Coach Mularkey's Thursday Practice Transcript



(on Marcus Mariota's injury update)

I think he's progressing very well. I was pleased after I watched the tape yesterday and I'm even more today. Our competitive drill we did was two-minute and he had a pretty live rush on him and I thought he did a good job stepping up in the pocket and moving around the pocket and getting out of the pocket when he had to. So that was good to see, I think he's progressing and we'll move a little bit further tomorrow.

(on when he will announce whether or not Marcus Mariota will play on Sunday)*

I'll say something tomorrow. I'll give him another day.

(on if he has confidence in Marcus Mariota's progress)

Yes, it's been very good.

(on defending Drew Brees)

We're going to try to get after him. We'd like to move him a little bit out of the pocket. He's been around so long, Marcus (Mariota) and he are very accurate, and one thing you see him, he gets guys the ball when they look covered, and the thing that they're doing is they're making plays. The wideouts are making plays all over the place for him. So we're going to disrupt him if we can.

(on how often he sees a strong performances like the Saints had last week carry over into the next game)

I hope not to. I think each week is different scenarios. You've seen teams have really had problems one week and the next week they look like champions. This is a new week for everybody and that's the way we're approaching it. There's nothing, we're not looking back on anything. I'm sure they're not either.

(on if his familiarity with the NFC South will help him at all)

A little bit, yeah. Typically, when I was with the Falcons, it was a physical game for 60 minutes. I don't expect anything different when we go in there. The coordinators are different from when I was there last, so a little different scheme-wise, but the effort and physical play is still there.

(on his trust in Jason Michael calling the plays for the first time and what he likes about him)

He's very intelligent, very smart. He has a good feel, even out here, for what's going on with the whole picture. He's locked into the whole play and will adjust where guys need to do something better. I feel very good about it. When he was on the phones with Coach (Ken) Whisenhunt, a lot of very good communication and in between series, very good communication on how to attack the defense the next series. It's really not going to be that much different except maybe less voices on the phones, he can concentrate a little better.

(on if he will allow Jason Michael to be more aggressive in the play-calling or if he will see how the game goes)

I'm going to try to see how it's going to flow to start off. We'll obviously talk in between series, and I'll have my two cents worth in there, but I'm going to let him call the game and let him really gain some confidence in the play-calling. We've got to see how this game is going to unfold, both offensively and defensively, and how aggressive we'll be, that will be as series go on.

(on if he remembers his first game calling plays)

It was a preseason game, so it wasn't too stressful. It was against the Falcons, I was with the Steelers. I do remember I built the top 15 plays and I went 1-15. That's the only game I ever did that in my whole career. I figured I'm not going to do it that way. But it's almost like a player, after your first couple plays, you're OK. Everything is OK. You start to feel good about yourself and there is a flow there. But the first couple will be I'm sure a little nervous to him.

(on how much they will script going into the game)

We'll script 15, up to 30 plays, based on how much we want to get out, how much we like plays and we want to get up early in the game.

(on if he will constantly talk to Jason Michael between plays on second and third downs or if he will let it flow and make adjustments as necessary)

As you call the first play, you're already going, 'If this is where we are, if it's second and short, and second and – these are the two calls.' You're already talking through that and you can say yay or nay or whatever you have to do, and then he's already prepared. You're already ready for any situation that's going to come up, and he's got his finger on it or his pen on it and says, 'This is where I'm going to.' And you go with it, based on the gain of the previous play. So there will be no talking once the previous play is over, it's over. It's silence for him.

(on if he will be challenged by no huddles or a two-minute offense)

Not really, I don't think so. Again, there's still enough time to get your thoughts together. And again, that's why we're doing this out here. We watched them on two-minute and kind of have an idea of what we want to attack them with and practice it here so when it comes to that time, the stress is less.

(on if he has had a chance to catch his breath yet)

Yes, today I did. I usually talk to my wife every morning about 6:30 or 7:00. I found myself walking through here at 9:00 and I hadn't called her yet, so I stepped out this door right here and said, 'You know what, there's nothing else, I've got to call her. I've got to slow down a little bit.' I think we're up to speed based on the way they've come out here the last two days and what we've gotten done in these meetings. I feel very good about it. I'm easing down a little bit.

(on if he will shift all gears at once or do it in increments as the season goes on)

I try to give them some slight changes this week so they can see, and I think it's been a positive for them. We're off the field earlier these two days. I told them I'll adjust that even next week so they're – I like that they're getting off the field and getting off their feet and getting a chance to really get into the training room and get some more treatment and watch more film. But I'll adjust that so they can get out of here a little earlier next week. We'll constantly kind of just tweak things to the benefit of these guys if we can.

(on if the coaching change will be a distraction when Sunday comes)

I don't feel that at all. I think we're over that. I think initially, it was a little bit of a shock on Tuesday. But there's so much going on here daily and the meeting times. We're right back into getting ready for the Saints and I think by Sunday there should be no issues, no distractions at all.

(on if he has thought about what he is going to say to the team before the game on Sunday)

Not Sunday morning, but I know Saturday night what I'm going to say. I had a feeling about that. But no, not that first pregame in the locker room, I haven't thought about it yet.

(on the team giving him their attention)

I said to them today, I don't talk a lot. I have because I've had to this week. I've had to go through schedules, I've had to obviously talk about the direction we want to go. But I want them to understand if I'm saying something to them, it's important that they listen to me. They've been very, very attentive, and I think it's been really well-received.

(on if he is in the mindset of getting someone to 100 rushing yards)

I don't have a number as far as yards, I may have a number as far as carries. I think that has just as much of an effect on a win as it does anything. But if the yards come with it - some of that can be misconstrued with big games, so it's more about the number of the carries than it is about the result of the carries.

(on if there is a set number of carries he would like to see)

Well, we'll see. Maybe that will be a good question after the game.


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