Mularkey Remains Focused Despite Uncertain Future


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey gathered his football team for one final huddle at the end of Friday's practice.

On the first day of 2016, the Titans held their final practice of the 2015 season.

On Sunday, the Titans will face the Colts in the season finale at Lucas Oil Stadium. It will also conclude a hectic season for Mularkey, who replaced Ken Whisenhunt at the beginning of November.

"It's been busy, very busy, but I enjoy my job,'' Mularkey said. "I really enjoy it and being around these guys. It's fun to come into work. I think it's fun for them and I'd like to end on a win, obviously. I think they all would."

Mularkey took over the Titans when the team was 1-6. Since, the Titans have gone 2-6 in his eight games.

The Titans have cut back on penalties, and the team has done a better job protecting the quarterback under Mularkey's watch. The Titans have lost three straight games since a 42-39 win against the Jaguars on December 6, however.

"He did as much as he could,'' tight end Delanie Walker said of Mularkey. "It is hard to switch the program around in the middle of the season. … I think he's done a nice job."

Mularkey said he hopes to be back as head coach on a permanent basis in 2016.

On Monday, he'll find out what happens next.

"I really don't know what, to be honest, what the format is (for Monday)," Mularkey said. "I'm going to come in on Monday. We're all going to come in on Monday. I'm going to remain the head coach until I'm told otherwise.

"We've got a plan for the week, really for the beginning part of the week, and then coaches are going to take some time off. We're going to move forward that way."

Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said he'd like to see Mularkey get a chance.

"He was put in a tough position from the get-go, and I think he handled the situation pretty well,'' Casey said. "We weren't able to get the wins we needed for him, but him keeping his composure and being able to keep the team fighting has been a great testament to him.

"The players respect him and respect the way he coaches."

Added Walker: "I think he could address what is wrong around here (if he's hired), and given the opportunity I am pretty sure he can fix some of the things."

Mularkey, who served two seasons as head coach of the Bills (2004-05) and one season as head coach of the Jaguars (2012), said he'd love a chance to put in his plan with a full offseason.

Mularkey served as tight ends coach/assistant head coach with the Titans before replacing Whisenhunt.

"It's been a little different," Mularkey said of the challenge taking over in-season. "Obviously, you're prepared for the other ones. You've kind of got a whole offseason to get yourself ready. This was right in the middle of the week of a game week.

"And you're dealing with things that are in place already. Right or wrong, philosophically, whether you believe them or not, you deal with what you have and move forward. I knew that when I accepted it."

Until Sunday, Mularkey said his thoughts will be on winning the finale vs the Colts, not on his coaching future.

"I'll have plenty of time (to think about it) Monday,'' Mularkey said. "I know something is going to happen and we'll find out more about it then.


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