TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT August 8, 2017**
(on his reaction to Susie Adams Smith selling her stake in KSA Industries)
I have my own hands full. My job is to coach this football team. I hadn't even given it a second thought until you brought it up, to be honest with you.
(on if he will be buying Susie Adams Smith's stake in in KSA Industries)
No, that's an absolute on that.
(on the coaches discussing who will play in Saturday's games against the Jets)
They're talking through it right now. Each position, playing time by quarter, who's going to play with who, who's going to get to play with the ones, there's a lot of conversation. When we sit down on Friday morning we'll go player by player and I'll say 'yes,' 'no,' or 'I want this' or 'why are we doing that.' All that takes place on Friday. We're working up to that point, but we're not there yet.
(on playing it safe with running back DeMarco Murray)
I'd say he's not going to play.
(on his relationship with the ownership group)
I think I've said it a ton of times, I'm so appreciative of what she's done for this team. The amount of change that's taken place, she's been a large part of that. There's no way we could have what we have right now. In a very short time, a lot of things have changed, especially this facility. It's remarkable where it's at from where it came from.
(on wide receiver Rishard Matthews)
He's very consistent, very steady. Marcus (Mariota) has a trust level. Last year helped with building that relationship. He's had a good camp, he really has had a good camp. Better than he had last year at this time.
(on wide receiver Rishard Matthews' presence in the locker room)
He's quiet. He goes about his own business, but he come out here and competes every time. But he is quiet.
(on the number of snaps each linebacker is getting)
We'll see how that unfolds, the number of snaps in games. We've got a little more depth there with (Erik) Walden and (Kevin) Dodd and (Aaron) Wallace coming around. We have more guys now than we had last year. No, we haven't talked about an exact number of snaps. I can say this, our outside rushers are on a mission. They are playing and coming hard every play. It's been impressive to watch.
(on outside linebacker Kevin Dodd not having any setbacks returning from injury)
It has been. It's really been good for him. It's let him have some confidence that he let loose and has no restrictions. I don't even bring it up with him anymore. And I encourage you not to too.
(on the size of the linebackers giving him options)
It gives you options to do a lot of things. Coach (Dick) LeBeau is a mad scientist when it comes to creating mismatches and trying to get guys to make a mistake, teams to make a mistake. We have more options now to do that.
(on running back DeMarco Murray not needing much work in the preseason)
I think he does. There's a lot of guys that want to practice. They want to see things, they want to see where holes are going to be, they want to see protections. He's one of those guys, he likes practicing. This is very frustrating to him that he's not practicing.
(on if running back DeMarco Murray's veteran status buys him more time when returning from injury)
I don't know if it buys him more time. We're trying to be very smart in how we treat these guys that are injured. There are some dangers in pushing, depending on the injury, of pushing them too quick. It's early in camp, it's August 8th. That has a lot to do with it, where are we in camp. If he could go right now, it may be tomorrow. He's definitely a day-to-day guy. He would go if he could go.
(on if anyone has emerged at the linebacker position after Avery Williamson)
I think Jayon (Brown) has climbed up the ladder. He certainly has been very impressive. Every opportunity he's gotten to show what he's capable of doing, he's done it. Avery (Williamson) has come back. Avery's stronger, Avery's faster, he looks like a different player in regards to the way he's reacting in the run game. He's had a very good camp.
(on if linebacker Avery Williamson is focusing on a new contract)
Avery's (Williamson) not that worried about his contract here. Avery wants to get better every time he steps on the field. I don't think that plays into it at all.
(on if linebacker Avery Williamson is a part of the problem with opponents' tight ends)
No. I think he's gotten better. Obviously that's what you come out here for—to try to improve on what we're doing. And that was one of the things he knew he needed to improve on—his coverage. Like I said, he is faster than he's been since he's been here. He has worked his tail off to do that and I think he's done a better job covering in this camp than he has in the past.
(on other players that can help in coverage)
Yeah. I think Jayon (Brown) again, has the ability. With his athletic ability, his speed, very smart. Again, you have a lot going on when you have that first group and you've got to know a lot of things. Jayon has done well for a rookie.
(on if he would call rookie linebacker Jayon Brown the lead nickelbacker)
No, I wouldn't. I think they're all running pretty close together. I think they're pretty consistent in what they're doing.
(on who the next best player is in that nickel linebacker position)
Again, another guy—veteran—Wesley Woodyard's got a pretty darn good camp as well in there. We're pretty fortunate, we've got some guys in there that can play.
(on safety Da'Norris Searcy)
(Da'Norris) Searcy—as far as a nickelbacker—he could play it, but I'd probably say he's down the line.
(on if he sees linebacker Nate Palmer and linebacker Justin Staples playing on special teams or helping with inside linebacker)
Yes. I'd say that the plus for (Nate) Palmer and (Justin) Staples is they can go outside as well—they're very versatile. But, special teams will have a large part in making some decisions at that position because of the depth we have at that position.
(on what he wants to accomplish with the first preseason game against the Jets)
You just want to see how they're going to compete. You want to see who can handle the pressure, especially the young guys. They're going to play a good bit in this first game. You just want to see who can play at this level and not make a lot of mistakes. We talked about it in the team meeting this afternoon—about self-inflicting wounds. The less I have to get in front of them and say, "We can't do that," then the more games we'll win. We just don't want to have some of the things that happened to us last year—that we were in total control over—happen and cause us to lose some games. And it starts this week, on Saturday.
(on if there are certain mistakes that are inevitable, or if no mistakes are acceptable)
I've seen—and again unfortunately experienced it—where plays lost seasons, not lost games. One or two plays change seasons, not change the outcome of a game. So really I don't think it's acceptable when it's totally under your control of what you do. Do you jump offside? Do you make a mental mistake? Do you drop a pass? Do you miss a tackle? Are you not in the right gap? That has nothing to do with anybody else, but us. There's no hidden agenda there. There's nothing that an opponent did that made you do something that got you beat on that play.
(on how much he's looking forward to the season starting)
I'm excited about it; I think they all are. It's about time. This is a tough week for camp. This is the toughest week of all of them, I think.
(on if there's been slack toward the end of camp or if this is a unique group)
It is unique, and I think a lot of that has to do with our locker room. That's the players in there. We have some guys in there that are obviously some leaders that are demanding. I'm very fortunate to be a part of a locker room like that. It's rare, it's a unique locker room. They want to come out and work.
(on what he has seen from the secondary)
Tighter coverage. Communication's been outstanding. Being on the right guys—not a lot of open guys running around. But the communication's been good for a bunch of new guys playing together.
Titans players take the field for Day 11 of the team's 2017 training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)