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Coach Mularkey's Monday Press Conference Transcript

Posted Sep 19, 2016

Titans head coach Mike Mularkey addresses reporters during his day after game press conference at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - Sept. 19, 2016

(opening statement)

I'll give you a little injury update and save you a couple questions. Derrick Morgan, he's going to work tomorrow to see how he is with the hamstring, and hopefully the plan is for him to practice Wednesday, but we'll see again tomorrow. The same thing with Kendall (Wright)--we're going to work him tomorrow morning and we're not going to wait until Wednesday to try to see what he can do. We'll try to see what he can do tomorrow and see if we can get him back for Wednesday's practice. Avery (Williamson) is doing better. I think Avery will be back before Wednesday's practice. And then Chance (Warmack) had a finger issue, tore a tendon in his hand. (We are) discussing whether to repair it or not. You can play with the injury or you can have it repaired, and we'll go from there if that's the case.

(on how much time Chance Warmack would miss it he had is finger repaired)

It could be a couple weeks to more than a month. You can play with it.  You'd probably have to play with basically a cast, a club, which is difficult to do at that position.

(on if Chance Warmack played through the injury against the Lions)

Yeah, he played through it yesterday, he did.

(on if the injury hampered Chance Warmack against the Lions)

Yeah, I'm sure. Linemen, again, the importance of using your hands and fingers--I'm sure he had some issues with it, there's no doubt about that.

(on which finger Chance Warmack injured)

I think it's his middle finger on the left.

(on the benefit of having Josh Kline if Chance Warmack misses time)

It definitely has helped. That's the reason for trying to get depth with the offensive line, so I'm glad that worked out like it did.

(on if Brian Schwenke is better playing right or left guard)

No, he's worked both, so I think he can play either one. That's the thing about the guys you have up on Sundays. You've got to have somebody that can swing through all three positions. So they're well aware of the situation. Obviously, if that's the case that Chance (Warmack) cannot play, the time in practice to give him a chance to work with the ones for a few days would be obviously what you want. 

(on how he felt the offensive line played against the Lions)

I thought they played pretty well, I do. I thought Taylor Lewan probably played his best game as a Tennessee Titan. He played extremely well. Jack (Conklin) played well.

(on the order behind Brian Schwenke on the offensive line)

We're going to talk about it. We'll talk about it, what we think are our best options. We haven't gotten to that point yet. We're going to kind of wait until we see what Chance (Warmack) decides to do with the finger. Again, I'll clarify which finger it is for you guys.

(on the play where Marcus Mariota was intercepted)

You know, we had a run a boot leg. We called them a naked before. And that guy, which we had seen on film earlier, the reason we put the play in is that safety cuts the crosser, which means he covers the crosser coming from the backside. We actually deepened up that crosser, Tajae (Sharpe) to try to attract him. And the play before that we ran the naked on, he jumped the crosser. This time he did not jump it. He just stayed back, even though we had a deeper route on it to try to attract him. I thought he made a really good play. He made a really good play.

(on Marcus Mariota's ability to move safeties with his eyes)

Good. Again, I think he saw some of that yesterday, but on that play, it's a trust factor that what you saw on film, what you saw earlier in the game--we showed him on tape that they are cutting the crosser. Take a shot. I thought we had a shot to make that play. But again, that was a really good play by their safety.

(on if the offensive line changed its approach between the first and second half to prevent sacks)

No, I think we did a better job. One was a bust we had on one of the sacks. Again, the one where we got down there and we were in field goal range, another lesson. We're trying to--you know, a coaching point for Marcus (Mariota) is you know where we're at, we've got points right now, we think we have points, get rid of the ball. Because as good as he is about escaping and making plays, right there we have points. Take the points and throw the ball away. Again, just a coaching point. We told him on the sideline. We watched the film today and went through that with him again. And again, that avoids sacks, as well.

(on how Chance Warmack's absence would affect Jack Conklin's development)

I don't think it's going to be--I mean it's been nice to have those same five guys. I'm hoping that's the case. It's the longest I've said that we've had five guys play together. I hope that's not a big thing if we have to go in a different direction. I think Jack (Conklin) has really done--you know, you don't hear Jack's name very often. You don't hear a lot of things about Jack, and we're going to try to keep it that way if we can, but I don't think it's going to be a huge thing in his development. He's a pro, he understands the study and what he has to do. (He) gets some work with whoever that is, and I think he'll be fine.

(on if he felt the offense forced the Lions to cover the whole field)

Yeah, I think they have to cover the field. I think they have to cover a lot of areas. If you looked yesterday, there was a lot of communication going on based on what we were doing offensively. They had a lot of adjustments to be made. We had some open guys that they let go because of the some of the shifts and some of the motions that we were using. There was a lot of communication on their side.

(on if making offensive shifts before the snap can mentally or physically affect offensive linemen)

No, that's never been the case. I know it's very frustrating defensively. I've heard more comments from defenses of all the adjustments they have to make, who they have to talk to to make sure everybody's in the right place. And again, it's not a window dressing, the shifts and the motions. It's for us to gain an advantage someway, somehow--personnel wise, angles, get one of them to not be lined up right, which is catastrophic if you aren't where you're supposed to be. They're all designed to put the defense on their heels. So it's not something we're trying to do that we think--if we think it's going to affect our guys, it will not be used. It will not be done.

(on if they used Delanie Walker more in the slot against the Lions than they had previously)

No, we did. We thought we could run the ball a little bit. Based on their defensive personnel, their alignments, we wanted (Anthony) Fasano in their more with the run game. We thought we had a chance to run the ball more with Anthony at the point and Delanie (Walker) in the slot, so you saw more of that in that game.

(on if they used more three tight end sets yesterday)

No, that's been pretty consistent the whole year. We've had some success running the ball, we did yesterday, out of that set. We have pretty much all year. We've had really good play action off of that, as well. It's a good package for us.

(on why they called running plays away from the heavy side)

How many bodies do they have over there? Where is the safety? Do they have enough guys over there to defend our set? A lot of times, when you get three big tight ends, they overload those three big tight ends because they better because of your run game. The advantage is to the offense if you don't overload it.

(on distribution of snaps between the safeties)

Yeah, pretty evenly. I think Kevin Byard probably had the least amount. It was pretty even. A lot of it, again, based on what they were doing offensively--down, distance situation--who they had in the game personnel wise is how we substituted the safeties. Again, some of it pertaining to how much play was being in special teams, as well. There are a lot of things that factor in, but yesterday was pretty balanced how much those guys played, and they played well. (Da'Norris) Searcy really played well.

(on how Kevin Dodd's success in practice last week translated to the game)

I thought he carried it over into the game. He really was disruptive. I liked the effort. He did a lot of things. When he was cut off at the edge, he would retrace, he'd get in on some tackles from just an effort. I thought he was disruptive. I thought the tackle had his hands full.

(on how Kevin Dodd can improve on his hands to the face calls)

Yeah, it's got to be better technique. One of them could be called a lot in every NFL game. That's the way it is. Sometimes that happens. It got called yesterday.

(on when he decided to start Kevin Dodd)

During the week. We just thought David Bass can play, we know he can play both sides, and really we wanted to make sure (Kevin) Dodd was comfortable. We didn't want him having to know both sides, know all the rules that go with the outside linebacker position. You're here and David can float between the two.

(on the importance of building off the win)

Well, I think just like the loss, we've already moved on from that game. There's some good things to take from that game. There's some good things to take from every game, but I think we need to move forward. I think it's important. We've already talked about winning at home. We need to start doing that, and so we're already on to the Raiders. We had a very good meeting this afternoon about the Raiders.

(on if he talked to the league about the questionable fumble plays)

I talked to the league. Yes, I did.

(on if the league's explanations were satisfactory)

They were satisfactory.

(on how forward progress was stopped on the first play)

I think maybe the whistle was just inadvertently blown a little early. Really don't want to go there.

(on if the officials reviewed the sack of Matthew Stafford)

No, they didn't. They ruled he was in the grasp. They were worried about the quarterback being in the grasp and another free defender coming in. They want to blow that thing dead early.

(on if the whistles seemed to be blown early on both plays)

They were quick. They were quick whistles.

(on if DeMarco Murray got out of the end zone before the safety should have been called)

No, that was probably I thought a good call. That was.

(on what the final scoring drive says about Marcus Mariota)

He can handle the pressure in a tough environment. He had done some good things in that game. The pick, I credit them. They played that play better. Other than that, I thought he put us in a lot of good situations. You know, we just executed well that drive, and I think again, give Terry (Robiskie) credit. We ran the ball, too. It wasn't like we were in a two-minute mode or we had to hurry up. We stuck with the plan and ran the ball effectively, and Marcus (Mariota) just stuck with it. You know, he read through the coverages and we threw a couple different things at them that they hadn't seen earlier in the game and they popped, like the seem pass to DeMarco (Murray) was a big play.

(on Andre Johnson's game-winning touchdown catch)

It was pretty impressive. The throw was as impressive, but the catch--that's what you see every game or every Sunday, you see catches like that. We needed that. We needed a catch like that. We haven't had a lot of those. I mean those are things that have got to go our way, and they did yesterday. I mean it's a fine line every week on winning in the NFL. We may not even get into that drive, we put the ball on the ground on the punt return and the ball is this far away from going out of bounds. I mean it's this far away from us not getting the ball back and the game's over. I mean that's the fine line. That throw and that catch. It's like that. And that's every week of winning and losing in the NFL.

(on the trade off between having a fast secondary and a veteran secondary)

Experience has a lot of an advantage, I think. I mean if you understand, if you know the answer before the question, that gives you a chance. We've got some guys back there that, they've played a lot of football. They have played a lot of football and they've seen a lot and they studied film. I know they do. I mean I know when guys work outside this building and study, and I know the guys that don't. And we've got guys, especially in the secondary, that spend a lot of time watching film.

(on what happened on the play in which Marcus Mariota and Derrick Henry collided on a play)

The noise, just miscommunication on the play.

(on the failed two-point conversion attempt)

DeMarco (Murray), he's got the edge rusher. We ran the play earlier. We've run that play before for success. We've got to stop the edge blitzer. He just took a poor angle.

(on the decision to play Cody Riggs and sit Austin Johnson in the game)

More of their three-wide receiver set. That's their primary offensive scheme. We felt like having, just like last week, more of a team that was going to run the ball, we're going to have bigger bodies up there this week, it was more spread out, guys out in space, and also special teams. I mean Cody (Riggs), that was a great play by him to down the ball on the one-yard-line. His value is there because we can use him on fourth downs.

(on special teams penalties)

Yeah, you know, you try to explain to them, and we did. It was really interesting because Bobby April said it on Saturday night, he showed how critical penalties can affect the whole team. And he showed what happened to us. The kickoff gets back at least to the 20, we have a penalty that puts us back on the seven, we put a nice drive together as an offense, it's stalled, we have to kick a 51-yard field goal. Well, if we were 13 yards closer, that same kick goes through the upright. So that penalty early on affected what took place with our offense later on in that drive. We should still make a 51-yard field goal, no question about that. But it's certainly easier to kick a 38-yard field goal. And that penalty, we've addressed it. They all know you can't do that.

(on if Marcus Mariota held the ball too long in some quarterback pressure situations)

Yes. Like I said, especially in the area where you know you can't take a sack. It's just imperative you can't take a sack, because he has ability. You saw him escape a couple times and make plays. You've seen it since he's been here. He's got the potential to really be a threat running--you know, he ran for a first down on a scramble. I thought he was going to get tackled. He got out of it, broke a tackle, made a first down for us. At some point, he's got to realize the threat, there is no escape path, get rid of the ball.

(on if Marcus Mariota will improve in getting rid of the ball earlier with experience)

Sure, and again, I think this is 14 games that he's started. He hasn't even started a full season yet.

(on why Derrick Henry received more snaps at running back than DeMarco Murray)

Really based on the series, how we were rotating them based on the plays. Some are designed differently for each guy. But nothing that we were trying to force to either one of them.

(on his assessment of the defense after two games)

I think pretty good. That was a pretty potent offense yesterday, and based on their first week, I think they do a really good job. Those are tough guys to cover in space. I was really impressed with how we covered yesterday. I think people are questioning the coverage, but you look at when the game was on the line, we didn't get into a prevent defense. We were still blitzing. We were putting guys in one-on-one situations, and really some matchup situations that these guys had to cover if we don't get to the quarterback. I think you hold two teams to one touchdown in the first two games, that's pretty good defense, especially their red zone. They were top in the red zone last year. They were No. 1 in the red zone this year after Week 1. We stopped them three-out-of-four times down there.

(on Perrish Cox's interception)

He squatted in between. He had coverage and really just, if you watch it, the rush of Rak (Brian Orakpo) and Jurrell (Casey)--I mean, if he doesn't get rid of the ball, he's going to get lit up. So he moves in the pocket and knows, 'I have to get rid of it,' and Perrish (Cox) does a good job of just sitting squat. He had coverage on his guy and he was in a good position to make a play.

(on getting sacks despite missing Derrick Morgan)

I think it certainly doesn't hurt that we have depth there. We knew the situation if one of them got hurt last year. This year, we feel very good and feel really good about, you know, we had no idea that (Kevin) Dodd could be in one game. Now we know what he can do. We put a little pressure on him this morning like, 'OK, now you can't be any less than that. You've got a lot laying on you. These guys depend on you being a factor in the game.' So it was good that he did that. You can see what he's capable of doing.

(on if the Lions can blame their loss on their own mistakes and penalties)

They can say that, yeah. I think the penalties affected both teams. I don't know if anybody got a break on the penalties. We were down at the one-yard-line, as well, on one of them. That was my feeling last week. I'm not sure how they feel about it. We'll leave it at that.

(on if playing the Raiders in the preseason helps in this week's preparation)

Yeah, we're going to use that game. Again, all you do is you look at it, compare it to their first two games and see any consistencies in there with tendencies of everything they do. Again, that is the tune-up to go into the regular season, that third preseason game. So it's a valuable piece to use for all three phases.

(on Karl Klug's performance against the Lions)

He played very well. He played very well. Very disruptive, the sack, holding calls on him--I mean, if he's not held, he's getting a sack. He was very disruptive. His effort on chasing screens down--the whole defense's effort was great, but he was normal. That's what he does.

(on why he gave the game ball to Jon Robinson and what the locker room was like after the game)

I mean obviously it was happy. I mean it was the thrill of victory. We've had enough of the agony of defeat. It was good that those guys stuck together like they did. They showed what they're capable of doing. I just thought Jon (Robinson)--that was really nice to get the game ball. That meant a lot, but I thought also Jon has spent a lot of time and effort in trying to build this thing and put this team together with the roster. At the time, I thought Jon deserved it as well.

(on if he gave his game ball to Jon Robinson)

Yes, that was the only football I had. Jon (Robinson) tucked it away and I couldn't get it back.

(on Jon Robinson holding onto his game ball)

I asked him last night. You know, we text back-and-forth the whole way. I said, 'Does your wife Jamie have a problem with you having a football in bed with you tonight?'