TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - Aug. 25, 2016**
(on if he plans on playing starters into the third quarter)
No, I don't think so. No, we're going to play the first half and again, we're going to see how it's going to play out, how many plays they play. (We) may even pull them earlier than we planned. It's all based on play count, and there's some situations we'd like to get them involved in as well, so you'll see how it plays out. As we go, without showing our hand, there may be some things we do that we normally wouldn't do in a regular season game.
(on if he will rotate players in game in the left guard position)*
More (Sebastian) Tretola than (Brian) Schwenke this week. Schwenke more center than he's been playing, so Tretola will get more reps than he's had with the ones.
(on whether Sebastian Tretola will start)
No, (Quinton) Spain will start.
(on how he thinks Quinton Spain will respond to other players competing to start)
Well, I've seen it out here a little bit. His effort and his approach, I'm really anxious to see what he does in the game. He knows what we want from him. Those guys up front, see if he does it even more than he has been.
(on if Quinton Spain has more of an advantage because he has more chemistry)
I mean, he has the edge because of experience right now, yeah. That's why we're going to try and get Sebastian (Tretola) as much as we can.
(on if he plans to have a hybrid approach of running and passing the ball this game)
Well, we'll see. It's a different defense again. Again, it's about balance, but it's also about taking what the defense gives you, and we're going to do some things, and see how they try to defend it, and whether that's we run it or throw it, we know we're capable of doing either. I think we can do either one very well.
(on if there is anything you can learn from your team in a preseason away game compared to a home game)
Yeah, I think this is a good test. Your first one on the road on the west coast, your body is going to be a little bit in shock. When we go to San Diego, we're going to go a day earlier, just to kind of let them get adapted to the time zone, so this will be a little bit of a stress on them. I think it's good for us. I'd rather do this than have an Atlanta (game) or somebody close, and we really don't get a test of how travel really is. I'm glad what we're going. I think it'll be a good test for us.
(on if he plans to give Kevin Byard and Kalan Reed opportunities in the return game)
Yeah, they're scripted to be in there earlier. Those other guys may get one return. We're hoping we don't have a lot of kickoff returns, so he's going to be in there if we have more than one, (Kalan) Reed will be in there on two.
(on how Tre McBride has been on the return game)
Again, up and down. I mean, there's been some things he's hit pretty good. A lot of it's not his fault, we've got to do a better job with our timing of our wedge. That was really the problem last week. Again, when you're a wedge, two guys used to be three guys, when you go -- it's go full speed like you're running the 40 at the Combine, and if anything is in your way, it gets destroyed. We were gathering, which we don't want to do, because now that guy that's coming down is going to penetrate you. We want it on tape. We want to see those two guys blow up the kickoff team, and if they don't do that, it disrupts the up-back and it disrupts the returner, so it's like a chain reaction. A lot of this stuff, we have to get better, (and) it will help our returner. It'll help Tre (McBride) hit the hole a little quicker.
(on whether he doesn't have Delanie Walker playing a lot of snaps because he already knows what he is capable of)
That's probably the number one thing. We're trying not to play him a lot of snaps. I know what Delanie (Walker) can do, and I'm not concerned with how many balls he's caught in these first two. He hasn't been in a lot plays that were in the red zone down early in San Diego. We ran the ball almost every snap down there, so it's really been circumstances, it hasn't been planned out not to get him the ball.
(on how injuries in the corner position have affected evaluating the nickel position)
I think we're getting a fair evaluation from those guys. Brice (McCain) will be back in there when we go to nickel for a good bit of this game. He'll start at corner. (Antwon) Blake will go in when they go to nickel, when they go to sub, Brice (McCain) will have plenty of plays, because their top offensive grouping is a sub-offense, so he'll play a lot this week.
(on if Antwon Blake is third)
(Antwon) Blake is third, yeah. Yeah, he'll go outside, and (Brice) McCain will go inside.
(on how he would assess Kevin Dodd)
There's some things that will make you go 'wow.' I mean, he does. I saw him today. He could be a real force. I just need to get him game condition, and he's got to do it out here. He's got to push himself in the practice, and he knows I'm not trying to pick on him. I'm trying to get him up to speed, because he's behind, not just in the reps, but the conditioning part of it. We're going to play him to a point, but we're going to be smart. When I see him, if he's gassed, he's going to come out. I'm hoping it's not early.**
(on what he expects to see from the Raiders defensively)
Well, I think there's going to be a lot of one-on-one matchups. Their front is a hybrid 3-4. They're basically going to cover all five lineman—make you block them—or if you don't, if you have a protection, that puts it back on one of their two outside linebackers. That's not a fair matchup either. You're going to have a lot of one-on-one's, and they're hoping that that will help them outside, because there's a lot of one-on-one coverage, as well. They're expecting it's a five-man rush just about every rush. They're expecting to get home before that coverage can break down, so we need to win in a lot of areas on every play.
(on if this game will be a good test for Jack Conklin)
It will be a great test for Jack (Conklin), a very good test. They've got some very good rushers.
(on the difficulty of stopping the inside rush)
You've got to just be careful oversetting. It's just a matter of your footwork.
(on how much work will the team will get next week in preparation for Miami)
Even though it's going to be very difficult, a four o'clock morning—they're going to be tired—we're going to come back in here on Monday and put at least the shoulder pads on. We're going to hit. We can't go a whole week and not hit. I think that's not smart. I'll be smart with them how the practice is laid out, but we'll be in pads on Monday. We'll have a pretty good practice on Tuesday, even though we're playing Thursday night, and then we'll tone it way back on Wednesday morning before we travel.
(on the safety rotation this week)
You'll see a lot of guys playing together, and that's going to be coordinated by our secondary coaches. Without saying every one of the combinations, they'll be some that you haven't seen in the preseason.
(on playing the same team in the preseason and regular season)
There's things that you're not going to show your hand. There's things we feel like we've shown already. They know about us, whether it's years passed or whatever, they already know (or) we already know about them. We're holding some things back, but we're also putting some things together to go win the football game.
Titans players take the field for Thursday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)