's important for the team to have games on national television)
I don't know if they even think about it, I didn't even know it was on national TV to be honest with you. It's not a big deal. I think they like playing on (national) TV, like showing off what they're all about. But, I don't know how important it is that they talk about it. I really don't know, I don't think that it's a big deal to them.
(on if defensive lineman Karl Klug will return to practice this week)
(on wide receiver Mekale McKay returning from injury)
We're going to look more at him at the end of the week, see how he's doing.
(on wide receiver Mekale McKay's injury)
It's a hamstring (injury).
(on cornerback Demontre Hurst playing in next week's game)
We're going to run him through individual tomorrow and see how he is after individual.
(on cornerback Demontre Hurst's injury)
He's a groin.
(on defensive back Curtis Riley returning from injury)
Same thing. He'll probably be questionable for the game, just kind of see how he goes through the week.
(on defensive back Curtis Riley's injury)
Curtis has a hamstring (injury). We've got a lot of hamstring (injuries).
(On cornerback Tye Smith's injury)
Tye Smith's got a hip (injury). Got a contusion on his hip. Pretty painful area where he got hit, so it's just a matter of pain tolerance with him.
(on long snapper Beau Brinkley returning from injury)
Beau (Brinkley), good chance he could be back. Be smart with him. He can snap, just got to watch him.
(on linebacker Nate Palmer returning from injury)
Nate (Palmer) may be another one questionable for the game with the ankle (injury).
(on CB Darrius Sims missing yesterday's game)
Just too new, just got here.
(on nose tackles Sylvester Williams and Antwaun Woods competing for the starting spot)
It's competitive. I'll say the guy that's quietly sneaking into the picture is DeAngelo (Brown). He's been pretty consistent in his play. He was good yesterday. We're going to get him some more reps with the ones and the twos as well.
(on linebacker Jayon Brown's ability to run)
He can run. That was good to see, that was a big play. You're seeing some things from young guys, we've got a lot of young guys, and when I say young guys it's not just the rookies, we've got some of these second-year players being really productive for us. That's what you expect from him. There are a number of other plays where he was a factor just because he can run like he is.
(on linebacker Jayon Brown making big plays as a rookie)
He's a real smart player. He studies. I know he does more when he goes home. I know that based on very limited mental errors. He still makes some mistakes because he's got a lot on his plate playing sub and base defense, which is a lot, and special teams. We're asking a lot of him and getting a lot of production from that. A lot of that is because he's well-prepared going into games.
(on evaluating the nose tackles despite a small number of snaps and opportunities)
It's not just the game snaps, it'll be in practice snaps, to get that evaluation.
(on if keeping three nose tackles on the roster would be too many)
It definitely would be. We're not going to keep three, we'll keep the best ones.
(on if there is meaning in defensive lineman Austin Johnson starting over defensive lineman DaQuan Jones)
No, just rotating, just seeing who is going to compete and be productive. We're looking at all snaps that they're getting. They had the same amount of snaps so we have a fair chance to evaluate them.
(on the value of competing against the Panthers three times)
I like that. I think if we have the opportunity to do it again next year with somebody, I'd like to do that. I like it. I've done this, this is my third time being a head coach doing it. I like it. The value is it's good for your young guys, to make the young players get a chance to compete against somebody else, see how they can perform against somebody they haven't been going against since April. It also gives you the chance to practice against a 4-3 defense instead of a 3-4 the whole time. You can draw up cards all you want, you can have your defense try to simulate a four-down, but you can't actually get the real look that you want unless it's live, and that's what we got.
(on if players consistently struggle with the same thing)
You're trying to put the best guys with what they do, across the board, with what they do best. Don't put them in a position to fail. If somebody's better at something than another one, that's somehow how we have so many personnel groupings offensively, because we're trying to get guys that do it better than the others. That's why all of our guys play, because we're going to use what they do best as much as we can.
(if there are things that receivers struggle with more than other players)
No, I wouldn't say (that).
(on incorporating team-bonding activities into the schedule)
As much as I can. Any time I can do something that's going to bring this team closer together, and it's a close team already, it's a very close team, I'm going to do it. I have a suggestion box from coaches. If they see something we can do, especially something that's fun but also pertains to what we're doing football wise, I think it's important we do that. It can get stale in here if they come in here every day and do a schedule and 'this is what we're going to do.' I think when they walk out of here they're stimulated. They go to their meetings, their individual meetings, after we've done something competitive or something fun for them that pertains to what we're doing football wise, they walk out of here, they go into those meetings, their attention span is much greater and they carry it out to the practice field and we get good practices because of it.
(on if the suggestion box is only for coaches)
Why, do you have something? Players, they know they can come talk to me about anything they think will help us.
(on Monday's eclipse)
We bought 200 pair (of glasses). Jon (Robinson) made sure they're not counterfeit. The practice will be over. We'll be standing around watching just like everybody else, the thousands or millions watching. It'll be a pretty cool experience.
(on if he'll be asking his players any educational questions about the eclipse)
Just don't take your glasses off, please.
(on rookie wide receiver Corey Davis responding to being sidelined)
He is frustrated, without showing it, about not being able to be with his teammates. He wants to be out there, more than we want him to be out there.
(on if this week's schedule will be similar to a regular season week)
This will be an exact regular season week, as far as planning, as far as the player's time in here, as far as everything. Third game is always the simulated regular season game, this is the first time I'll have a full week to do it. They'll get it.
(on the starters' playing time against the Bears)
More snaps obviously, at least the first half. We'll talk about more, whether we want to start them in the third. It all depends on how the flow of the game is going, how well we're playing or not playing. It's always predicated on how we're playing in the game. We'll have a number going in, and then we'll see how it goes and adjust if we have to.
(on safety Denzel Johnson's increased playing time)
Really just the rotation of who we had in the game at the time, that group had a bunch of snaps. He's doing pretty well. He has shown up a lot, a lot more. We didn't know he could play at this level. That was good for him to get that many snaps, it gives us more to evaluate with him. He's been pretty consistent since he's been here.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Carolina Panthers in Week 2 of the preseason on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones Photography, AP)