TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY MEDIA AVAILABILITY - Sept. 14, 2016
(on his thoughts on the Lions)
Very talented on offense, very talented. They score a lot of points and have some explosive players. Special teams wise, they have some core players that are probably some of the better ones in the NFL. We've got to handle them. And defensively, I think they fly around the ball with a lot of their hats on the ball like our defense. They play with maximum effort. I mean it's really impressive to watch them play.
(on the Lions' dual-threat running backs)
Yeah, they're a threat. They do a good job. They know their personnel. They know what they're capable of doing. They try to find the mismatches—which, you know, every team tries to do that—but they did a good job the first week of spreading guys out, get them on mismatches. If these guys catch the ball and you don't tackle them right away, it can lead to some bad things happening.
(on if the Lions have put more emphasis on the running backs without Calvin Johnson)
You know, I'm not going to say it's west coast (offense), but again, it's the west coast mentality of getting the ball in the playmakers hands. You can see they've got a lot of guys like that. Golden Tate's very similar—the slot player. These guys can make things happen on run after catch if you don't tackle them right away or in open space.
(on the importance of sustaining drives)
Very. That's critical. Again, that takes a lot of discipline and a lot of detail on our part. Obviously, not turning the football over, but that's us being good on third down again. We were the first week. We need to do it again. We need to sustain drives and put points on the board when we get down there.
(on if Kevin Dodd will play the full game this week)
Well, I don't think he'll go start to finish, but he'll get more reps. It will be tough to say because he hasn't been put in that position before where he's got to take a majority of the reps. We'll see what conditioning he's in, but also, if (Derrick) Morgan can't go, Aaron Wallace would be up. (David) Bass would be another guy. You know, we've got some guys that will go in there and fill in. Hopefully, your edge rushers are at top end when they're in there.
(on if he has noticed the numbers Matthew Stafford has been putting up since the end of last season)
Yeah, he's very confident. He's a very good quarterback. He has been. I mean you're not the No. 1 pick if people didn't believe you have that ability. They're very confident in what they're doing right now. They've won seven of their last nine games. He feels like he can make all the throws, and he can. He's shown that he can. A lot of it is getting the ball out of his hands quickly.
(on if the Lions spread the ball around to the receivers in Calvin Johnson's absence)
They did. They replaced him with some good pick ups in free agency. They've got some guys that are playmakers already, but the ones they added just made it a pretty good foundation of players.
(on how Taylor Decker is playing for the Lions at tackle)
He's playing pretty well. You know, their scheme is a little different than our scheme. They're a little more perimeter running, more zone scheme. They're not more gap, down hill—more sideline-to-sideline. He's doing that well. He really is. He's just a big body right there, a big body to get around.
(on if he preaches the message of staying the course to the team every day)
No, you know, it's one game. And they know they did a lot of good things in that game, regardless. We know we did, and we know the things we did that were not good. One thing we changed—it's the first time for me—on Monday, we watched the game film, we studied it, did all the corrections and then we came back and we had a team meeting right afterwards, and we just went right into the Lions and had an evaluation in all three phases. So when those guys walked out of the building, we were over the last one and on to Detroit on Monday. And that's typically not the case. You leave, you go away, you don't hear about the Lions until Wednesday. Now, they've been fed a good bit about this team starting Monday to get their mind right for the week ahead. That's going to be the routine.
(on if the new weekly routine was planned during the offseason)
Yeah, talking through it with some of the coaches, one coach had done that. I thought it was a good idea, and after doing it now for one week, I really like the idea. I think the players like it. I know I felt ready to move on after. What we're doing is we're letting other coaches other than myself talk, letting them talk about the opponent so they're hearing different voices. It was really productive.
(on if this routine shortens their review of the previous game)
No, we're actually adding 15 minutes to the day is all we're doing. It's the same amount of time they were here before—actually, 15 minutes longer than they've been here before.
(on what Marcus Mariota needs to improve upon from Week 1, other than his turnovers)
Well, there were some plays that broke down and he got rid of the ball instead of trying to make something. The play that we had the interception on was something he didn't do in the first half. He got rid of it, he threw it away, lived for another down, and I think he's been trying to do that. Obviously, we would like that in the second half, but I think that's a thing you won't see again from him—not a lot of mistakes after doing it one time.
(on if he worries about a young quarterback learning the balance between doing too much and playing timid)
No, I don't want to restrict him because he can make some great plays, too. When we were in a negative situation, he knew it was negative and he got rid of it. I've seen him make that play before. I think he'd bury it next time, go down, take a sack. There was some incidents even in the league this week, even some film we watched getting ready for Detroit, he saw some quarterbacks just take the sack and move on.
(on how he would rank Marcus Mariota's arm compared to Matthew Stafford)
I would think (Matthew) Stafford's got a little stronger arm. Their game is not down the field, either. I mean if you look at them, they're a short, get it out of his hands quickly, let his guys make something. Now, they will take their shots. We all do. But comparing notes, I think accuracy wise, in the short to intermediate, I think they're good. They are comparable.
(on the importance of getting Delanie Walker more involved)
Yeah, we're trying to get Delanie (Walker) involved. We did Game 1. We talk about it. We know his importance and the role he can play, and defenses know the same thing, just like you guys know. They did a good job of taking a couple things away from us. We're not going to stop trying to get the ball to Delanie Walker.
(on Marcus Mariota's development for having only started 13 NFL games)
You would not know he was 13 games into his career based on what his command of what we're doing is, putting us in the right—I mean if you watch some of the no-huddle, how many times he can move the offense to get us in the right set to execute the right play. He's very good at managing the clock. Whether it's a huddle or no-huddle, he puts us in the right protections. He puts us on the right guys. For a guy that's only started this many games in the NFL, I think he's doing very well.
(on what this week is like given that his son works for the Lions)
Well, it's really been nice the last four weeks because he's scouted us, so I've seen him three of the four weeks, which has been very nice. There is a win in this thing somehow. I mean I'm hoping it's us. It's funny, I asked him last night who his mom was actually rooting for. I think she's biased to whoever is asking. It's nice that he's in the league. I'm really proud of him. He's really good at what he does. It will be fun to go against him.
(on if there is an advantage for his son having been around Mularkey's teams before)
Well, it was funny because he had just gotten done doing the advanced scouting report on us and he said, 'You're one of the more complicated teams based on what you do offensively and defensively.' He said, 'I put the staple in the report, and as soon as I do that, you guys claim Josh Kline, and I have to take this whole thing apart and start all over again with new numbers.' And he said, 'It's just so frustrating. What's Kline's number going to be?' And I said, 'I can't tell you that. That's a competitive advantage.' So we're having a little fun with it.
Nashville Predators All-Stars P.K. Subban and James Neal visit Titans practice Wednesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
(on having a few of the Predators players at practice today)*
That's really cool. You know, I talk to (Predators Head Coach) Peter (Laviolette) all the time. We've become good friends since the season. He asked if the players could come out. The coaching staff is going to be out here soon to take a look at our facility. The players showing their support is really good for our guys. I think it's neat on both ends.
(on what it does for the city for the teams to support each other)
There's nothing wrong with it. There's nothing negative. I think it's outstanding that the two teams can support each other like they do.
(on where he would line up Predators defenseman P.K. Subban)
He's pretty tough. He can line up in a lot of places.
(on if Nissan Stadium's renovations are suitable for the team)
I think they've done an outstanding job. I mean it's like this facility. There is a lot of new there. I'm out of that boat and out of the loop there, but there's a lot of good things they've upgraded just this year.
(on if he has heard if Avery Williamson will get fined)
I haven't heard anything, but I am checking my emails quite frequently.
(on the report that Avery Williamson will not be fined)
That's great. I mean that's the right thing to do. Avery (Williamson) did the right thing and the NFL is doing the right thing.
(on an injury update on Kendall Wright and Derrick Morgan)
I'm probably not going to have Kendall (Wright) back. I'm hoping he just progresses each day. He did some good things today. I need to see, really, a good full week of Kendall before I put him out on the field. And (Derrick) Morgan—again, we were going to hold him no matter what today and see how he goes tomorrow, but there is a chance he could play.
(on if Kendall Wright will not play on Sunday)
I would not think so, no.
Titans players take the field for Wednesday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn, Amber Harding)