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Six Hot Topics from Mike Mularkey's Press Conference



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — **Titans coach Mike Mularkey met with reporters on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team's 25-16 loss to the Vikings.

Here's a look at six hot topics:


Mariota ball security**

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown on Sunday, and the Titans also lost a fumble when there was an exchange issue between Mariota and running back DeMarco Murray.

Mularkey was asked how Mariota can improve on ball security.

"Early in the game, one of the things I was really impressed with was he threw the ball away a couple of times,'' Mularkey said of Mariota. "Bad situations, defense won with the call, (and) he threw the ball away and we moved on to the next down and we lived another day and got points.

"In that one instance -- and this will be a learning experience for Marcus -- when he didn't do it, that play was a game-changer. But leading up to that he hadn't done that, and if there is somebody on this team that will learn and probably not do that again, it is (Marcus)."


Film review**

Mularkey watched tape of Sunday's game and said he thought the team played really well on defense.

"We accomplished our goal of trying to stop Adrian Peterson,'' said Mularkey, whose team held the Vikings running back to just 31 yards on 19 carries. "To hold him to 1.6 yards per carry, that is phenomenal by our guys. We had a lot of hats on him. He had really nowhere to run.

"And I thought our coverage was tight. I give them credit, they made a lot of contested catches for big plays."

Mularkey said he was happy with the performance on special teams, with the exception of the long kickoff return to start the second half by Vikings return man Cordarrelle Patterson.

Offensively, Mularkey said the Titans did a lot of good things, but he reiterated what he said after the game, calling the turnovers "catastrophic." "Other than that we did a lot of good things,'' Mularkey said.



Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan, who suffered a hamstring injury in Sunday's game, likely won't practice on Wednesday as the team prepares for the Lions.

Mularkey praised Morgan for his play on Sunday, saying he was especially disruptive against the Vikings before the injury.

"We'll monitor him these next few days and have him questionable for the game right now," Mularkey said of Morgan. "We don't think it's a significant pull, but we'll see how it goes. You don't MRI those right away. You let them work themselves out for a couple of days before you look at them."

Mularkey said he doesn't expect receiver Kendall Wright to practice on Wednesday. He'll be held out until Mularkey sees him run full speed.

"Hopefully he's better in a couple of days," Mularkey said.


Williamson's cleats**

Linebacker Avery Williamson's decision to wear patriotic cleats against the Vikings on Sunday came after a conversation with Mularkey.

Williamson wore cleats on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Mularkey said he'd handle any fine from the league for a uniform code violation.

"I said (to Avery), 'I'm going to shoot you straight like I shoot everybody straight. If you don't wear those shoes, I'll be very disappointed in you. Because all I want from you guys is to do things the right way,'" Mularkey said. "And him wearing those shoes is doing something the right way.

"If he gets a fine, I'm going to take care of that."

Mularkey support

Titans cornerback Jason McCourty and defensive teammates Jurrell Casey and Wesley Woodyard raised their fists briefly on Sunday to show support for minorities in America.

The gesture came after the National Anthem played as the league held a tribute to those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks.

"They have every right to do what they feel is right,'' Mularkey said of the players. "I have a lot of respect for those guys, they are our leaders on our team. I know they are passionate about the cause. So I am supportive of them."


Bang for buck**

Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey was very effective during his time on the field Sunday.

According to Pro Football Focus, Casey had three run stops on his 20 run snaps, and he also had two quarterback hits and three QB hurries on 26 pass rushing snaps. Casey played 46 of 63 defensive snaps for the Titans.

Mularkey said he thinks the team can get more out of a fresher Casey.

"Actually, we think he ought to play a few snaps less,'' Mularkey said of Casey. "He's a high motor, hard guy to block when he is at full speed. He played a lot of snaps in a row … and we thought after watching him and the way he plays probably less (snaps)."

The Tennessee Titans kick off the 2016 season in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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