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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 43-35 loss to the San Diego Chargers:

Here's a look at six hot topics from the press conference, plus a roster move:


Mariota talk**

Marcus Mariota completed 27-of-43 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns against the Chargers. He also ran for a 14-yard touchdown.

In the past five games, Mariota has 13 touchdown passes and three interceptions.

But turnovers continue to be an issue for the second-year quarterback. Mariota had an interception returned for a touchdown on Sunday, and he lost a fumble that was also picked up and returned for a score.

Mularkey said the Titans continue to stress to Mariota about being more careful with the football. He said Mariota is hard on himself after committing the mistakes. Eventually, he believes they'll be corrected.

"We work with him daily on it,'' Mularkey said of Mariota. "We talked about it Saturday night, about our ball security and making good decisions with the football, running with it. We are stressing it, and I guess we have to take some bad experiences to emphasize it like we've have.  

"But he knows more than anybody what he has to do when he turns up and he has to do a good job of getting (the football) high and tight, and putting it away. … He has to do a better job. Period."

Outside the turnovers, Mariota played one of his better games on Sunday, Mularkey said.

"I think over the last five weeks he's played really well,'' Mularkey said. "I've been really encouraged by it.

"Look, he's 23, he just turned 23.  I think he's started 21 games now. He is doing OK in a lot of areas. That is one area where he needs to do better at. Obviously it's a critical area, and it's been an issue for us in these losses, but he's done a lot of really good things, and I'm glad he's our quarterback."


Derrick Henry update**

After missing Sunday's game with a strained calf, Titans running back Derrick Henry had tests in the injury on Monday.

His timetable is uncertain, Mularkey said, and largely depends on pain tolerance.

"He had an MRI, and it showed a strain of the calf," Mularkey said of Henry. "That is kind of an injury where a lot of it is pain tolerance. It could be a day, it could be up to a couple of weeks. We'll monitor that as we go."

On the season, Henry has 53 carries for 221 yards and a touchdown. Running back Antonio Andrews stepped in and carried the ball two times for 15 yards in Sunday's game after Henry suffered the injury in pre-game warmups.

DeMarco Murray carried the ball 14 times for 51 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers.

"He may practice Wednesday, or he may be out for two weeks,'' Mularkey said of Henry. "It is really going to depend on how he progresses, and the pain."


Run defense woes**

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon ran for 196 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Titans.

He had a 47-yard run late in the game that proved to be a killer for the Titans.

Mularkey crediting the Chargers for doing a good job up front, blocking.

"But I'd say we were sloppy in our techniques, up front,'' Mularkey said. "We call them technique errors. I call them errors, not being in the right places. And our tackling could be better.

"The mix of everything was not a good combination when you have a running back like that, and it really hurt us on that last drive."


Sharpe's day**

Rookie receiver Tajae Sharpe caught four passes for 58 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers.

Sharpe's 29-yard reception in the second quarter was the longest catch of his career and helped set up a touchdown on the next play.

Mularkey said it was a step in the right direction.

"He made some plays for us,'' Mularkey said. "He still has room to work. Some of those routes are not deep enough, ok, and need to get the right depth and line up in the right place. Those are things we are still working on.

"But he made some plays for us yesterday, without question. That route on the two-minute drill was a big time play, because he was in the right spot and that is important, especially on the deeper throws, the timing throws."


Facing Aaron Rogers**

The Titans will face the Packers, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

Rodgers has thrown for 2,039 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season, with only five interceptions. He's completing 63.5 percent of his passes, and has a 96.1 rating.

"Pretty challenging,'' Mularkey said. "They have some weapons there that he's played with for a long time. They want to throw the football – they are averaging 40 passes a game, and that's how they want to attack you. And they have the people to do it."

Other injuries

Guard Quinton Spain has missed the last two games with a knee injury, but is getting closer to returning.

"We're hoping to get back here," Mularkey said. "(The plan is) to ease him back into practice on Wednesday. Game status, not sure, but he is coming along very good."

Mularkey said safety Rashad Johnson, who has missed the last two games with a neck injury, should be back for Sunday's game against the Packers.

Mularkey said tight end Delanie Walker made it through Sunday's game with no issues, but he will be monitored throughout the week after suffering a groin injury last week in practice.

Roster move

The Titans promoted RB David Fluellen from their practice squad on Monday, and waived CB Cody Riggs.

Fluellen (5-11, 224) joined the Titans prior to their 2015 training camp and he spent all of that season and this season on the team's practice squad. He also has spent time with Philadelphia and Indianapolis. Fluellen rushed for 3,336 yards during his four-year college career at Toledo.

The Tennessee Titans take on the San Diego Chargers in Week 9 action at Qualcomm Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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