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Coach Mularkey's Tuesday Conference Call Transcript

Posted Dec 26, 2017

Titans head coach Mike Mularkey recaps loss to Rams, looks ahead to win-and-in game vs. Jaguars on a Tuesday afternoon conference call with reporters.

HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT - Tuesday, December 26, 2017

(on what running back DeMarco Murray’s MRI showed)

He hurt his knee but I’m not going to rule him out just yet. The thing with DeMarco (Murray) – based on some of the other things he’s had happen to him and how quickly he responds to treatment. So, I’d say he’s day-to-day right now and I just hope for the best. Maybe in a limited role, we don’t know yet.

(on if running backs Derrick Henry and David Fluellen are ready for an expanded role if needed)

Yeah, that will be the plan. Again, we’re right in the middle of game planning today. That’s the plan, obviously if DeMarco (Murray) is not able to play then (David) Fluellen would have a bigger role, no question. 

(on how comfortable he is with Derrick Henry operating in a no-huddle offense)

Yeah, we’re very comfortable. We practice it weekly, he gets as many reps as anybody, as DeMarco (Murray). So, we’re very comfortable with him in it.

(on if he would consider the results of DeMarco Murray’s MRI as good news)

No. Kind of what we expected from preliminary, before the MRI, with what the trainers at least explained to me after the game. Again, he’s just a different guy when it comes to coming back from injury so I just don’t want to rule it out yet. But, about what we expected.

(on if DeMarco Murray being able to play will be contingent on his pain tolerance)

I think it’s more pain.

(on if DeMarco Murray injured his right knee)

Yes.

(on if cornerback Logan Ryan will be healthy enough to play Sunday)

I’m going to say hopefully we get him rolling, hopefully by the end of the week. Again, he’s improved a bunch but I can’t say he’s going to practice Wednesday. I’m hoping by the end of the week that he’s practicing.

(on if he saw signs of positive growth from the offense in yesterday’s game outside of the red zone)
Yeah, the whole team. There’s a lot of things we did well in this game. A lot of good things, just not enough to beat a good football team. Offensively, yeah, it was encouraging to get back on track. Again, against another good defense. Take a lead and we just we couldn’t hold it. Failed there. I’ll take our offense anytime with two minutes to go on an opponent’s 50 (-yard line). We’ve typically been pretty good about winning these types of games and just couldn’t come through at the end here.

(on what he expects from the Jaguars considering they are locked in to the third seed with no possibility of moving)

I would expect a full game plan, just like a game they have to win. I think coming off a loss, I’m sure they don’t want to go into the playoffs with another one. I would expect we’re going to get the best from them knowing Doug Marrone and Tom (Coughlin). I wouldn’t think anything less than that.

(on the improvement Derrick Henry has made in pass protection)

He’s gotten better, there’s no question. Obviously all the experience and the time, what a difference a year makes for him. He’s much better than he was his rookie year. It’s pretty overwhelming when you get into the protection schemes, especially when a defense goes substituted defense with nickels and dimes. It gets complicated, but he’s definitely improved from his first year to this one.

(on quarterback Marcus Mariota’s interception in yesterday’s game)

I’d like to say it’s decision, but I saw what he saw once I saw the tape. When he’s about to let it go, he saw that corner fall off of Corey (Davis’) route, just as he’s letting it go. He tried to sail it to get it over but he just couldn’t do it. But, it was right in the middle of the throw when that corner turned on him. It was too late then, when he let it go.

(on if Derrick Henry would execute all the run game plays if DeMarco Murray is ruled out or if there are certain plays that would be designed for David Fluellen)

We’re talking about that today. Again, we took a little more time yesterday to be with (the families). I let the guys have a morning to be with their families for Christmas, so we’ve got a longer day today and we’re right in the middle of it. We’re right in the middle of game planning that.

(on if it seems like the ‘right thing’ to have the Titans game, the Buffalo-Miami game and the Chargers-Raiders game all played at the same time Sunday given the playoff implications)

I really don’t have an opinion one way or another on that. I know what our situation is, I’m not sure why they did that. We had gotten a notice from it earlier in the week that there’s a possibility that the game could be flexed to a later time. I’m not sure why they did all three at the same time.

(on the performance of wide receivers Corey Davis and Eric Decker in yesterday’s game)
Yeah, I think that the receivers have had a couple really good games. Corey (Davis), what I liked was some of the things he did after the catch. You see how strong of a runner he can be. He did some good things, he’s learning on the run and continuing to improve every week. Deck (Eric Decker) – when his number has been called and the progression is called for him, to go to him, he’s getting open as well.

(on if he was sent an apology letter from the league about Sunday’s controversial onside kick)

No. I had called them Sunday night and they hadn’t spoke to the officiating crew yet. Once they did, they got back to me and I’m – I just didn’t want to waste my time, to be honest with you. It would be more frustrating to continue to follow up with it knowing the answers I’m going to get.

(on if the league’s response to the onside kick is believable)

Yeah, I definitely – I think once they figured it out on the onside – yeah. I think one side was told one thing and the other side was told another, and then they put the ball into play. It was a mistake and I think they admitted that. Tough one to take.

(on if he was on the Rams side on the onside kick, he would've thought the officials made the right call)

Absolutely. It's frustrating because they changed the rule to try and speed the game up and get teams right on the field right after scores. Now your special teams, really, you don't have a lot of time to spend with them, especially when there's no TV timeouts, so you've got to get them on the field. That's the confusing part of it, we thought there was no timeout and they did. 

(on if the team is hitting the panic button after three straight losses)

No, not these guys, not us.

(on if there is a common theme to these three losses in terms of what needs to be corrected)

Yeah, there's a lot of plays that we've missed. We've had opportunities, we've had touchdowns, we've had interceptions dropped, we've had penalties at bad times. There's things that we can correct. I think this last game has probably been the better of the three games overall as a team. I thought our special teams, other than the two punts that almost got blocked, I thought that they played very well. We did a lot of good things in this game, and I want to address it with our guys that there's just a number of plays that are keeping us from winning the close games like we have earlier in the year. 

(on what the mindset of the team is and how he expects the team to fight on Sunday)

I'll tell you, that'll never be an issue. If you watched them on Sunday, everything they had they put on the field. That was what was so disappointing after the loss and how the game unfolded, knowing how hard they played and the effort they put into it. That won't be a question, that's how these guys are.

(on how much of the blame for untimely execution falls on the coaching staff)

It's all on us. Anytime something's not right, I take full responsibility of that, I always have. That's any coach, I would think, that takes a lot of pride in what they do in trying to make sure their players are successful. That's what we coach for. We want our guys to be successful and when they're not that's something we're responsible to hopefully correct and fix that.

(on how they make corrections in one week)

They have to. That's every week. It's not going to be a perfect game every week, wins and losses both. That's what this business is about - trying to get better every week and improving. These guys realize what’s on the line right now. Nobody has to tell anybody that this is our last chance. We've had a number of opportunities we've missed, we still have another one. There's a reason we have another one, because we've won enough games to be in this position. They realize what they have to do without putting any more pressure on themselves. 

(on the Rams success against the blitz)

Yeah, they got rid of the ball pretty quickly or they blocked it up when they were going to throw it down field. That's pretty much the answer to when you get a heavy-blitzing team.

(on what he wants to see out of Marcus Mariota this week)

Just makes some plays. Obviously, being good with the football, taking what the defense is giving him. Continue to get us in the right place. We haven't talked anything about the no-huddle yet, we haven't gotten to that part of our game planning yet. He's operated that pretty efficiently, continue to do that. Just make good decisions with the ball. Same thing I tell him every week before the game, 'Make good decisions and take what the defense gives you.'

(on if the Jaguars have evolved since the first time they faced them this season)

They're not doing as much as they were. We played them the second game of the year, when we studied them then they were doing a little bit more than they are now. They're really not complicated, they're just really good. When they don't do a lot, when defenses don't do a lot, those are the one's you've got to be concerned about. They've got a lot of confidence in what they're doing, and they have players to do it. I think they're doing less than the last time we game planned for them.

(on if this game has a playoff feel for both the team and the fans)

I would think. We felt that way last week, it was very similar circumstances against another playoff team that we had to get a win in. The fans are as big a part of what goes on in that stadium, of supporting us with the noise. They've seen the results, when we get that crowd going it's a great ally for our football team. Our team feeds off of our crowd, there's no question about it. That's why we've had the home success that we've had over the last year-and-a-half, a lot of it's because of our fan support.

(on not having to rely on other teams to lose to make the playoffs)

They've been told that already. They already know that. No need to watch, just need to play.

(on if there are any updates on linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Avery Williamson, who were ill last week)

Yeah, they were. I thought they both played, for as sick as they were, I thought it was pretty impressive what they did in that game. I give them credit.

(on if there were any other injuries)

No, nothing that should hold us back right now.

(on the importance of fans being at Sunday's game)

That's kind of what I just said, really important. That's part of winning in this league is your support at home by your fans. As you've seen, the last few games that we've been there it's been a problem for our opponents, and we need it more than ever this week. I think it'll be a great environment. Weather is part of it, it's just part of it. I know the holidays and all that, but we could sure use them to help us beat these guys to get in.