TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - Aug. 11, 2016
(on the emotions of the players heading into the first preseason game of the year)
It really depends on who it is. The rookies, I know will be a little excited about it. Probably a "nervous-excited." They'll probably waste a lot of energy worrying about performing and doing it right. I think once they -- especially the young guys -- once they get a couple under their belt they'll be fine, but leading up to it it'll be very hard for them to not show their emotions.
(on if there is anything he will tell the rookies)
I don't think so. I'll say something to them, but I may put more pressure on them, make them think worse about it, but I think some of these guys won't be intimidated by it. I have an idea of who they are already. I've seen it out here, but I know there's others who will be a little nervous.
(on how four padded practices in a row affected practice today)
I thought it was going to be a little slow start. I thought it was really a good practice. I'll tell you why -- this was similar to one we had in the OTA's, which was a completely unscripted practice. Coaches had no idea what the periods were. There were no plays scripted. I screamed every down-and-distance to the coordinators, so they had to react like they do in games. They had to get their personnel groupings in there. We had to match them defensively the entire practice. They had no idea where we were going field position wise, and we got off the field five more minutes earlier than we normally do. There wasn't a lot of confusion. You know, we do sudden change everyday -- things that they're not expecting, even the coaches. Everyday we've had sudden change in these fast practices. This was a full practice of sudden change for them, and I was really pleased with it.
(on whether he knows what he's going to do heading into an unscripted practice)*
I do. There's only a few of us that have my script on me. I know the movie script, and they don't. They rang the bell, you know I wanted to put a little pressure on Terry Robiskie too, to speed up the process just like a game. I mean, it's easier to -- you can't control the play clock like a game to get him to get the personnel as quickly as he can, get the play call in. As quickly as we can do those things Saturday night, then the rest of these games will be easier.
(on whether he's talked to his staff about Marcus Mariota's playing time)
They're working on it. They're getting together as a staff, putting their thoughts together, and I'm putting mine together. That's probably a tomorrow project.
(on whether he has an idea about the playing time breakdowns for players)
I mean it's typical in the first quarter you want to see your ones. We kind of have an idea who we're trying to rotate in and out. I'm sure you guys do to. Anything set in stone? No, but I wouldn't see him -- maybe the line longer than anyone else, maybe the first half.
(on how he will manage DeMarco Murray's playing time in the preseason with other running backs)
He'll have limited reps. He will, he'll have limited reps. I've seen him live in action. I really was going to limit him in the scrimmage. I really didn't want him to take as many reps as he did, and he's the one that wants to take them. He's a little stubborn, which is really good with me.
(on if the preseason games will be important to players like Antonio Andrews and Bishop Sankey)
Yeah, Bishop [Sankey] didn't get a lot of opportunities to carry the ball the other night, so Bishop [Sankey] is going to get a good dose this game, and he should.
(on how he feels when he sees Derrick Henry plowing into linebackers and bouncing back)
That's a real play. There was another play where we had a stale mate with Jack Conklin, and I think DaQuan [Jones] and Derrick Henry were right up Jack's back. He's going to move the pile, whoever's in the way better get out of the way. Some of the things he did out here with some of the cuts where he broke it to the outside, he had speed to get away from some of our outside guys, which again was a real play in practice so it's good to see.
(on if he will talk to the rookies separately about what to expect on Saturday night)
I have in the past. I probably will. It's not going to be about the nervous part. It's just about what to expect, the emotions that you're going to have, what to expect from us, be ready to get when it's your turn, the opportunities. Again, I'm always harping on them about the 'wow' factor. You've got to do something different than all the other guys at your position. You have to stand out because there's a lot of you and you're all going to have the same opportunity. You can't be the same or you'll get lost in the shuffle. So do something that all these coaches are going to go, 'That guy's a different type of player.'
(on if he expects Jack Conklin to get swept up in the moment)
I don't think so. Those moments where the whole team is surrounding him and it's tied 1-1 in the competition pass-rush drill—that's a lot of pressure on a rookie—against a Jurrell Casey, who is really, really difficult to block. I didn't even see—the no blink, just bring it on. He'll have his challenges, but I don't think it will worry him.
(on if he emphasizes being assignment sound in preseason games)
Yeah, I mean we want to be—again, this is really similar to the first practice when you come out here. You kind of anticipate there's going to be some mistakes, first of all because of the emotions. Everything is sped up in their minds, especially the young players. If you can control that and limit that at all costs and let them know beforehand that's a possibility, at least they're aware of it. They can lock in. They can focus more about snap counts and all the pre-snap things. Is that going to stop it? I don't know. I'm hoping it limits the numbers.
(on how much Andre Johnson will play, given that he is a new player but also a veteran)
You'll see (him) probably limited, as well. Again, I've seen enough of Andre (Johnson)—I've seen enough on the opposite side and I've seen enough out here—to know what he's capable of doing. There's some younger guys that need the reps, that still need to prove themselves.
(on if there is more room for error for young players in the first game)
No, there's no room for error. No, there's no, 'It's okay.' It's not okay. Everybody is depending on you to do your job, so there's no leeway.
(on if the first two plays of the game were auctioned off for a fan to call)
(on if he has talked to the people who will call the plays)
Yes, we have. Yes, we have and I'm kind of anxious to see how they unfold.
(on the details of how this opportunity came about)
Here's what happened: Jon Robinson and I were at a Waiting for Wishes Make-A-Wish Celebrity Dinner. We were there as guests. We were not there as celebrity waiters. I've done it. I did it in Atlanta. I offered the first play of the preseason game up for auction—let somebody come in here, see how we function, how everything operates here and really go through a game plan with them. Bring them in to the offensive room where all of our coaches were, which they did yesterday, and the board is up for the Chargers. And we talked through a lot of the plays that are up there and give them the ability to call the first play. In Atlanta, it went for $500. I thought what a great thing. It's an easy thing. It's an easy play. These guys will respond to the play, whatever it is. This year got out of hand and went for $20,000. So two groups bid $10,000 each to call the first two plays of the game. I thought for the first preseason game, the first two plays, you're going to get probably five kids that are going to get wishes for life. It was pretty good. It was a really special night, and then yesterday they were here. They got a great day, a really great day.
(on if he expects they will call a trick play)
You know what, one of them asked. One of them asked a very good question: if the other team knows that we're picking the play, are they going to expect something like a gadget. I said, 'That's a good question. Now you understand what we deal with every Tuesday when we're in here for 14 hours.' So they did, they had fun with it. It was really a great experience for everybody.
(on if the first two plays have already been selected)
They've already picked the two plays, yes.
(on if he thinks the plays will work)
(on if he can say what types of plays they are)
I can't. I did say this, though, at the auction, I said, 'Now, if they don't work, I didn't call those plays.'
Titans players take the field for Day 11 of training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)