TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY MEDIA AVAILABILITY - Dec. 7, 2016
(on practice participation)
The only one that did not practice was Jurrell (Casey). Everybody else was full-go.
(on if he will allow Jurrell Casey to return at his own pace)
Yeah, definitely. I mean, where he is and where we are this time of the season, that's the smartest thing to do. That's an easy decision on my part.
(on Derrick Henry's development since training camp)
I think the more he gets familiar with the offense and what we're doing, especially in the protection scheme, he's playing faster. Derrick (Henry)—he's been impressive since day one since he's been here and taken advantage of every opportunity he's had.
(on if he is confident or hopeful that Jurrell Casey will be ready to play Sunday)
A little bit of both. I know Jurrell (Casey) pretty well. I know he's going to play if he can play. We've got lots of time before that day. I think we're handling it the right way the way we're treating it and holding him out of some of the stuff. Again, it's early in the week.
(on what the term "December football" means)
Well, it's in the middle. It's December 7th. We're in the thick of things, tied for first place. We haven't been that way here since I've been here. A lot of these guys haven't been that way, even before I got here. It's important football. They understand that. You can tell by the way we practiced today, the way we practiced Monday. You can tell it's a different mindset. It's a much more fun atmosphere and a lot of energy in the building.
(on if he tells the team to worry about itself and not about what other teams are doing)
Yeah, it's totally out of our control. There's nothing we can do. We've got to worry about ourselves. We have enough that we have to do this week with Denver coming in here. That's enough to worry about. That's been the message. It's been clear and consistent all along.
(on why DeMarco Murray practiced this week after being limited in previous Wednesday practices)
I haven't been resting him on Wednesday's. I've been watching his foot for the last few Wednesday's. He's getting better, so I practiced him today.
(on if the Broncos' defensive weakness against the run is a favorable matchup for the Titans' offense)
If you read stats and you believe stats, it looks like it's a perfect marriage, but I know better than that. Look, Wade Phillips has been around a long time. He knows what our identity and our philosophy is. I'm not going to worry about the numbers. It's a very good front. They'll be ready for the run. I know that, and we'll be ready to throw it against their No. 1 pass defense. It will be a good challenge, though. There's no question about that.
(on if Jack Conklin's success as a rookie does not happen often)
No, I haven't seen—I was in Pittsburgh when we drafted (Alan) Faneca. I haven't seen a lot of guys that have been able to come in—and at some point, even, you hear about the rookie wall—he's been steady from day one. He needs to continue to do that, but really, really nice addition.
(on why Jack Conklin has had continued success)
He's confident, very confident in his ability. I think he trusts what we're teaching, trusts Russ (Grimm), trusts what we're doing. This is not far off from what he did at Michigan State as far as the mentality and the philosophy here. He's probably more comfortable than he would be in maybe some other offenses.
(on if most teams are using two-on-one protection or chipping Von Miller on almost every play)
Not on what I've watched on tape. No, there's a lot of times he's still singled up out there. Teams are getting some chips on him, but it's hard to do every play. It's hard to do, but he's that good, he should be.
(on how Taylor Lewan has impacted Jack Conklin's development)
I think a lot. Taylor (Lewan), if you watch him in the building or out on the practice field, he does a lot of things really well. He works hard. All you have to do is watch some of the guys that have been here on how to practice and how to meet and how to do things the right way. Taylor's been doing that.
(on what makes the Broncos' secondary good)
They're good up front, so there's a lot of pressure, a lot of throws that are not comfortable—the quarterback's uncomfortable in the pocket. Then you've got guys that are very good cover guys. They've got three corners that can cover as well as anybody in the league. It's very sound. It's not complicated. You don't see a lot of guys out of place. They're very confident in what they're doing, but it's good personnel playing a very simple scheme.
(on his confidence in the wide receivers winning one-on-one matchups against the Broncos' secondary)
Yeah, I do. I feel very good about our guys, especially, like you said, in the last six weeks, eight weeks. I think we've come a long way out there and I think gained a lot of confidence out there.
(on why Trevor Siemian has been effective on third downs and in the fourth quarter)
I think he's gotten better every game. The more experience he's getting, the better he's gotten, all the way up to the Kansas City game. You see improvement every game. Third down and fourth quarter—he's got a couple veteran receivers that are certainly helping in those areas when he needs to throw the ball.
(on if the bye week helped re-energize the team)
Yeah, I think when they came back in here Monday, the practice was as good a practice as I've been around after a bye. They had a couple extra days more than they normally do on a bye, and you would not tell they've had time off the way they've practiced. It's been good for them.
(on if he is eager to see how the offense line handles the Denver pass rush)
It will be a good challenge. Our O-line has done well. Again, I've got to give credit to the backs, as well. They've done a good job of helping in the protection. I think our coaching staff has done a good job with how we've schemed to help our O-line, our backs. And again, as much as I've been on our receivers, our receivers in the last six to eight weeks have helped our O-line by doing things the right way. Everybody's involved when the protection is good, not just the O-line, but the O-line has played well.
(on if this game is significant to former Bronco Wesley Woodyard)
I would think. I mean, you'd have to ask Wes (Woodyard), but I would think that, yes.
(on how LeShaun Sims is developing and if he will start at cornerback)
He's doing good. I think every rep is important for him out here. We're getting a good look by our guys. I'll probably make a decision more towards the end of the week on that.
(on how much of the cornerback rotation at Chicago was a product of Jason McCourty's injury and if it will continue)
That will, again, be a game-time decision. He's played a lot of snaps. When we get our breakdown on guys of how far they've run and how much energy and what they've burned, some of that is trying to give them some relief so when they are out there, they're more at full-strength.
(on his biggest concern for the team coming off the bye week)
I have none right now. If I would have had them, it would have been Monday not having a good day of work and follow it up today, but we've had two very good workdays. I haven't even thought about being off the bye right now. I'm already back into the week of getting ready to play a game.
Titans players take the field for Wednesday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)