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 47-25 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Here's a look at six hot topics:


Mariota's maturity**

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota connected on 19-of-26 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns against the Packers.

In the past six games, he's thrown for 17 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

"He started off with 10 completions, and he had a couple of throwaways,'' Mularkey said, "and that's an example of (his maturity). Before we scored (on a six-yard pass to) Kendall Wright, they had a better defense than we had an offensive play called and Marcus threw it away. It went to second down and we ran him and then we hit Kendall on the next play (for a touchdown) on third down.

"Just for him getting rid of the ball, not trying to do something more than he has to – we still scored a touchdown in a three-play series. And those are the things he did well yesterday again."

Mularkey also praised the team's receivers for being in the right place on routes, mentioning Tajae Sharpe as an example.


Lewan's lesson**

Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan was ejected in the first quarter on Sunday for making contact with an official.

Lewan appeared to push the arm of an official in the middle of a first-quarter confrontation with Packers defensive lineman Letroy Guion, who was penalized for a late hit on Mariota.

Mularkey said he appreciates Lewan's willingness to come to the rescue of his teammates.

"There's a point where you can protect your quarterback, and I do like that," Mularkey said, "because I can tell you there's been a time here where I've seen Marcus get hit and nobody go over and help him up. Now I see multiple players coming over to defend him. But there's a limit where you draw the line to get out of there, especially with Taylor."

Mularkey said Lewan has to make better decisions to avoid penalties, and discipline. He believes what transpired on Sunday could teach him a lesson. Back-up Dennis Kelly stepped in for Lewan, and played well.

"Hopefully that is the lesson learned,'' Mularkey said. "I am hoping that is what it is going to take for him to understand how that affected our team. I am hoping that when he watched he saw how we can play without him, and be effective."


More Kelly praise**

The Titans traded for Kelly prior to the season, and he stepped in for Lewan on the team's second series against the Packers. Mularkey offered more praise for Kelly, a 6-foot-8, 321-pounder who began his career with the Eagles.

"He played extremely well for us,'' Mularkey said of Kelly. "He was thrown in at the beginning of the game and played well.

"His size, his arm strength. Dennis can play both sides, and he can play in the interior. He is a very smart player. He played well – he played against Julius Peppers 50 of the snaps he was in there. He had a couple of mental errors, which is not uncommon for a guy who doesn't play a lot, but he is also our jumbo tight end."


Left guard update**

Quinton Spain returned to action on Sunday for the Titans for the first time since suffering a knee injury vs. the Colts on October 23, but he only played three snaps.

Brian Schwenke once again started at left guard.

So what's the plan moving forward?

"I think we're going to throw Spain in and let him have a full practice Wednesday and see how he does," Mularkey said. "He did well enough (last week) that we felt he could go in if we had to have him this game. We kept him up with (Sebastian) Tretola being down, but we'll put him back in there and see how he does.

"But we have a lot of confidence in Schwenke. Brian has done an unbelievable job for us. We really didn't miss a beat with him in there. It's been really good."


Next up: Colts**

The Titans improved to 5-5 with Sunday's win over the Packers. The team has now won 4 of 6 games since beginning the season at 1-3.

When the Titans sat at 3-3, they lost to the Colts.

Indianapolis has won 10 straight games in the series.

But Mularkey said that won't be the team's source of motivation this week.

"I think as we move forward – and we are into the 11th game of the year – they are all important,'' Mularkey said. "I don't know about the trying to overcome the 10-game (streak). That is not going to be my method of motivation this week. This is a game we have to win. We have to learn how to win these games.

"We did that yesterday, and we have to do that in Indy. We have to do that Week 11. We have to do that because we are in a chase for a playoff spot. Those are things we have to learn how to do, and this is a process we are going through right now. These are the kind of games we have to learn how to win." Mularkey said the Titans will change the game plan vs the Colts "pretty extensively" compared to the team's October 23 matchup.



The Titans made it out of Sunday's game against the Packers with no new injuries.

"We should have a full roster for practice on Wednesday,'' Mularkey said. "So that's good news for us, very good news for this time of the year."

Even better news: Mularkey said running back DeMarco Murray's toe is improving. Murray missed has missed some practice time in recent weeks after suffering a toe injury against the Jaguars on October 27. And running back Derrick Henry had "no issues" with the calf injury that kept him out of practice two days last week.

"DeMarco feels better this week than he did this time last week," Mularkey said, "which is a good sign that he's in the healing process."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Green Bay Packers in Week 10 action at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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