Titans-Panthers Post-Game Quotes

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TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY

(opening statement)

Just disappointed obviously in the loss. We wanted to come back and put back-to-back clean games together and failed to do so. Obviously playing against a team that doesn't make a lot of mistakes, they don't turn the ball over, which they didn't do today, and it's pretty evident what happens when you do; tough to be a good football team. I told the team in the locker room there were some positives that are going to come out of this, I already know it; I don't have to watch the film. There are some good things that did show, some players that stood out. I think it's a great game to teach off of, there's a lot of little things that we can get better off the tape from this game.

(on the chemistry between Marcus Mariota and Tajae Sharpe)

I think it's a big trust level. What you're seeing is what he basically does in practice. He's made some bigger catches today, some big catches that we haven't had here in a while. We needed the play on third down, put him in a position we thought he could catch it, he made the play. It's a trust factor. He believes and knows he's going to be in the right place at the right time and to this point since he's been here he has.

(on how satisfied he is with how Sharpe has taken his skills from the practice field to the game)

Nothing but positive. That's one of the guys I'm talking about, that's really the guy I'm talking about, that we've learned a lot about that position. We have an X wide receiver that you can count on really on big plays, when you need it.

(on how rare it is to find a rookie that can build trust quickly)

You see it every year. Somebody comes out of Pittsburgh sixth-round pick who's a star who leads the league. You find good players that are in the picks and again Tajae has been a pleasant pick. It's hard to…he's the word consistent, if you want to use the word I've been using for months, he's consistent.

(on how the defense has to stop the first drive)

Again, defensively you can't be out of position. We actually erred on that same, not the same defensive ball, but we should have had an outside linebacker peel to the back, and I don't need to go in there and tell them we have to do something about the first drive. That's two weeks in a row, it's more than two weeks, it's been in the past as well, that opening drive. We've got to find a way to stop the opponent's offense when you know they are throwing the best they have at you. Again, Carolina's one of those teams. If you watch them, every play there's different personnel running in there, different formation -- they are trying to confuse you, keep you off balance, and at some point we've got to make a stand.

(on how concerned he is with missed tackles)

That's concerning, but it's preseason and you teach. This is a great tape to teach off of angles. It's a great tape to show guys when they run fast if you don't have the right angle, you're not going to make it. The hardest guy to hit is the one running the fastest. You have to be a mathematician and have a perfect angle to get a really good strike on you. When you start breaking down it's easy to get an angle on you. A lot of good stuff to teach off of.

(on how the team utilizes no-huddles)

It's a way to attack a defense. However we want to do it, however we want to use it, whether it's to start a series, to get us out of a rut, to start the game; we have many ways we'll use it. We've had it planned out when we're going to go to it and it's worked out the last two weeks.

(on not having as much success on the ground today compared to last week)

A lot of that is negative plays. There were negative runs, they had the right call on him with the reverse on Tajae with the safety blitz, a credit to them. I think we had a lot of negative runs that didn't get us the production, but it's a style of defensive line. Again, they're up there to stop the run and I think we did some things in the passing game that helped us overcome that. I'll look at it again on tape and see what we need to do better.

(on what he saw on Mariota's interception)

Initially I thought it was a very good play. That's a play-that was a very good play on their part -- that's a play that Harry (Douglas) should not bend it as much as he did, keep it more vertical so the ball stays further outside. We're talking not a great amount of distance, but just enough that he got a hand on it. That's a little thing that I'm talking about that we need to get better at.

(on how it's good to have a game like this to teach from)

It's a good example of if you don't do things the right way, if you have the penalties that we had -- especially the special teams, if you turn the ball over; all you have to do is look at the statistics each week of who's winning and who's losing and it comes down to turnovers the majority of the time. It's again, here's another point to throw at them; you can't do it.

(on the Statue of Liberty play)

It's just one of our plays that's had some success. We'll see how they play defensively, a lot of that is schemed. We put some of the specials together based on what we saw on tape, not really a true game planning type of week.

(on if the rain delay changed approach to last part of the game)

No, it didn't. I thought that was good, here's another sudden change and we have to do something different we haven't been practicing. I thought we did good. We opened up the drive, or the third quarter, with a score and I thought when we came back out there, I thought our guys played at a good level for being out for 25 minutes. My thought was at the end, we were two scores down -- we didn't convert the two point, we were two scores down, we are relatively healthy, and my objective, our objective, is to get through this preseason healthy and move on to the next one.

(on if they decided on a short warm-up following the rain delay)

The officials asked us if we wanted five, and I said five should be plenty. It wasn't like a delay like we had at the scrimmage; it wasn't like we had to have a 10-minute.

(on rules regarding lightning at a game)

I don't know how long the timeframe is, all I know is the timeframe is 30 minutes from the last lightning strike, so at least that's what we go by here at Nissan Stadium.

(on what he saw from Dennis Kelly)

Pretty pleased. I know on the fumble we had a mistake there on the play, basically it's when a defensive lineman penetrate quicker, probably put a little bit of a pressure on (David) Cobb with the ball to do something quickly with it, but for the most part, for getting here when he got here and playing as much as he did, I was pretty pleased with him. He even we went into a huddle and he's very good for the short time being here, he's very sharp.

(on Mariota's performances these last two weeks)

He's operating this offense, both the huddle and the no huddle, everything we're asking him to do.  He's putting us in, all three of them are putting our guys in position to give us a chance to win by understanding our scheme, getting some of the right protections, know who to bring in the block, certain people, all three of the guys, although Marcus has been outstanding.

(on if Derrick Henry got a taste of a tougher defense today)

Yes, I still think he ran the ball with some power today. I saw piles moving.

(on the offense today)

It was good just to have Tajae get a chance to play as much as he did. You saw the big catch, I like to see him on third down and the connection with Marcus, that was good. Justin Hunter made some plays. I saw Harry Douglas make a big play. I see us making some big plays down the field with this group. Still got room to improve, but they are trying and they will get better every week.

(on the guys that didn't play today)

They should be ready to go. They had a very good workout this morning at the facility and they went through a pregame very well and the plan is for them to play next week.

**

QB MARCUS MARIOTA

(on if he was bothered on the interception in a 9-of-10 passing day)**

Oh yeah, oh yeah, but it is something to learn off of. I was kind of on a roll and probably tried to force the ball probably where I shouldn't have. You know the guy was playing off Dex (Dexter McCluster) on the left side of the field, probably should have taken that and moved on, but I was kind of on a roll and thought I could squeeze it in there.

(on the development of chemistry with Tajae Sharpe)

He makes it easy. You know, he is a very versatile athlete. He has done a lot for us already, great separation in and out of his routes. We are going to continue to expect these kinds of things out of him.

(on the feeling that he was on a roll if that was a regular feeling)

No, I mean it was just, you kind of get to a point even if it is early in a game where you feel you can kind of hit anything you want. At that point in the game, we had been moving the ball. Guys had made great plays and I felt I could kind of keep it going with another chunk. But again, the guy made a good play. He kind of baited me a little bit.  I thought I could use my eyes to get him to go one way. He made a good play

(on what has worked so well with the no-huddle offense)

I don't know, I think for the most part the entire offense is comfortable in it. For myself, I have kind of lived in that realm for a long time so I feel comfortable operating in it. But it makes it a little easier for us, we can kind of go and push the tempo as fast as we want or slow it down and dictate how we play. I think if we can do that on a consistent basis in the no-huddle and huddling up, we can be a pretty good offense.

(on how he feels he has started the preseason schedule)

Not bad, you know again I wish I hadn't done that (thrown interception), you know especially down in that part of the field where we are in scoring territory. But again, it is something you can learn off of, you can't get too greedy in those situations. I just have to take what they give me.

(on the touchdown pass to Harry Douglas)

I think we did a good job selling it up front, that's the most important in terms of nakeds, bootlegs, and play actions, getting those guys up front to lower their hats and I thought they did a great job firing off the ball. They made it easy for us. The safety bit on the run, Harry (Douglas) was able to get behind him and made a great catch.

(on if the effect of the running game was a factor after last week's performance)

Not too much, that's how it's going to be. Week in and week out, we would love to run the football, but there is going to be points and times when it is not going to be working as well as we want it to. I thought we did a good job of moving the ball throwing it, aside from maybe that pick. But if we can find ways to progressively be more versatile that's going to make it that much harder on defenses to play us.

(on how well he thought the receivers were executing)

They did a great job. Not only did some young guy like Tajae (Sharpe) come in make play after play, but you have someone like Harry (Douglas) who communicates all over the field and understands when it's hot, what's going to happen on that side of the ball in terms of defense. I think that entire group led by Andre (Johnson) have come a long way and we are going to expect those kinds of things out of them all year.

**

DT JURRELL CASEY**

(on if there is reason for concern that the defense gave up a touchdown on the opening drive again)

Definitely. You know, we take pride in trying to making sure we make stops and put our offense in the best situation. To put them behind like to start the game was very unacceptable for us as a defense. We pride ourselves on trying to be the No. 1 defense in this league, and to be that we can't allow things like that to happen.

(on how the defense can prevent opponents from scoring on opening drives moving forward)

We just have to clean up our minimal mistakes. A couple times you have miscues or you're not hearing things. We just have to do a better job communicating, make sure we stay in tune with what we see on the offensive side of the ball and try and make a play happen.

(on if he is alarmed the defense started poorly in consecutive games)

I don't think it's alarming. I think we know what we need to do. We know what we need to clean up. It's just about making it happen. We know what we are as a defense. We know how physical we're going to be. Like last year, we start off slow and then always finish strong. So we just have to clean up that starting point, that way we put our offense in a great position to keep us going in the game.

**

TE DELANIE WALKER**

(on how he felt about today's game)

I felt like we moved the ball and made some plays. They made some big stops, but I think it gave us a great opportunity to see where our offense was at.

(on Marcus Mariota's solid performance apart from the interception)

Yeah. Those things we talk about—can't have any turnovers. Stuff happened like that in the game. They made a great play.

(on if Marcus Mariota looked good today)

I mean, he looks pretty good every week he steps out on the field. I thought he did a great job. He took us down and Harry (Douglas) caught a touchdown, and that's all we can ask of him.

(on Tajae Sharpe's performance)

Oh, yeah.  Tajae (Sharpe)—I tell him in the huddle, "Keep eating. Keep doing what you're doing. We notice that." I'm glad he's out there with us on the first team making plays. I think he's going to be a great asset to our offense when we need somebody that can make a play. We can always count on him to make that play and be in the right spot. He's doing a great job for his first year.

(on what needs to be cleaned up offensively)

Again, Carolina has a great defense. There's things that we need to clean up. I really can't say what we need to clean up until we watch film, but for now I thought we did pretty well. We had a turnover going down in the red zone, and I think that set us back a little bit. But other than that, I thought we moved the ball pretty well.

(on if he was disappointed by the rain delay)

At that point, I wasn't playing, so it didn't bother me, but I can feel for the other guys that had to go in there and get warmed back up and step on the field. I thought they did a great job—our defense and our offense—to have a delay like that and go back out there and still finish the game.

**

TE ALEX ELLIS

(on what happened on his touchdown catch)

Well, I just got the right call and (Alex) Tanney put it on the money. He throws a great ball, so I have to give all the credit to Tanney. He put it on me.  I just ran the route and he put a great ball on me. You can't put it any better than that. It feels good, any time you get in the end zone.  Any time you touch the ball, it just feels good, you know. I'm just trying to make plays as much as I can do for the team, especially being the Tennessee Titans.  I feel like Tennessee is a second home. It's a great feeling.  I'm just glad I got the chance. I'm blessed that I got the chance. This is something that you dream of ever since you were little.

(on what went through his mind when his touchdown play was first called in the huddle)

You always have to be alert.  Definitely it's a repetition thing, because you practice it and practice. But it just feels good to get in there, and I have a great core group of guys, the older vets, helping me out big time.  I'm just glad I can follow in their footsteps.

(on did he get to keep the ball he caught for his first NFL touchdown)**

Yeah, actually (TE) Craig Stevens got it for me.  So, that's my man right there.  He's the man.

**

WR TAJAE SHARPE

(on feeling comfortable getting so many snaps this game, versus just two plays last week)

Yes, you know, at the end of the day it's all football.  So I just try to go out there and just relax and just do my job to the best of my ability, and just stay confident with myself.  I'm confident in this offense, and what we can do on the field.  Just continue to put the work in throughout the week and go out and perform on game day.

(on the growing rapport between he and Titans' QB Marcus Mariota)

Yes, that's definitely the plan.  We're working extremely hard as an offense, and as a team throughout the week.  So as an offense, we all want to be on the same page, and have each other's back.  Go out there and compete for each other, as well as ourselves and go out there and make plays and have fun.

(on balancing trying to impress coaches in order to make the team, with just playing his game)**

I guess it can be a little of both.  I'm just going out there and playing my game. Just going out there competing to the best of my abilities.  Just going out there and having fun, remembering that it's still football. The same game we've been playing since we were younger.  So at the end of the day, you still definitely have to go out there and earn your spot on the team.  But it's still football.

CB ANTWON BLAKE

(on his feelings about the progress of the Titans' defense from last week's preseason opener)

I feel like we did all right.  It's definitely a process.  I'm kind of proud the way the guys are communicating and flying around.  You know we've got some things we need to clean up and work on.  But until we capitalize on those things and improve, my feelings will be the same.

**

RB DeMARCO MURRAY

(on how the Panthers' defense challenged the Titans' offense in the first half)**

They always have an eighth guy in the box to stop the run.  And we knew that coming in, it was going to be hard to run the ball. But I think Derrick (Henry) and myself popped one or two out.  Obviously, we didn't show them all of our cards.  They are a good team.  They are a physical team and that's why they were in the Super Bowl last year, and I'm sure they are trying to get back there this year. But you know when you have that eighth and ninth defender who is unblocked, we have to do a good job in making those guys miss once we get to the second level.

(on the Titans dealing with the weather delay)

It was fine.  Luckily the starters didn't have to go in the second half.  Those things occur and you just have to be ready to play at all times.

PANTHERS HEAD COACH RON RIVERA

(on what the team did during the delay)

It was productive. It was almost like another half time as far as that was concerned. Again, I thought the players handled it well to come back onto the field.

(on the three drives by the first team offense)

They gave us two. The unfortunate part is we had an opportunity again to put a few more points on the board but we didn't. Credit Tennessee for what they did defensively, but we had opportunities so that's dispointing. You look at us on defense, same thing. We had an opportunity to stop them on their touchdown drive, the first one, but we gave up a big third down. We can't allow that and those things we have to go back and correct. For the most part, pleased. Some guys stepped up and really played well and some guys are going to have to learn to take the challenges better and I think push themselves into better positions.

(on Daryl Worley playing tighter defense)

I'd like to see him, obviously based on what the call is, to play the techniques a little bit better. He had an opportunity to make a couple of plays and he didn't. One time we felt he could have been tighter in his coverage and another time he was off and we should have had a guy underneath him. Again, it's one of those learning curves that he will go through as a rookie.

(on what the defense needs to do better)

I think the biggest thing is, and that was the one series where they had the third down, we can't allow a conversion especially when we are in a good position to stop them. I want to credit them because they did some good things.  But again we did not take advantage of third down situations. At the end of the day that is going to get you.

(on Bene Benwikere getting close to his 100 percent form)

We are starting to see that. He's doing a nice job. He is working very hard in practice, he is beginning to communicate well and as he continues to get stronger and stronger with more and more confidence we will see him very active around the football. Reading the quarterback's eyes, understanding where the route is coming to and beating guys to the ball, that's a veteran move. That's what he did, what we saw coming out of college and we have seen him do that for us the last couple of years.
(on the big shot Kevin Norwood took and how he came right back from it)
That's toughness and that's what you're looking for.  You need a young guy that's looking for an opportunity.  When you go out and make plays like that, that's great and then you take a big shot and come back to make a big play. That's a big thing for us. It was good to see, especially with Kevin.

(on Ted Ginn, Jr.'s speed and an improvement from last year)

I think the big thing that you're starting to see again is the integration of all our guys.  Again, I'm anxious to see how many guys caught balls, especially how many caught balls from Cam (Newton).  How many different guys and let's not forget we didn't have Greg Olsen out there today either. We feel pretty good about what we did. I'd like to see us run the ball better.  We didn't run as effective as I'd like to.  Again, that's something we need to go back and continue to work on.

(on concerns about injuries during today's game to the back-up safeties, especially Trenton Robinson and Travell Dixon)

Yeah there is a little bit. Until he gets the MRI or another exam, we really don't know anything until tomorrow.  But yeah there is a little concern because it knocked him out of the game.  I haven't heard (about Dixon).  They took him in after a big collision and I'm not quite sure what his status is.

(on if Cam Newton taking off on the run made him hold his breath)

Yes, I did and the nice thing is I'm glad he didn't do it.  He didn't lower his shoulder.  He just kind of accepted the tackle and again, I'm glad he did it now and save that when the regular season.

(on feeling good about the effort today)

I do. Honestly, I'm anxious to see the tape.  As I said, I think there's some things that we missed, some things we could have capitalized on and we didn't.  As I said, I don't want to take anything away from Tennessee.  I think they're an up-and-coming football team and they've got some good football players.

(on Jeremy Cash's game)

Jeremy Cash is really starting to come into his own as a rookie.  I mean, he's got a ways to go but he's one of those guys that seems to be around the ball, very active around the football.  That's what we're looking for. Guys that will be around the ball and be active. He did a nice job and so did some of our young defensive linemen.  I think we have some young guys we have to take some long looks at in the next couple weeks and start making decisions.

(on the back-up offensive line's performance today versus  last week)

Yes, very pleased with that second bunch.  Even when the third group got their opportunity, they did some nice things and again, you know, I think our coaches are doing a real nice job with those young guys and I think they are taking coaching very well. It's been a good thing to see as far as their development.  As I said though, the next couple weeks are going to be big for everybody.

WR TED GINN, JR.

(on when he knew his first half reception would be a touchdown)

After I made the guy miss, I knew I only had one safety to beat. He took a bad angle and the rest was history.

(on if it felt good for the offense to have a quick strike early in the game)

You always want to start your offensive possession with a quick start. We kind of did that last week, we just didn't finish. This week we came out with the same mentality and we finished. The next two series were a little tough, but that is how the game goes. You have to be able to make the plays when they are there.

(on taking the next step from this week to next week)

We just have to go out and keep playing fast and keep playing hard. You try to win the ballgame in the first two quarters, so that is very important to us. If we get up, with the kind of D that we have, it will be easier for them down the line. The only thing we can do is come out and keep playing fast.

CB BENE BENWIKERE

(on getting the interception)

It felt really great. I literally went to the sideline and sat down and said, 'I finally just got one.' So I'm really just hoping to get more and get some momentum. That is what everybody looks for. Just in general, it was a nice feeling to touch the ball.

(on sacking Titans QB Matt Cassel)

I saw someone else almost had a sack and my guy didn't go out on a route, so I just went to the quarterback and tried to make a play before he did. Toward the end he started scrambling, so I figured if I got to him first we could stop them.

WR KEVIN NORWOOD

(on this game moving him in the right direction)
I'm hoping this is a step forward for me. Not being able to play these last couple of years has been frustrating, but at the same time I have been patient. God's got me and I'm just being patient.

WR DEVIN FUNCHESS

(on his maturation from year one to year two)

I just feel comfortable out there. Just knowing it and having that long run last year got me better and better—going against better talent and going all the way to the Super Bowl. I'm just more comfortable out there and I feel good.

(on the chemistry among the wide receivers with Kelvin Benjamin back)

We just got another weapon back [in Kelvin Benjamin]. When he went down in camp last year, it was a horrific thing to look at. Now that he is back, he is out there having fun and catching the ball.

CB ZACK SANCHEZ

(on his role in the game and getting the interception)

I feel like I had a better week of practice this week—getting used to the intensity of practice and making the game easier. You go hard in practice and it makes the game that much easier. I just think that was a big change—understanding the tempo of how the defense plays.

The Tennessee Titans battle the Carolina Panthers in Week 2 of the 2016 preseason at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)





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