HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT - Tuesday, December 27, 2017
(on the team's injuries)
26 did not practice, Logan Ryan, and DeMarco (Murray) did not practice, probably a game-time decision. Logan (Ryan), I'm hoping by the end of the week, I didn't really anticipate him going today. Other than that, everybody else was full participation.
(on the importance of having running back DeMarco Murray in the game, even if it's in a limited role)
Because he's really good at a lot of things, and if we can get something from him, again, being smart about it, where it's not going to hinder you at all offensively, then I think you look at those options. He does some good things, especially in the protection scheme, that we like.
(on having quarterback Marcus Mariota available for the regular-season finale being a nice change)
I hadn't thought about that, but yeah, you're right. It's good, it's a good game to have him for, obviously, it's a very important one for our football team. We're pretty much healthy with the exception of DeMarco (Murray). I'm pretty pleased with that.
(on how he gauges Marcus Mariota's third season)
Well, you have to remember he's coming off a pretty significant injury from last year. Then he got dinged up, he's had some things that have been dinged up this year. For the most part, been pretty pleased. I think that he's the first quarterback that's thrown from 3,000 in a long time. I don't know what the year was, but it's been a long time. Would we like him better? Obviously, we all would. We'll look at it again overall, the whole team and each player, when the season's over.
(on if he saw the report that DeMarco Murray has a third-degree MCL tear)
I saw that. I read that on the screen, I did.
(on if the report that DeMarco Murray has a third-degree MCL tear is accurate)
That's not what I was told. I'll leave it at that.
(on what went into the decision to practice indoors)
I'd like to say it was the cold, but it was our cameras. It wasn't just one, they all would not go up and give us a good view to video our practice. We've got to watch the film, so we went inside. I'm going to check to see if there's any players that had anything to do with that. I thought it was the players, then they blamed the video crew.
(on if there have been any occasions in which Marcus Mariota has stuck to the plan in the huddle rather than adapted to what he's seen on his interceptions)
No, I don't. He's pretty good about the progression of what we ask him to do. I don't think he's definitely locking on to one guy and throwing to that one guy. I don't believe that.
(on wide receiver Corey Davis improving the last few weeks after missing time early in the season)
Yeah, he's done a lot of good things, really good things. He's understanding a lot of what we're trying to accomplish, some of that is just patience in the route running. He still has some improvement he has to go. There were some things in this last game that I know we would like him to do better, but he's definitely come along. I think Marcus (Mariota) has a much better trust level in him. He's got a great future.
(on what he saw from Marcus Mariota in the second half of the Rams game that made the offense more effective)
Well we got into a little bit more of a rhythm. We were just completing some balls. We made some third downs early, early in the second half, not early in the game. Just got into more of a rhythm. Unfortunately, not enough to go through the red zone and finish the red zone like you'd like to.
(on how important the offensive rhythm is)
That's the difference in that game, that's the difference. You look at the numbers in that game, it's even all the way down with the exception of third-down in the red zone. Red zone was the difference.
(on if they watch the tape from the Week 2 meeting between the Titans and the Jaguars)
Oh yeah, you look at that. You look at the previous one. They'll do the same thing. We look at more than just that one, we go back a number of games and look at them.
(on what Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has done to improve this season)
I think just the balance. Obviously, being able to run the football has helped them. It's helped in their play-action game, without question. He's made some throws, he's really made some throws. They designed some good things to get the ball down the field, and made the throws when they've counted. He's been productive when they've needed him to make some plays.
(on winning the trenches against the Jaguars in Week 2 and wanting to duplicate that)
This is a good defense we're going up against. If you remember last time, I think it was 6-3 at half, and both teams were just beating each other at the line of scrimmage to try and establish something, see if anything could get going, and really didn't happen until the second half. We'll see how it happens this game. I know they're number one in the league rushing the football, I would assume that would be part of their plan, pretty sure of that. It'll be a physical game.
(on if the Week 2 matchup against the Jaguars was the best job the team has done protecting Marcus Mariota all season)
I'd say probably was. At that time, because of what took place the week before against Houston with the 20 sacks, we went in there determined to protect him and our guys did a nice job.
(on how much he takes out of this game from a bigger picture perspective)
It's an important game, and I've said that to them. Every game we've played in an important game, every game we've played has had a difference in us being able to go and move on to the next step. This game is as big as the last one we just played, it's as big as the Oakland one we played. Every game, that's why it's so important to win in this league when you can. It doesn't matter how, just get the wins.
(on how much running back Derrick Henry would relish the opportunity to 'lead the way' in the event that DeMarco Murray can't play)
He's definitely ready. You've got to remember, he's from down there, that area. He's ready to play. He's ready to take more on.
(on if running back David Fluellen is ready to take on more responsibility)
He's ready too. He's ready every week, he has to be. We just haven't had to get to him, but he is ready.
(on if the team needs a third back in the event that DeMarco Murray doesn't play)
We're talking about that. Typically, you're true fullback is an emergency back, which we don't have one now. Now you're talking about being down two backs, if you really want to look at it.
(on if he expects the Jaguars to play to win and play their starters)
I'm pretty sure they were trying to win the last time they played us. I would anticipate everything they have for a lot of reasons. I wouldn't expect anything less, just like if we were in that same position, you would get everything we have to win the game.
(on if Derrick Henry getting fewer carries the past few games is better because he has fresh legs or a bigger responsibility to increase his number of carries)
He can carry a load. The one thing about our guys, and I give them a lot of credit, especially this time of year, there's a lot of banged up players, they continue to work in the weight room, the conditioning part of it. They're still in top condition from when they started way back in July. That's hard to do in this business. He's one of them, for sure.
(on Corey Davis having a strong performance against Rams CB Trumaine Johnson now headed into face Jaguars cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye)
It'll be a good challenge for him. But I promise you, he'll be ready for that challenge. I think all the wideouts are looking forward to it.
(on how good the duo of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are)
(on if after three losses, if he tells the team 'one win and you're in,' and if it's that simple)
It's pretty simple, that's a fact. That's an absolute fact. You've got one chance, one more chance.
(on what it would mean to the veterans who have never experienced the postseason to make the playoffs)
It's something that they've worked for, they've earned. It would be something I'd like to be able to have happen for them. I think everybody on this team would like to see that happen. There's a lot of guys, not as many years, but the Avery (Williamson's), four years, that's still a long time not to have a chance to get a playoff chance. There's a lot of guys in that room that would like that opportunity.
(on if it would mean anything to him to clinch a playoff spot against the team he used to coach for)
Not anymore. I want these guys to have some success, it just so happens to be the Jaguars. But no, not any more than anyone else.
(on a victory this Sunday likely setting up a rematch a week later in Jacksonville)
That sounds like that's the possibility. Whoever we have next, if that's it, that's it.
(on if he thinks about the team's next opponent)
No, you've got to win this one. You have to win this game. You can't go, 'Hey, we can't show this or show that.' You have to have a plan to win this game, worry about everything else after that.
(on if the possibility of a rematch factors into what the Jaguars will or won't show them)
They have more of that possibility, yes.
Titans players take the field for Wednesday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)