TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - Aug. 24, 2016**
(on how he is going to fill in for Craig Stevens absence)
We've got a couple guys on the roster right now that are going to have to, obviously, play a greater role in that scheme, block in the point. Anthony Fasano, I mean really any of the guys we have, with the exception of Delanie (Walker), can get up there and at least put a good fight up against the bigger defensive ends and those guys. Even in the last game, I think Phillip Supernaw blocked what Craig (Stevens) was doing, blocked those plays very well.
(on if this will affect how many tight ends end up on the roster)*
Again, that's going to come down to final say when it comes to special teams and again, they have a lot of reps still here to show their stuff in practice and the preseason games. We haven't got a number there yet, but you know, that's one that Craig (Stevens) would have (had).
(on Jerome Cunningham looking the part)
He's more of what we call a point tight end, a wide tight end. He's a guy that does basically the blunt of the blocking. The F is a Delanie (Walker) type. I think (Phillip) Supernaw and Anthony (Fasano) are a bit of tweeners, in between the two. I think Jerome (Cunningham) is more of that point tight end, and he's a powerful guy. He's very powerful.
(on how much it will hurt considering that Craig Stevens was exactly what they were looking for in the locker room and on the field)
Well, they're hard to come by. They're very hard to come by. Craig (Stevens) is very well respected for what he's done. The way he just goes about his business, he's just very well respected. They're hard to find guys that can get up and block a (defensive) end consistently like he has over the years. They're just not in college anymore. The offense is all spread out, they're all standing up in two-point stances. There's just not a lot of those guys, so when you get a chance to get one — I've been fortunate to be around Craig (Stevens), and Mark Bruener in Pittsburgh. You can win a lot of games with a guy like that. We did that in Pittsburgh. We didn't have a Delanie Walker, we had a Mark Bruener and won a lot of games. That is a big factor.
(on what he said to Craig Stevens)
Well, out of respect for him, he's making a very tough decision in his life. He's moving on, and at this time, really after three weeks of the toughest part of the season, I thought he must have been thinking it for a while. I just have a lot of respect for Craig (Stevens). I respect his decision. I'm going to be in his corner no matter what he does. He knows that. I love the kid. I hope (in) his next stage, I can help him however I can, and whatever he's going to do.
(on whether he tried to recruit Craig Stevens back to the team)
Yeah, I told him. I mean, I don't have to — he's graded out, [playing] two games. He's played well, he's practiced well, he's doing everything good. You know, if your heart isn't in it, this is a tough business not to have it in it. Like I said, I told him, whenever I have to make an important decision, I've made some important ones in my career, I always do the pluses and minuses and weigh it out and really talk through it with your wife, and what is best for your family when it really comes down to it, and you. Hopefully he did that, and this is what he thought was his best option.
(on if it's unusual for players to give it up in the middle of camp and the preseason)
It is a little, because of how hard the first three weeks are. I mean those are the most physical practices you're going to have are the first three weeks. Craig (Stevens) and I, for the last week, we've been talking about it, but I think this goes beyond last week. This goes on further back.
(on whether guys have tried to claim Craig Steven's perks from the OSPY's)
No, I haven't even talked about it. Until Craig (Stevens) signed the papers this morning it wasn't official. It's official now. We've got a lot of other things right now we're trying to get ready for.
(on how Anthony Fasano compares as a blocker to Craig Stevens)
The one thing about Anthony (Fasano) is he's been around the league for a long time for a reason. He's very deceptive of how he does things. He can set up some blocks. He can be as effective as Craig (Stevens) is. Craig (Stevens) is a little bit more physical doing it. Anthony (Fasano) does it a little bit more schematically to get the block done.
* (on if he worries about wearing down the other tight ends)*
Yeah, I mean we have an older group with the tight ends. That's been the case for the last couple of years. We've got some good, young tight ends with Alex (Ellis) and Jerome (Cunningham). Phillip (Supernaw) is still a young tight end, but we've got to watch their reps still. Again, a lot of that will come down to who makes the team, what do we do practice squad wise as far as roster numbers. That's right—take care of the older guys.
(on what went into his retirement decision as a player)
I was in a bone scan and when a lot of things lit up in my body, literally, I knew I was done. I had a lot of things wrong with my body physically. So when I walked away, there was no question that I was done.
(on if Craig Stevens pointed to his concussions as a reason for retirement)
No really, no. I know he's had a couple—whatever the deciding factor, I think it was more than that. I think it was a lot of things that went into it without saying, but I don't think that was specifically because that didn't come up in our conversation.
(On Derrick Henry's role in the offense)
Until we start putting game plans together and we get a good day-and-a-half of sitting there with an offense together, we'll find ways to get him on the field. We know what he's capable of doing. Again, I just want to be careful of—I did it one time where I went in and I started worrying about how many numbers guys would get, and it didn't work. So we're going to do what's best for the team like we've been doing from the beginning, and whatever that is, if he's a large part of it, it is. He'll have a role, definitely.
(on when it was that he focused on how many reps players would get)
That was 2002. That was one game.
(on if Derrick Henry has shown that he should be on the field)
Oh absolutely, yeah. And DeMarco (Murray) hasn't shown me any reason not to be on the field. It's going to be hard to get them all the ball. They all have a role to play. If they don't have it, they're going to play a piece in the play to make the play successful. But again, we have not gotten into a total game plan as of yet with all the guys we have now.
Titans players take the field for Wednesday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)