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 30-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Here's a look at six hot topics:


Mariota running**

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota tucked the ball and ran for 60 yards against the Dolphins, on seven carries. He had a 21-yard run on a drive that produced a touchdown.

It was easily Mariota's most productive day on the ground this season.

"His decision to pull it down and run when he saw lanes,'' Mularkey said, "that wasn't like an all of a sudden we encouraged him to do it for this game. That is any game where he has a lane to run, take it. And he had more lanes yesterday. (The Dolphins) play a lot of man coverage, and that is what happens when you have man coverage."

Mularkey said the only designed run on Sunday came on Mariota's five-yard touchdown run.

Mariota threw for three touchdowns on Sunday, in addition to the rushing score.


Klug praise**

Mularkey raved about defensive lineman Karl Klug, who had two quarterback hits and four hurries in just 24 snaps on Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus.

Klug, in his seventh year with the team, was part of a defense that recorded six sacks on Sunday vs. the Dolphins.

"Klug represents what we stand for on this team,'' Mularkey said. "He is a fierce competitor, all-out player. Every snap he gets there is nothing but all-out effort and relentless…  I wish I had all the words to describe (him).

"This guy is very disruptive. He doesn't get a lot of credit – he had four pressures yesterday, and one caused an interception. He does a lot of things that people don't see behind the scenes that are very disruptive."


Grimm's impact**

The play of the Titans offensive line continues to be a bright spot for the team, and Mularkey gave some credit to offensive line coach Russ Grimm.

The folks at PFF ranked the Tennessee's offensive line No.1 in the NFL heading into Sunday's game, and that was before the team rushed for 235 yards while not allowing a sack.

Mularkey credited GM Jon Robinson for adding some nice new parts to the offensive line, but he said "Russ Grimm has been very instrumental in the way they play, and the execution."

"I coached with Russ in Pittsburgh, and as soon as he came in that was a new group,'' Mularkey said. "We were effective there almost immediately. You gravitate to people that are good teachers, that are good people. They know that they are there for you to be successful, and it is important to Russ that they are successful.

"His coaching style, we demand the tough, the physical players and that goes hand in hand with Russ."


Running game**

DeMarco Murray was a workhorse on Sunday, leading the Titans with 121 yards on 29 carries against the Dolphins.

Rookie Derrick Henry, meanwhile, carried the ball seven times for 54 yards.

All of Henry's work came in the first half. Why?

Mularkey acknowledged Murray's production makes it difficult to take him off the field.

"It's hard to take a guy out that is making things happen for your offense, when you are moving the ball like you are,'' Mularkey said. "If we did anything differently, maybe at the end of the game when we are in the four-minute, get some snaps there for (Derrick)."

Focus on Browns

The Titans face the winless Browns (0-5) this week, and it's the first of three straight games at Nissan Stadium. After the Browns, the Titans will face the Colts and Jaguars.

Mularkey said the team is focused on Cleveland.

"I spell it out we have the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and that is all that matters,'' Mularkey said if his message to the team.  "There is no way we are going to look beyond Cleveland, there is no sense to. We have to start something, we have to start somewhere, and our first opponent is Cleveland on Sunday and that is all we are going to lock into."

Mularkey said the Browns have been competitive in games this season. Twice, the Browns have lost by less than a touchdown.

Mularkey also said the uncertainty at Cleveland's quarterback situation won't impact the team's preparation.


Cornerback Cody Riggs (hamstring) and safety Da'Norris Searcy (ankle) are expected to return to practice this week, and could return on Sunday vs. the Browns, per Mularkey.

Defensive lineman Al Woods (calf) might need another week with his injury.

The team did not suffer any serious injuries on Sunday at Miami.

Mularkey said defensive linemen Angelo Blackson and Austin Johnson made nice contributions against the Dolphins, and he praised Johnson for batting down a pass that could have resulted in a big play.

The Tennessee Titans take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 5 action at Hard Rock Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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