TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY MEDIA AVAILABILITY - Oct. 5, 2016
(on if the changes on the offensive line are taking effect)
I think we're blocking pretty well up front. I think Taylor (Lewan)—he's really played well all year. Jack's (Conklin) been a really good addition for us, obviously. Ben (Jones)—another. A lot of experience with Quinton Spain—guys that have had some time together. Obviously, Chance (Warmack) is out of the picture now, but we're blocking better. We're doing some things differently scheme-wise, as well, to help with the protections. Hopefully, it continues on. That's the plan.
(on how much he has talked to Jack Conklin about the game Cameron Wake had against the Titans last year)
I'm sure Russ (Grimm) has said a few things. We've put the tape on. He's been a disruptive force his whole career. I think they're doing a good job of prolonging his career by the way they're using him and the sub-packages. He's full of energy when he comes out there. He's not worn out. He'll be a challenge, so we need to give him some help.
(on if he has heard anything from the NFL about Hurricane Matthew's impact on the game)*
No, again, I haven't been involved in that. All I know is internally, we always have plans for all away games. This one, just with the weather conditions, you've got to talk through the what-ifs if that happens. So I don't know anything with what's going on with the NFL. I know I have a bunch of family in Fort Lauderdale still that I'm more concerned about than anything. I mean they're evacuating all the way up through Jacksonville, so it's got to be a big one to be doing that.
(on when the NFL will make a decision about potentially moving the game)
I think the rules are they have to make a decision by Thursday. I mean that's just league policy for anything that happens, not just in this case.
(on if the game would be moved to Nashville, a neutral site or a different day)
Yeah, I don't know. I really don't know that far. Again, I've got enough things on my plate that are keeping me busy. I'll be told when and where to be. Right now, we're all planning on going to Miami on Saturday and play Sunday. That's the plan.
(on if he has a home in Fort Lauderdale)
No, my mom's got a condo down there and I've got a brother and sister down there and a lot of nephews and nieces. I've got a lot of people down there, which again, I'm concerned with the storm coming in there.
(on if he ever lived in Florida when a hurricane came through)
I was, and there wasn't any parties, I can tell you that. It was batten down the hatches and be smart. They're nothing to mess with.
(on how Kendall Wright has been doing)
Better. Again, you've got to realize, this is like Week 3 of training camp for Kendall (Wright), maybe even two. He's doing better. His conditioning is better than I thought. Obviously, he's worked hard with the time off with the injury. But again, he's got to get into the passing game. He's missed a lot of time, a lot of timing, a lot of reps that are critical when it comes to especially third downs. The more the better for him.
(on if they have worked on chemistry between quarterbacks and wide receivers this week)
We did today. At the start of individual, we did some things. We'll do really more tomorrow than we have any day since we've been out here for the four weeks.
(on if repetition is the key to improving timing)
It's repetition, rush, everything—everything that goes into the passing game, starting with the snaps. Today we had some snaps that threw off the timing. It all plays a role in the outcome of the play. We're going to have a period tomorrow that's strictly a pass period, team pass, and we'll get good work at it.
(on if Ben Jones has had some problems with shotgun snaps)
We were a little inconsistency, yeah. That's something you've got to work on.
(on how a bad snap affects the quarterback)
It's part of it. It's part of the timing. Not every play is a timing throw. The out routes, we call them 'bend the deep' route, they're all not like that, but they're coordinated by the yards his steps—three, five and seven. And it is, it's a fine line. It's got to be good every time. It's like a long snapper with punting or field goals. If it's not precise every time, just like that bit—that one tenth or two tenths—could be the difference in getting blocked, so it's got to be exact.
(on what can be done to help Tajae Sharpe slow down in games and run routes precisely)
Let him watch, let him keep playing, let him get experience, let him watch the games and teach him, as we are. He's learning a ton for a young player, really is. He started out so fast, I think there's so much expectations put on him. But he's still, again—now we're talking about we're in these real NFL games. There's a lot of things going on fast. There's game plans with a lot on his plate. The more he plays, the better he's going to be.
(on if Andre Johnson took some of Rishard Matthews' snaps last week)
A little bit. I think what we're going to do, even to help with Tajae (Sharpe) is try to get Rishard (Matthews) some more snaps over at the X. We want to get them all. We've got a lot of football to play. We want them fresh throughout the whole season.
(on the reason for the switch between Rishard Matthews and Andre Johnson)
We were rotating series, like we had done prior. We started Dre (Andre Johnson) last week. They've been rotating, and it really wasn't a matter of this many plays for one or the other. It was just the way the rotation went.
(on if he is satisfied with the number of play-action plays to set up the passing game)
Probably not as much as I'd like. I think there's some things—we had chances to hit some big plays last week off of play-action and missed a big one. We had a read route and had the wrong read or we had a shot over the top. I think they'll come more consistently. We've hit some but not like I'd like to.
(on if more repetition is the key to using the play-action productively)
I think it is—more reps, these guys all working together. It's a fresh crew working with Marcus (Mariota). I think the more they see, the more we can teach them, the better, especially the young players.
(on if the Dolphins use their running backs based on personnel groupings or a set rotation)
Yeah, I'm not sure of the exact reasoning behind that. I'm not sure if it's personnel-specific. There is a rotation. I'm not sure what it is, but I think they're doing a good job. The way they're subbing and using their personnel is a credit to that coaching staff.
(on how Steve Hoffman has embraced his added responsibilities this week)
Well, we had a good meeting this morning. We're going to do some things differently in a lot of ways without showing our hand, but we are going to do some things differently. Steve's (Hoffman) done it enough that it didn't even look like it affected him. He's got a lot more on his plate than he was expecting this week, but he's done good with the meeting. It's just like my situation last year. In the middle of the year, you can't just completely overhaul the whole special teams unit. You've got to keep some things, especially with young players that we have playing on it. You've got to keep them consistent. He'll have a little bit of his own philosophy in it. He's already started that.
(on if they have considered adding starters to special teams)
We always consider that. Yeah, if we can do that. Based on the role, they're always discussed.
(on if players approach the coaches and express a desire to play special teams)
I wish they would. Really, you'd like guys, especially young guys, to go to Steve (Hoffman) and say, 'Get me on there.' I mean, when I talk about the evaluation part, I want to know who wants to be on them. Who is eager to get on them? And we have some guys that have done that. That's what you want. Those are the kind of guys you want running down on kickoff—guys that want to be on it.
(on how much of a perfectionist Marcus Mariota is and if it's always a good thing)
I think it's a pretty good thing. Yeah, I don't see any problem with it. That's what we expect when they walk into the building, to be detailed in what they're doing. It's important to him. If it's important to you, you want it done right. If that's perfection, that's fine with me.
(on if he could see that Marcus Mariota has been lazy with his footwork as he stated)
I could see that. I could see him saying that, yeah.
(on if losses have weighed on Marcus Mariota or he moves on well)
I haven't seen anything really weigh on him. I mean, some of the things that's happened to him, even in some of these games, there's numerous times that he could have allowed it to happen. I haven't seen it happen since I've been here with him.
(on to what he attributes Marcus Mariota's ability to not let things weigh on him)
I don't know—the way he was brought up, the way he's done things his whole life. He doesn't worry about things he can't control. He's on to the next thing.
(on how much better he needs Marcus Mariota to be in games)
I think we all have to get better, not just Marcus (Mariota). There's guys that can help him be better, including the coaching staff, myself, his teammates. There's a lot of things that will help him get better, including him. He's working all of his traits every day when he walks in here.
(on what concerns him the most through the first quarter of the season)
Obviously, we'd like to get off to a faster start, if I had to think of something. We deferred last week to put our defense out there to make a statement. Basically, every time we've deferred since I've been here for three years, we haven't done a very good job of doing that. Am I going to do that again? At some point, yeah I am. We have to stop a team on the first drive. We'd like to have a three-and-out the first time. If anything, that's probably, I'd say, the starts need to get (better). But I do like the way they compete. I love the way they compete. I love that we have a chance. Every week we step on the field, the way they compete, we've got a chance to win every game.
(on what he sees from Ryan Tannehill on film)
Well, he's in a new offense. There's a lot of intricacies with this offense. When former players that were in it, they didn't start out in a bang. Peyton (Manning) really understood the system, and a lot of that is his system that he kind of created on the run. I still see the guy that's been very productive in his career. I still think he's a guy that can hurt you with his feet and his arm. I see a smart guy, and I see a guy that we need to make sure we keep him in the pocket, or he can be dangerous outside of it.
(on his expectations for Angelo Blackson moving forward)
Well, he's going to get a lot more playing time than he did. Obviously, we need production as much as we can. Austin Johnson is the same. We need to see those two step up and be disruptive and be violent and be a force inside.
(on if the Dolphins' wide nine scheme on defense alters the offensive game plan)
It's different than other schemes. The run game is different. Obviously, the protections—they're just trying to box you in. It's a good scheme. We've faced it a couple times already this year, but there are ways to counter it, and we'll be ready for it.
(on if the Dolphins' defense forces an opposing offense to run up the middle)
They're kind of trying to force you to run up the middle because there's a big ole guy, [No.] 93, sitting in there waiting on you. So they're kind of trying to force you to do that. The further you can expand them, and obviously, it's going to be hard to get outside of them, but the further you can expand it and hit it, the more creases there are inside.
Titans players take the field for Wednesday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)