Coach Mularkey's Tuesday Practice Transcript

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TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY MEDIA AVAILABILITY - Dec. 20, 2016

(on if they had a more limited practice due to the short week)

We did. We toned it down a notch. That was what I wanted. Being Tuesday, usually the players' day off, just one day earlier with the game on Saturday—just the typical Wednesday practice type but toned down the tempo.

(on how the schedule is adjusted for the Saturday game)

Today is Wednesday. Tomorrow is Thursday. Everything is the same, just moving it up a day.

(on the message to the team this week)

Lock in to the Jaguars. Avoid the distractions—Christmas, shopping, food, a lot going on this time of year. This is a great opportunity. Just lock in. Don't have any regrets.

(on if there is danger in playing a team that has struggled)

If you take them for granted, there is a danger, but we're not taking them for granted. They're playing very hard, very high effort, very physical. This is no different than last week or the week before or all the way back to one. They're all important and this is a big game. We will not take them lightly.

(on the Jaguars' game last week against the Texans)

Well, six out of their last seven games, they've lost by a score or less, so that tells you something right there. Other than our last game with them, the four games I've played here were all one-score games. It's been that way. We've split with them for seven years now. We understand what we're going up against.

(on what Doug Marrone brings as the interim head coach)

Good coach, very good coach. Similar demeanors. I know he, as an offensive line coach, likes physical play. He'll have those guys ready to play.

(on he and Doug Marrone's similar coaching paths)

It's ironic. Yeah, it's very ironic that the two of us are going against each other.

(on if he considers Doug Marrone a friend)

We played together, so yes, I do.

(on what Doug Marrone will do to have his team ready to play)

Obviously, the last two games of the year, you're being evaluated not just coaching style, coaches, but players—everybody's being evaluated. I know he'll have this team ready to play. I mean, that's what he does anyhow. 

(on if he expects Doug Marrone will be a permanent head coach again in the NFL)

I don't know how that all—it depends on what people are looking for. He's a good football coach, I know that.

(on how much an interim coach can change a team in one week)

Not a whole lot. It won't be a wholesale change, but there will be something in there that he believes in and he wants to do. I don't know if it can be a wholesale change. I don't know what they would do different defensively when you're already a top-10 defense. Why would you change?

(on how much he warns the players that a team eliminated from the playoffs will have nothing to lose)

That was talked about this morning. We're going to expect everything, so we will not be caught off guard on anything, hopefully.

(on if looking at the Jaguars' game against the Texans helps deliver that message)

I think it does. Just look at the games they've played throughout the year. They've had a chance. They've been up in a lot of them, they just have not come through and been on the good end, but they're very competitive. I mean, they have been. They've had chances to win a lot of these games.

(on what makes the Jaguars' defense so good)

I think the secondary, including (Jalen) Ramsey, they've played together. They've started—I think this is their eighth or ninth game together now. They're playing well. I mean, that's another unit, like the offensive line, that you've got to have a lot of games under your belt so everybody's like a moving part. They're playing well together. The defense is not real complicated. They do some things on third down, like everybody else does, but they're sound, very disciplined, they know where they're supposed to be, they play fast, they're physical and they play with very good effort. You always have a chance if you play that way.

(on how many Titans deserve to make the Pro Bowl)

There's a lot. I mean, I think a lot of guys have played very well for us this year. We've had a number of players that have played very well this year.

(on if he is hopeful that several Titans will be recognized with Pro Bowl selections)

I hope so. I really do. A lot of times, it deals with your record. Where we were at the time all the voting was going on, I don't know how people were looking at us. I would hope that people know who we are and know the type of players we have and what they've done for us. I hope they get recognized for it.

(on how the deep passing game over the last few weeks has helped open up the offense)

That's part of the balance. You've got to have the ability to create explosive plays. I mean, it's hard going four yards at a time in the run game. You've got to create explosive plays to move the football and get defenses to back off a little bit, so that will always be in there. That will always be a part of this offense. It's part of the balance of it.

(on the significance of having a player selected to the Pro Bowl)

It's a great recognition for the player and for the team. I think the team has a lot to do with it. Obviously, it's individual, but I think the team is a big part of it.

(on the season DeMarco Murray has had)

I mean, to be honest with you, I don't know if he's still the second-leading rusher. I know he was one of the top rushers. He's done everything we've asked. He's what we saw on tape. It's what I saw in person when the Cowboys came in here and he ran for 182 yards in front of me. I didn't have to watch tape to know what he's capable of doing. I knew what he was capable of doing. He's got plenty of tread still on his tires.

(on why the Titans' offense has been productive in the red zone)

First of all, again, I know everybody game plans specifically for different areas down there. I think our offensive staff does a good job of attacking defenses down there in specific ways. I think we don't make a lot of mistakes. You can't beat yourself down in the red zone. That's the No. 1 thing. You can't have penalties, can't have negative plays. We haven't done a lot of that. I think throwing the ball, you've got to have some smart decisions by the quarterback and we've got to get open down there. There's not a lot of room for error down there, and our guys have done a good job getting open.

(on how much input he gives Terry Robiskie in calling plays)

I'm thinking he would probably like me to stay more out of his way. No, I talk to him, Jason Michael. The three of us talk, but Terry (Robiskie), we're talking constantly of, 'Hey, what are you thinking next?' He's been very consistent with the way he's wanted to attack. Last week, he's the one that said, 'Hey, let's go into our no huddle and see if we can change the tempo up, see if we can move the ball a little different way.' He's done that a number of times this year, but Terry has done a good job of not being influenced by outside sources of why are you running the ball when you're down 14 points. He's sticking to what we're saying, and that's what wins games is being consistent. The players see that. There is a time when you've got to start to throw it, but there is a time when you've got to still run your offense and still try to keep the ball out of the other team's hands.

(on what convinced him that Terry Robiskie was the right person to be offensive coordinator)

Well, I've worked with Terry (Robiskie) for five years. He was my receivers coach in Atlanta. Terry knew this offense as well as anybody. We had talked back and forth over the years. He knows the way I call plays. He knows my philosophy. We believe in the same approach in our physical, tough, run the football, balanced offense. We're a lot alike, so that was an easy choice.

(on how evident the team's hunger for the playoffs is)

I think it was pretty evident at the end of that game last week. All three phases kind of came together in a crunch time. When we failed on the two point, they all came together and made a difference in the game. I saw the hunger. I saw the belief in this team on the sideline that we had a chance, and maybe nobody else believed it, but I know that sideline did.

(on how much his confidence in the defense played into the game on Sunday)

A lot. It was confidence in all of them, confidence in every guy on that sideline. That's what I have. I trust them. They trust me. I believe in them, and they believed in themselves. I think that was the difference. 

(on what it means for the team to control its own destiny)

It's good this time of year to be able to be in this position, but again, we're learning how to win this year—I mean, some of these games that have been tough to win, in at least the couple years I've been here. I think we're in a good position, but the focus is on what do we have to do to win this game. Even last week will be irrelevant if we don't win this game.

(on how much of the game plan against the Jaguars in the first matchup will be irrelevant in the second meeting)

Some, for both sides, I think. Rarely do we do the same things twice. I think that's why we're harder to defend offensively. They will not see very much of what they saw before. No team does.

(on if he has memories come up from his time with the Jaguars when he returns to the area)

No, I have a house down there. No, it doesn't come up very much. I've got a lot of good friends that are still down there, but no. I do have a lot of good memories there, though.

(on if Phillip Supernaw and Da'Norris Searcy are still in concussion protocol)

This was a toned down practice. They have to go through a full practice tomorrow, and then we'll test them tomorrow.

Titans players take the field for Tuesday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

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