TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY MEDIA AVAILABILITY - Sept. 15, 2016
(on an injury update on Derrick Morgan)
Yeah, he did not practice today. I'll just monitor again tomorrow. Right now, he's questionable for the game. He didn't do as much today as I was hoping or for himself, either.
(on if hamstring injuries are slow recoveries)
I think a lot of them. There's different degrees of them. I don't think his is a serious one, but again, a lot of that is the degree and really the individual that can push through some of that. I mean he wants to play, so I know that's not an issue with him.
(on if the linebackers have a 'next man up' mentality)*
Yeah, I mean we went through this last year for a good portion of the year when Derrick (Morgan) went down. I think we have more depth than we did last year. I think Kevin Dodd had a really good day out here today. David Bass has had a really good offseason. So I know we're in better shape this time around than we were last year.
(on David Bass's knack for finding the ball)
He's around the football. I'm glad we got him. That was a good pick up for us. I think now that he's been in the system for as long as he's been—he's had a full offseason with us—that has shown his confidence. But he's done a lot of things to improve his game and his pass rush. It's been pretty impressive to watch him work.
(on if establishing the run game is more important when facing an explosive offense)
It's important. I mean I think it's important in any game. We've got to be able to hold onto the football, there is no question, and try to keep their offense off the field. That's every week. I mean that's every offense. This one has some potential to put points up, obviously from last week, but that is our emphasis every week.
(on if they have focused on improving in short-yardage situations)
Yeah, better execution, break a tackle, pound it up in there for a yard. We've got to do that. We've got to get better at it, no doubt about it.
(on if there is a significant difference in getting pressure on the quarterback and getting sacks)
Yeah, I would think. Really the difference is, if you look at the turnover ratio of teams every week—this past week was a little unusual. You had some negative teams win games. But for the most part in the history of the NFL, turnovers dictate the outcomes of games. Sacks are right behind turnovers. If you want to look at teams that get sacks and don't, you'll look at the win-loss column. That ratio is definitely a factor in the outcome of the game.
(on if Brian Orakpo is garnering more attention from opposing offenses this season)*
He gets a lot of attention. He got attention every time he was in there in the preseason. He's gotten attention since he's been here, and he deserves it.
(on if other defensive players need to make up for Brian Orakpo getting attention)
Yeah, you would like to think that, absolutely think that. But Brian (Orakpo) is relentless. I mean he was coming after them and they knew. He's on their board as a game wrecker. I can promise you that.
(on if Matthew Stafford's toughness is underrated)
He's tough. He is a tough quarterback. He has been throughout his history. He was at Georgia. I think a lot of what they're doing right now will keep him upright because he's getting rid of the ball so quickly. I think they're really doing a good job with their people, especially the quarterback position, the way they're scheming around what they do best.
(on the limit to Tajae Sharpe's potential)
I don't know. I think he's been impressive since the day he's gotten here. Obviously, we saw that early because we moved him up the ranks pretty quickly. The game didn't fluster him at all. There are some things—he made everything faster than it needed to be. I think when he settles down, the more game time he gets, I think he can be more of an explosive player. I think the more he's in the weight room and the more he's around what we do conditioning wise, the way we eat—you know, it's not a college life. It's a full-time job now. I think the more he's around us and develops into a bigger-bodied receiver, he can be a serious threat.
(on if Tajae Sharpe has become a trusted target for Marcus Mariota)
There is a good trust there between the two of them, absolutely.
(on if it is harder to defend against Matthew Stafford now that his go-to receiver in Calvin Johnson is gone)*
They have multiple people that are dangerous with the football right now. Again, I think Jim Bob (Cooter) does a really nice job of trying to find mismatches amongst them. There's really no go-to guy. They're all go-to guys in the offense, and that's the backs, as well. They're a dual threat. I don't know if there is that guy, which now you don't have to have the pressure of always having to throw it to one guy. You've got a lot of guys.
(on the importance of making plays early in the game to quiet the Detroit crowd)
That's always important on the road. There is a different setting. There is a different focus. I call it road focus. Everything we do from travel, to preparation the night before to what we're doing now here is trying to get them ready to play on the road in front of a crowd. And we've done that. You know, the Oakland game in the preseason—again, it's a preseason game—but that was a pretty good crowd for Oakland for us to go into. So we do have some work in it. I think that was good for us.
(on the difference between starting the season 1-1 versus 0-2)
Good. I mean there's a lot of games. There are 16. We'd obviously like to be 1-1. I can't look at anything else. I'm looking at one, 1-1.
(on if he reminds the team about being smart in certain situations in the game)
A lot of that takes place out here. You know, you try to put them in those positions. What we did in training camp with sudden change, I'm still doing that. Again, we haven't done that here. I haven't done it in my career as far as putting situations (in practice) in the game that won't catch them off guard. They're seeing things on TV. They're seeing some of those things happen on TV, but I'm making them happen live without them knowing it's coming, and we'll continue to do that. Nothing has come up that has caught us off guard yet, but we're ready for it if it does.
(on if he liked seeing Matthew Stafford get onto his receiver for not getting out of bounds in a key situation last week)
Yeah, he's always had that. He's always demanding of his guys. I really think you would see that from our quarterback.
(on if he likes how Marcus Mariota has responded this week)
Absolutely, yeah. It doesn't surprise me how he responded.
(on if the benefit of having a successful run game is most evident in the fourth quarter)
Yeah, that's really the history of it. If you are having some success, you're wearing down the opponent. That makes a difference in the fourth quarter.
Titans players take the field for Thursday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn, Amber Harding)