TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY MEDIA AVAILABILITY - Sept. 28, 2016
(on not facing J.J. Watt this week)
He's a great player. You hate to see really any player get hurt. That's unfortunate. I mean, I don't like to see that, just like it was when Teddy (Bridgewater) was injured in Minnesota. You really don't want to see anybody be hurt and not have a chance to compete.
(on if J.J. Watt's injury impacts the offensive game plan)
No, they have a pretty good front there, so we have a lot of guys we have to handle up there. The way Romeo (Crennel) works these guys over every position defensively, especially when you get into sub-situations, really J.J. (Watt) could have been over anybody. So absolutely no change is going to be made to the game plan. The game plan was already in place and nothing will change based on the injury.
(on if the Texans often have five players on their defensive line)
Yeah, there's a lot of one-on-ones up front. That's a good scheme. Oakland was very similar. You're getting matchups across the board, a lot of one-on-ones with your line. You've got to game plan that, and again, it's the five that are lined up across from you. They're very good, all of them.
(on if he sees a difference in Jadeveon Clowney)*
You know, I've seen him inside with the package that Romeo (Crennel)—again, he's been moved all over. But when they go in their base defense, he's inside as an end. He's real disruptive. He comes off the ball. He has that kind of mentality to blow the gap up, and again, that's an issue, especially if you have some problems hearing during the game. I think he's been real disruptive as an end. He's hard to block, I don't care where he lines up.
(on if there is an advantage for either team when a quarterback is facing an opposing team for the first time)
I don't know. This can happen a lot. Marcus (Mariota)—he hasn't started a lot of games. He's going to be facing a lot of teams for the first time, so I don't know if there's an advantage or not. He'll know them as well as he can as far as film and the work we're putting in with him with the game plan. Other than that, he's got to get a feel for it live, and that's the only way. That's the best way is experience.
(on how many of Marcus Mariota's interceptions can be attributed to him or to other factors)
I think it's everybody. I mean you can include the coaching—I think it's everybody when it comes to turnovers. We work with him out here, especially when the ball's been out of hands on scrambles. We're going to keep doing that. Until we get it right, we've got to keep doing that. The interceptions—again, it's one thing or another, it's execution of the play, maybe a different decision by Marcus (Mariota). The first game, he threw a couple of those away and got rid of it and made plays to give us another down. Other ones, I thought our guys could make plays. This past game, we had some situations, I thought we could have made some plays on those balls.
(on why he thinks Marcus Mariota has been more successful in road games)
I don't know if there's a pattern there. I can't tell you that.
(on how much of Marcus Mariota's interceptions are mechanical versus mental)
Yeah, there's one thing or another. It can be him moving and not being able to set his feet. I don't think it's mental, to be honest with you. I think it's something out of the ordinary that's making him, because he's a very accurate quarterback—I mean a very accurate quarterback. I'd say more of that than anything, just disrupting him in the pocket.
(on if any of Marcus Mariota's interceptions have been the result of him not being able to step into the pocket)
That's some of it, yeah. That's some of it. That's every week. I mean that's No. 1 is we've got to disrupt the quarterback and be in his face one way or another, off the edge or up the middle. No different for Marcus (Mariota).
(on how he would define what it means to get into an offensive rhythm)
I will attribute that directly to third downs. When you can't convert third downs or you have opportunities to, balls are there to convert them, it's hard. You've got another set of downs, you've already got your next series—hey, when we get the first, we're going to this—and then all of sudden, you don't. It just kind of blows the rhythm of your offense. We had a number of those this past week. We only converted one. The first third down we had of the game was the only one we converted. It's hard to get into a rhythm and move the ball if you don't make a third down. Up until last week, we're pretty good on third down.
(on if the best way to not worry about third downs is to convert earlier)
Right, yeah, I mean that's one thing. Make first downs on first and second down, but try to stay out of third-and-longs. That's another thing we failed to do this last game. We failed to do that one way or another—negative play because of a mental error, negative play because of a penalty. You know, we were first-and-five and ended up third-and-19 on the same series. Those are things that we have to do a better job of.
(on if Marcus Mariota is being disrupted less than last season)
I would say that, yes.
(on if Marcus Mariota is throwing more interceptions this season while being disrupted less)
In your opinion, yes. I mean I would say that if you want to break it down that way—I'd just say I'm looking at this year more than I am even anything last year. I'm just telling you what's taking place in '16.
(on if he senses it's important to Andre Johnson to have a good game against Houston)
I'd be shocked if he didn't think it was important. He's got a lot of good friends and teammates. He's got a lot of respect around the league, especially with that franchise. I know it's important to him—he's going to compete like he does every week. I mean he's not going to have wasted energy on it. He's going to compete and he's going to want to win for us.
(on if Ben Jones has been what he hoped when the Titans signed him)
Ben's (Jones) been great. Yeah, Ben has been outstanding for this team, for this line. He's a fun player, he's a tough player, he likes football, he likes playing, he likes the guys around him, they like him, he's easy to follow and I think our line's better because of Ben.
(on what they will do at receiver if Kendall Wright is back this week)
No, we actually have some factors we've got to work with this week. Receiver is a position based on Kendall (Wright), tight end with Delanie (Walker). We think he's going to be able to play. We purposely did not practice him today. We'd like to think he's going to play, but again, until we see him by Friday, that's another area that we have to be concerned with. Cody Riggs out here just pulled a slight hamstring. That's another position. So this is probably the biggest week of the four that we've had to make some decisions on who's going to be up and down. That may come down to Sunday at 10:30.
(on if they take a different approach with inactives when players are coming back from injury)
Right, it's coming off of that and you're talking about positions that kind of relate with each other—slots, Delanie (Walker), Kendall (Wright)—and then finding where you can get that other spot from is difficult right now.
(on if he thinks this game will be a low-scoring, defensive battle)
These are very similar defenses, very similar offenses. They're 50-50 basically run-pass. They like to run the football. As far back as I can remember, they are tops in time of possession. They're no different—they're fifth again. They have the ball for 34 minutes a game. That's what we want to do. We want to be kind of in that range of time of possession. It's going to be very close. I think it's going to come down to, as it does every Sunday, who plays better football and doesn't make a lot of mistakes and turn the ball over. I think that's going to be the difference, like it is every week.
(on why DeMarco Murray's numbers have been more similar to his time in Dallas than in Philadelphia)
I think the runs are very similar to what he had some success with. I really think that has a lot to do with it—very similar runs.
(on what it says about DeMarco Murray that he seems to get stronger throughout the course of a game)
He is a competitive player. The look on his face on the sideline, I was like, 'We've got to get him the ball again.' He wants it. Actually, he didn't want to come out after the long run. We just figured he needed a break and sent Derrick (Henry) in, and I could see the look on his face was like, 'Don't ever do that again.' No, he did, and that's kind of been his history. He's a good runner from the beginning, but he definitely got stronger in that game. He was making a lot of yards after contact, a lot of yards.
(on if he asks Ben Jones about the Texans' tendencies)
Yes, we've done that. Even Andre (Johnson), we asked him about it. We have an evaluation on Monday of all three phases of their team. Again, I get up and present the overall look. I had Ben (Jones) and Andre step up and talk about the team as a whole and what they can tell us about where they're at, what happens after a loss. All the things that they could tell us, they presented to the team. Just as a side note, Tim Shaw got up and did our special teams preview and did an unbelievable job. He studied film all week and presented their special teams report to us, and it was outstanding, really good.
(on how Kendall Wright practiced today)
Really, I was pretty pleased with Kendall (Wright). Some of the things we had him running, the routes, just the quickness out of the breaks—where he has been tentative, he wasn't today. Today he looked like Kendall. I'll be anxious to see if he's the same tomorrow.
(on if Tim Shaw will be a regular part of weekly preparation)
Tim (Shaw) has been around. He couldn't be here last Monday. He was out of town. He knows he's part of it. He can't make this trip. He's going to try to make the next trip. He's welcome here. He knows that. I asked him if he'd been interested in doing that. He immediately couldn't wait to do it, and he did an outstanding job, outstanding.
Titans players take the field for Wednesday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn, Amber Harding)