TITANS INTERIM HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - December 23, 2015
(on the importance of finishing the season strong)
You have a good taste in your mouth, obviously, any time you win, the next week is good. It's just a different energy. But to end the season strong, I think it's good for the offseason. You have some good, positive things to feed off of and that's kind of the plan. We're hoping to do that so we can walk away progressing, improving, doing the things that we said that we were going to do and continuing to fight the whole way. That's important that these guys do that and then they're rewarded. The offseason is a little better when you do that.
(on how important it would be for Zach Mettenberger to get a win as a starting quarterback)
It would be good. I don't see anything negative about getting a chance. He's played a number of games now, and obviously hasn't won one yet. He needs to get one under his belt. It's kind of one of those streaks everybody keeps talking about. You do it, get it over with and hopefully get on another kind of streak, and that's winning them.
(on how much better off a backup quarterback is when he has the whole week to prepare as the starter)*
I think really any positon, obviously quarterback is the most talked about, but it's just an easier transition to start the game and get into a flow rather than midstream. I thought he did well last week. I told him that again today. You could tell he was prepared to play. I think he's been doing that week in and week out, but it showed up in the game that he was prepared.
(on the priorities for Zach Mettenberger in this week's game)
Just reinforcing what we want to do. Really, that's not because it's Houston and some of the things that have happened in the past, that's what we want every week. That's how you move the ball in the NFL, and it's been proven week in and week out with some of these guys. If the defense is going to try to take something away, then take what they're not. That's how you move the ball efficiently.
(on not wanting Zach Mettenberger to be reluctant to make certain throws)
I certainly don't want to hog-tie him by any means where he's not going to make some of those throws. He made some of them out here today, so as much as we've talked, he had some good reads on some of the things we're trying to attack them with and he threw the deep one. I don't think he has that mindset right now. I don't think he will, but I think you'll see hopefully as we progress and keep talking about it, hopefully getting the ball down to guys that are open.
(on if Zach Mettenberger should have thrown it earlier and deeper on the deep interception at New England)
No. The coverage should have taken him off of Harry (Douglas) immediately. That's some of the things you should know pre-snap. They're going to disguise and do all that they do, but when the ball is snapped, typically defenses are where they need to be to execute their scheme. If you can understand who is going to be covered before that happens, it's easy. Now you're already off your first progression, you're on to the next one. Like I said, (Tom) Brady was doing it all day.
(on what Marcus Mariota's plan is for his injury)
Rehabbing as much as possible. He was in here the same time this morning, nothing's changed as far as preparing. Obviously, he's not going to play. The rehab, he's literally living in there.
(on if Marcus Mariota is still in meetings)
Yes, it's important he's in there to help Zach (Mettenberger) and the other quarterbacks.
(on spoiling other team's playoff positions)
Yeah, I think really the focus is winning the game. It's not about seeing if we can knock them out. It's about winning the game for us. Whatever happens because of it, that's not the focus. It's just about trying to win these last two and especially this last one at home so we do have a good feel when the season is over with.
(on how much he feels like things have changed protection-wise since the last time they played Houston)
There are some things, obviously, we changed, and we'll do it again this game for these guys that weren't in the last time and may not have been in any of these games. We're always trying to figure out a way to protect them. These guys happen to give you a little bit more of a challenge with who's rushing and where they're coming from, who they're trying to get matched up on. You can't help everybody, it's impossible, so some guys are going to have to block really good players across from them.
(on if the Texans are moving around more because they are healthier than they were when the Titans last played them)
I just think, maybe it is because of health, but they're moving around much more than they were when we played them the last time.
(on if the Titans are getting the ball out quicker now than they were the last time they played the Texans)
I know that's what I believe in, some quicker throws to get it out of his hands. I think when you attack people with those kind of throws, the deeper ball gets open. Some people think the complete opposite that if you throw it down the field, they'll deepen up with their drops and you can dump it down. I don't agree with that.
(on how much draft pedigree means to him and if first-round picks should have high expectations in their first few years)
Well, you look at some of these teams that we've played in the last couple of weeks, Houston being one of them. The number of number ones, really up front here and against the Jets, it's kind of proof it can be built that way and be successful.
(on what he thinks about the Titans' success with number one draft picks)
We've got a really young group that I think has a good future. I think they're getting obviously, a lot of reps earlier than some. But I think the future is bright with our group.
(on if he thinks about this potentially being his last time as head coach at Nissan Stadium)
I actually didn't until you just brought it up, to be honest. No, I didn't think of that. I know I have a job to do for these next two weeks, so I have not thought about it that way by any means.
(on if he could evaluate more personnel if he knew he was going to be here for a longer amount of time)
No, I'll be honest, Ruston (Webster) and I have very good communication between the two of us. If we've needed to play a player or sit a player or not dress a guy, we've both been on the same page. A lot of it has been because of what I've felt and Ruston has been on board with it. It's not like I don't have a say. I have and Ruston has given me that ability, which I appreciate, but if I wanted to do that, I would do that. I would do that and I have with some of these guys.
(on if Jeremiah Poutasi will see any more time in the next two games)
Right now, for this game, it's what they will be. That hasn't been discussed any further than that. It's what is the best group to play against this front that we have to deal with.
(on if he has seen improvements with Zach Mettenberger)
I have. I thought he did a lot of good things. I know the end result wasn't what we wanted and some of the things hurt us on the throws with the interceptions, but I think he has improved with it. We have a clock out here we're working with him. We're constantly talking about ball security in the pocket, stepping up away from the rush, and again, the emphasis on getting it out of his hands without holding it. Again, it's not just this week, that's his career. That's what we want here if he's going to play quarterback here.
(on Delanie Walker not getting voted into the Pro Bowl)
I'm very disappointed for Delanie (Walker). I don't know what else you can do to turn the votes, other than have a better record and have more exposure. I think that would have helped but there are four good tight ends as well that are going, you give them credit, but I just think Delanie with where we are and with some of our injuries and the situation we're in, what he's done for our football team, people know we're going to try to throw it to him, for him to still come out like he does and have game, after game, after game, I'm very disappointed for him.
(on if he feels the same way about Jurrell Casey not getting into the Pro Bowl)
I do. He is an unbelievable player. You turn the tape on him and there is not a play that he is not somehow around the football when the play is over with. I don't care where it is. That screen play that they scored on us last week, Jurrell (Casey) almost ran that thing down from, behind. He constantly is just a disruptive player. Obviously, he's gotten some notice from his peers. I think the coaches and the players in this league know what those two guys are. I'm not sure the fans understand what they give to this football team.
(on if winning a few more games would have helped players' Pro Bowl chances)
I don't know if that's it, maybe. We win a couple more of these games that we had a chance to win maybe that makes a difference. I'm not sure. I think it was close, obviously, being the first alternate. I'm hoping that still gives them a chance to go, but yeah, I think they're Pro Bowl players.
(on facing ambiguity of not knowing what his future will hold but still having a job to do)
Days are so full of things, I have to get ready for the games, and I don't have a lot of time to sit and ponder and wonder. Again, I'm trying to get this team to win these last two games. Whatever happens at the end happens. We'll see then.
(on if he thinks Damaris Johnson will potentially get time this weekend)
I do, but obviously, he's behind in regards to the offense. Going in with four wide receivers, you've got to have a pretty good feel for what we're doing offensively, so that will all depend on how up to speed he is with that.
(on if Damaris Johnson gives them a chance to find something in the return game these last two weeks)
He could be, yes. We're still discussing that, really seeing what he can do offensively too.
(on the number one reason they have gotten so little out of the return game)
I think it's been a variety of reasons. We've made some really critical mistakes back there. I'm talking about the whole year that I can recall. Dropping the balls, a number of dropped balls, really we could do a better job blocking up front. You're so limited to how many returns there are any more that there are so few and if they aren't any good, it looks like the big picture is bad. We have not been, at least in the kickoff return department, we have not been to the standard we really expect them to be.
(on if he feels comfortable with Alex Tanney if something happened to Zach Mettenberger)
Yeah, obviously, he's been in the system. We're going to see, if he's playing, how much does he know? When the week's over with, we'll go through the game plan and see what he's comfortable with. Whatever he's not, we'll take out of it. Hopefully it's a lot in case he has to play.
(on if Harry Douglas is the emergency quarterback)
Harry (Douglas) is the emergency quarterback, yes.