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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 34-26 loss to the Indianapolis Colts:

Here's a look at six hot topics:

Evaluating Mariota

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 22-of-37 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's game, and he guided the team on game-tying and go-ahead drives in the fourth quarter.

But Mariota also had some issues with his accuracy against the Colts. He misfired on several throws, sailing the ball over his targets on multiple occasions.


"Some of those were on Marcus, and I talked to Marcus this morning about that,'' Mularkey said. "And some of them were on our routes, by our wide receivers not being where they are supposed to be. It was a combination of the two."

Mularkey said the receivers made some big plays on Sunday, but there were occasions where they weren't in the right spot. Mularkey said Mariota was guilty of throwing the ball off his back foot on some plays.

Mariota is also sometimes guilty of worrying too much about making a mistake, Mularkey said.

"I have talked to him about it," Mularkey said of Mariota. "He doesn't want to let anybody down, so he doesn't want to make mistakes for his teammates, for this team, for this organization.

"If it is gray to him right now, he doesn't want to take the risk. …. I want him to be aggressive, but smart. We have confidence in what he does."

Left guard situation

Left guard Quinton Spain is expected to miss several weeks after suffering a knee injury in Sunday's game.

Mularkey said on Monday he's not ready to commit to which player will start in his place against the Jaguars.

"It's not as serious as we thought it might be," Mularkey said of Spain's injury. "It is still a significant knee injury, and he is going to be out 3 to 4 weeks."

Brian Schwenke worked in place of Spain on Sunday, and Mularkey said he "stepped in there and did a lot of good things for us.

"But we have some options at that position,'' Mularkey said, "and we'll talk about that at our staff meeting this afternoon."

Mularkey mentioned Schwenke and rookie Sebastian Tretola as options. Dennis Kelly has also worked at guard during his NFL career, and the Titans have guard Karim Barton on the practice squad.

Lewan touchdown

Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan scored on a 10-yard touchdown catch at the end of the team's first possession.

Mularkey said the play was executed perfectly, and he said it ended with something he didn't see every time in practice: a catch.

"It went well,'' Mularkey said. "There hasn't been a lot of times he caught it in practice, to be honest with you.

"And really the conversation came down to: What is the risk vs. reward? The risk is he drops it, and the reward is we score a touchdown, so let's call this play. I told (Taylor) in the training room about 10 minutes before he went out, 'Make sure you catch the ball before you start (running). Just watch the ball hit your hands.'

"He was schooled up right up to that first drive."

Midseason looming

The Titans are currently 3-4, tied with the Colts in the AFC South, behind the Texans.

A win on Thursday night would put the Titans at 4-4 at the midway point. The Titans were 2-6 at the midway point in 2015, and 2-6 at the halfway point in 2014 as well.

Mularkey was asked if a 4-4 mark would be considered a success.

"No,'' Mularkey said. "I'd say it wouldn't be. Obviously you'd like to have a better record than that, but I kind of go back to when we were 1-3. There's a bunch of teams at 1-3.

"Right now there's a bunch of teams at 3-4 and 4-3. I'll say it again: Somebody is going to come out of this thing at some point, and I don't know why it can't be us. There's a lot of teams in this position right now."

Short week

The coaching staff is spending some time today reviewing Sunday's game against the Colts, but Mularkey said the Titans are quickly turning their attention to the Jaguars.

"We don't have a lot of time,'' Mularkey said of Thursday night's matchup.

Some players returned to Saint Thomas Sports Park on Sunday night after the game for treatment/recovery. Coaches worked through the weekend, and many of them came back to the facility Sunday night.

The Titans will have a walkthrough on Monday night, and the team is scheduled to practice on Tuesday.

Mularkey said Thursday's game gives the team a chance to "get us over" the Colts loss "as quickly as we can, knowing we have to lock in, and get ready and prepared and totally focused on Jacksonville Thursday night."

Other injuries

Cornerback Perrish Cox is in the concussion protocol, and his status for Thursday's game is in doubt.

The Titans worked cornerback Brice McCain and Valentino Blake on Cox's spot, and Mularkey said the staff will make a decision in the next day or so on which player could take step in if Cox isn't able to play.

Tight end Delanie Walker (bruised chest), receiver Tajae Sharpe (knee sprain), and safety Rashad Johnson (neck strain) were all injured, and all are day-to-day.

Linebacker Kevin Dodd has been dealing with foot soreness, Mularkey said. Dodd played in the game on Sunday. The team has done x-rays, and they've looked good, "so it is more of a pain tolerance that anything," Mularkey said.

The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7 action at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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