Mike Mularkey Challenges Receivers to Make Plays


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Every week around the NFL it seems like receivers are going up high to make highlight-reel catches.

Fans love them, and so do coaches.

Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey would undoubtedly love to see more big-time grabs from his receivers, but that's not necessarily the message he's sending to the team's playmakers.

"The point here (in meetings) is we are not asking them to do anything more than their job,'' Mularkey said. "We are not looking for Odell Beckham catches. We are just looking for catches, just the normal catch. The great catches don't have to be great if we can make some of the catches we're seeing on the other sideline. It's a matter if the quarterback is trusting you to come down with it, come down with it, the way we would like you to."

In Sunday's loss against the Raiders, receiver Harry Douglas fought off a defender to make a tough 13-yard touchdown catch, something Mularkey mentioned in his press conference on Monday. Mularkey also gave props to tight end Craig Stevens for his juggling, 20-yard touchdown catch across the middle.

But the Titans are falling short on the big plays down the field. Against the Raiders, quarterback Marcus Mariota threw deep balls to receivers Dorial Green-Beckham and Kendall Wright. Neither player came down with the football.

Meanwhile, the Raiders hit on a couple of long passes to receivers, including a 41-yarder to Amari Cooper. Seth Roberts also had a 38-yard grab, part of his 113-yard day.

So far the season, the Titans have seven passing plays of 30 yards or more. Opponents have 18 passing plays of 30 yards or more. The Raiders had four 30-plus yard passing plays against the Titans on Sunday.

"We had chances, Marcus is giving these guys chances,'' Mularkey said. "But we're not making the plays...It's the go routes outside that it just feels like we're getting hit on them, and we're not hitting 'em. We have to make a play on those plays, because (Marcus) is giving us a chance to make them.

"They're getting called, and they're getting called to the right guys. We're giving DGB a chance, and I'd like to see him with his size to go up and pluck that thing out of the air...I'd like to see (Wright) do the same thing."

If the ball is there, Mularkey said the solution from the pass catcher is a combination of want-to, timing the jump properly, and using the right technique.

Mentality is a big part of it, he said.

"It's a little bit of everything,'' he said. "It's your ball, go get it."


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