HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - January 3, 2018**
(on the team's injuries)
DeMarco (Murray) did not practice today. I'm holding out hope. Logan Ryan and (Da'Norris) Searcy were both ill and were not here. Brice (McCain) we held out with a hamstring. Hopefully we'll get those three back tomorrow, we'll see.
(on if tight end Jonnu Smith and cornerback Kalan Reed have cleared concussion protocol)
They still have to go through one more little test today sometime here in the next hour or so.
(on if he needs to see running back DeMarco Murray go through a full practice to play on Saturday)
He could be limited. He's going to have to be in pretty good… I'm not going to put him out there if he's… Do I have to see him full? No, but I need to see that he can do it enough.
(on if running back Derrick Henry will improve this coming week)
I think he's going to hit some holes a little bit. Try to bounce some things that he'd like to hit it up in there and try to stay away from negative plays if we can.
(on if there is a bug going around, in regards to safety Da'Norris Searcy and cornerback Logan Ryan's illnesses)
No, it's been going around for a couple of months. We've had a guy almost every week missing practice because of being sick.
(on making something out of nothing on broken plays being able to give the offense a spark)
They're part of the game, they're part of keeping drives alive. Marcus (Mariota's) run there at the end, that was a broken, and obviously, made a play out of a broken play and was part of winning the game by doing that. They can be explosive plays.
(on if they've had explosive plays out of broken plays show up with regularity)
It doesn't feel like it after last game, it just doesn't feel like it. Yeah, they have. We've had them, but not last game.
(on how the threat of quarterback Marcus Mariota running can change the run game)
Well I think you've seen what he's capable of doing when we do have him at least somewhat full strength. It is a threat, it definitely is. It levels the playing surface. It gives you hats on your hats. I think they saw what he's capable of doing more this past game than, obviously, previous games before that. It's definitely a threat.
(on if there could be more chances on interior zone read)
We'll see, we'll definitely see.
(on why Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has been good at limiting turnovers, and if that's something that they hope to change)
He's been doing that for a while. He's playing very smart with the ball, he's not trying to force throws. This offense has got a little bit of the West-Coast flair to it, getting the ball out of his hands into, I'd say, playmakers hands and let them make yards with it instead of trying to make it all up in the air. He's made some good decisions.
(on what he's seen from his red-zone offense and what they need to do to get more touchdowns in the red zone)
The first thing is we've got to do a better job on third down there to continue drives. There's been really, execution's been really inconsistent down there. We're trying to clean it up, obviously, we know we've got to do it, maybe with one game. I like what we have for this week.
(on if running back Derrick Henry's negative plays this past Sunday were a result of something he did or because of bad blocking)
There's a lot of bodies up there, I said that yesterday. A lot of bodies, a lot of guys, they had safeties, corners, fire in, they had a bunch of people up there to stop the run. Sometimes it doesn't look like there's a whole lot there, but there were other runs in that game where it didn't look like there was much and when he did hit it that whole pile moved and we were making four or five yards. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but over time those four and fives tend to make up when you hit those piles. I think he see's that now. That's experience.
(on how much is it necessary to throw something against the large number of bodies at the line)
That's important. You've got to keep them off balance, that's where your play-action game comes into play. You've got it picked up for the most part, you've just got to make plays when you call them.
(on how big a player like linebacker Jayon Brown can be this week when it comes to defending Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce)
There'll be a couple of guys that will have their hands full with him, based on who gets the assignment on the defensive call. He is a handful to have to handle, and we've got a number of guys we feel good about. I think Kevin Byard is going to have a day with him. It's easier said than done, covering this guy.
(on young players stepping up)
Yeah, they have. We've got a lot of young guys playing, we've got a lot of young guys starting and making a contribution to help us get to this point. I think it's been good. Hopefully they're not taking this too big and not trying to do anything more than they have to, but it's been good to see some young guys. Austin Johnson, I thought he had one of his better games last week. Need to have one from him again. We have a number of guys that need to step up this week.
(on how much younger players having success energizes the veterans)
They're doing their job, they're seeing that they're doing their job. They're doing what they're supposed to do. Guys are relying on each other to do their job, and that's how you have each other's back. You do yours, I trust you, your teammate's doing his, and that's how big plays, and that's how plays happen.
(on if he said anything to wide receiver Eric Decker after he dropped passes to encourage him)
I don't think you need to say anything. I think he knows, he's been in the league long enough, it's not about the previous play, it's about the next play. This one's about the next game. He's made a lot of plays for us and needs to do that this weekend. No, I didn't have to say anything to him.
(on what the Chiefs did to work their way out of their mid-season rut and get back on track)
More consistency. I didn't go all the way back, I don't, so that far back with the games, so I don't have a lot of film work on it. I know what I've seen as of late. They're playing real consistent, not making a lot of mistakes.
(on the defense forcing turnovers and if they're doing anything differently)
No, it was interesting, I looked a my notes, team notes, from a year ago when we played them on the 18th of December. They were 10 and three, first place in the AFC. The majority of the notes was about their turnovers and how they don't turn it over. Almost a spitting image of what could have said this time was the same as last time. They create a lot of turnovers, they wreak havoc defensively. It's not any different this time around except being a playoff game.
(on if he's pointed out teams that have gone from the Wild Card to the Super Bowl to the team)
I haven't done that, no. I haven't thought about that, no, just more about winning this one.
Titans players take the field for Wednesday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)