TITANS INTERIM HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - December 16, 2015
(on what makes Rob Gronkowski such a challenge to defend)
Size, speed, smart, patient, a very patient route runner. He knows he's going to get jammed, disrupted at the line of scrimmage to hopefully disrupt the timing of the passing game. He doesn't panic. His moves, he sets up his moves very well. This is all for a guy that can run for a big tight end and really, it's a tough match up for whoever you put out there, linebackers, safeties, anybody. It's a tough matchup because of all of those things.
(on if they will alternate linebackers and safeties in their coverage of Rob Gronkowski)
I think you have to change your defenses up. They're looking for what their scheme is to try to find the mismatch some way, somehow. It really is a mismatch no matter how you try to defend him, unless you put two on him, tightly on him. It will be a challenge.
(on how they will pressure Tom Brady)
He gets rid of the ball so quickly and he always has. He relies a lot on those inside guys, the tight ends, the slot receivers. It's very similar to some of the quarterbacks we've faced, you can get frustrated up front because you're not getting home with the rush. I think we've had some examples this year that if we keep the pressure up, we're going to have to do that to try to get to him. We know he's been sacked a number of times this year compared to others, so we've got a good plan in place to try to get to him.
(on how he will prepare Marcus Mariota for the Patriots' defense as they plan very specific to their opponents)
It's a good scheme, or I should say multiple schemes. It's a cycle of what they're going to bring back, so what you do is now you draw up a run. For example, you've got six different defenses that they run, and our guys already know this. This is not going to surprise us by any means. We're going to practice a lot of things out there on the practice field that we will not see on Sunday. They won't show it, but what they do is they make you work all of it. We have it drawn up, we have the rules, we'll talk about it, but it's impossible to practice everything that you may see. What they do, we'll be prepared for. Typically, what you see in the beginning of the game is what the plan of attack is for them, at least that's been their history. We'll have to make some adjustments on the sideline, but they won't be brand new adjustments, we will have covered everything that they have done to this point.
(on how hard it is to prepare for Tom Brady)
He's seen it all. There is nothing you can do that he has not seen. He can just dissect what's going on, where guys are going to be prior to and after the snap. He can see disguises, he knows where guys are supposed to be when it comes to coverages. The thing about him is that if he does see something new that he hasn't seen on tape, they'll make an immediate adjustment on the sideline and try to attack you right back. They're not going to get away from anything, they're going to make an adjustment and try to hit you in and out.
(on if Tom Brady is the best quarterback he's ever faced)
I'd have to say he's one of the best, yeah. I mean, he just makes good players great around him. They have gone through a number of injuries over the years and guys come back or get put in the game and he just makes guys make plays for him, and they do. You don't see a lot of dropped balls, you don't see a lot of miscommunication. He does a good job with all the players that he's had to deal with over the years.
(on if Marcus Mariota has shown any mental tiredness)
No, if he is, he's at the same level as everybody else at this point. I mean, you're talking about the end of the season. It is a grind physically and mentally, but I don't think he's any less than the rest of us.
(on if it is surprising that Marcus Mariota has not hit a rookie wall)
It's a little surprising because of the time he puts in, the time he comes in here in the morning. I haven't seen anything. When they come in here on Tuesday nights, they get a good dose of what we're going to do for Wednesday, so he's already taking a big dose of our offense coming right at him on Tuesday night. He comes in here Wednesday morning and we're off and running. I have not seen him waver. We ask, 'Do you like the plan? Do you want to change anything before we install it with the rest of the offense?' He's like, 'No, let's go with it.'
(on if they will pressure Tom Brady based on schemes or personnel)
A little bit of everything, a little bit of both. In pertains to your question, scheme and their personnel
(on if Marcus Mariota genuinely likes the plans or if he is just an agreeable guy)
He's very upfront. If there is something that he is uncomfortable with, he has told us. If in some things he's a little gray, he'll come out to practice and see how he likes it. He may or may not, and then by Friday, if he's uncomfortable with it, we don't even put it on the call sheet. So it's not even a question, we're going to make sure he's confident in every play he's going to call in the huddle.
(on if young players will have to ignore Tom Brady's star factor)
They can do that on the sideline, they can watch all they want like the rest of us. But they're going to have a plan. We're going to be prepared for it. A lot of that has to do with just playing our fundamentals and techniques and that's everybody doing their job with this. 'Don't be in awe. If you do that, you're going to get yourself embarrassed.'
(on the importance of getting contributions from all three phases against New England)
I think it's important when you play teams like this. Your production, you try to steal points from any phase, from the defense and the (special teams). Whether it's a return, which we have not done since I've been here, a block, a punt. I know they've struggled a little bit, but we need something from everybody to contribute to this game.
(on if the Panthers or the Patriots are better)
I'll probably have a better idea after the fact. I need to see how it is after Sunday's game and I'll give you a comparison then, but they're both really good football teams and really well-coached.
(on if he will have to enforce paying attention to the job at hand)
I think it's been a consistent message. I've been saying that from the beginning about being tough, physical, and not beating ourselves. A lot of that has to do with being detailed in what you do. If you don't do that against any team in the NFL, it's not going to be pretty, but if you do it against the good football teams, you could get embarrassed and we don't want to do that. We haven't done that and we don't plan on starting that this week. Our guys are locked in and they're in a good place right now.
(on the mood of the team today)
It's been a very good day. A very good start to the morning, very attentive, a very good practice. I mean, very good.
(on if the cycles of the Patriots defense makes film study more intense this week)
Well, it is a little more. It took us a little longer as far as scheming. Again, some of the scheming is based on who we have playing before us. But for the players, and I expressed it this morning, there is no way we can cover or practice everything that they have done on the film that you've seen over the year. They've been doing it for years. It is up to them, whether it's in this building or on their iPads or wherever it is in their book, they have got to study so we are prepared. It's been pretty adamantly put to them that way.
(on if the Titans will have to adapt to things they haven't seen against the Patriots)
To be honest, there is really nothing that we haven't seen some time since we've been practicing. OTAs, training camp, at some point we practiced it, so it's not like it's a complete overhaul when you figure out what they're doing and what we have to do. It's drawn up, it's talked about and it's on film. It's going to be a lot of self-preparedness. That's going to be the difference in this game.
(on if this week will be more like a pop quiz compared to other weeks)
I think every week is that way. You want to see where they're at. We'd like to find out here, in a meeting or Saturday night, some point before they're put in the heat of the battle.