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Six Hot Topics from Presser with Titans Coach Mike Mularkey

Posted Sep 25, 2017

TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt offers six hot topics from head coach Mike Mularkey's afternoon press conference.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Mularkey met with reporters on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team’s 33-27 win over the Seahawks.

Here’s a look at six hot topics:

Sherman hit on Mariota

Mularkey has seen the tape of Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman’s hit on Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, and he didn’t like the look of it the second time either.

He also didn’t like the fact offsetting penalties were called on the play.

"Totally unnecessary,” Mularkey said of the hit. “The outcome of what happened was to have two penalties nullify each other so basically he got a clean shot on our quarterback and there was no penalty. There was no negative ramifications for their team with that hit he put on our quarterback, which, we may bring that up to the competition committee about a rule change, because you can't do that and then have no ramifications against your team." 

A number of Titans rushed to defend Mariota after the sideline hit.

Sherman was called for unnecessary roughness. But retaliation penalties on the Titans offset on the play, and Sherman was not ejected.

Mularkey said the Titans won’t shy away from defending their own.

“It wasn’t just players (who rushed to the scene),” Mularkey said. “It was a bench area. This is a very close locker room, a close team -- coaches, trainers, (etc). When you do something like that, there is going to be retaliation every time. … I tried to explain to the officials yesterday – there is no way we are not going to do what we did.”

Offensive line play

Mariota wasn’t sacked on Sunday.

He was pressured on just two of his 37 dropbacks vs Seattle, the lowest pressure rate of any QB on Sunday. Left tackle Taylor Lewan and right tackle Jack Conklin combined for 72 pass block snaps vs the Seahawks, and zero pressures allowed. Guard Josh Kline was one of the team’s top five highest-graded players, per PFF.

All this on a day when the Titans rushed for 195 yards.

“They played well, and they communicated well,” Mularkey said. “That’s a very good front, and they do a lot of things, a lot of movement. They hit us a couple of times in the run game because of the movement, but we were just in very good sync with the way the protection scheme worked out, the backs did a good job (too).

“I thought our guys, just the way they worked together, was a big factor.”

Mularkey also complimented the blocking of the team’s running backs and receivers.

Next up: DeShaun Watson and the Texans

The Titans just dealt with one elusive quarterback.

Another is on the horizon in Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Watson has 124 rushing yards this season, including a 49-yard touchdown run against the Bengals.

“I have seen some plays … and seen some of the runs he’s made,” Mularkey said. “He has the ability to extend plays, just like Russell.”

The Texans enter this weekend’s game with a 1-2 record.

“It is one of those games where if you want to win in the division, you have to win on the road and you have to beat the teams that have won the division, especially this team, which has won it the past two years,” Mularkey said. “So it’s important.”

“Our guys never let up”

The Titans hit Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson 10 times on Sunday, and the defense amassed 34 pressures against the Seahawks -- 43.6 % percent of Wilson’s dropbacks.

Linebacker Erik Walden had the only sack, but linebacker Brian Orakpo led the Titans with 11 total pressures.

“They were coming after him,” Mularkey said. “We had six or seven really legit shots of getting him down. We didn’t, but he was running. And our guys never let up.”

Sorry, Adoree’

DeMarco Murray’s 75-yard touchdown run was nice. Receiver Rishard Matthews also turned in a highlight reel play that excited the crowd – his 55-yard touchdown catch, and run, was also thing of beauty.

But rookie Adoree’ Jackson’s 80-yard punt return for a touchdown really got the Nissan Stadium crowd on its feet.

The only problem is it didn’t count.

Running back David Fluellen was called for an illegal block on the play, and Mularkey thinks it was legit.

“I think it was a block in the back, I do,” Mularkey said. “I could see why they would call that. It was unnecessary, that guy would not have made the play. So it was really not a good decision on Fluellen’s part to block him.”

Mularkey said when Fluellen threw his arms up “like I didn’t do it, that’s a guilty for sure.”

Injury update

Receiver Corey Davis (hamstring) and safety Johnathan Cyprien (hamstring) have a chance to return for Sunday’s game against the Texans.

“I am not going to rule them out yet,” Mularkey said. “I’ll give you more information on Wednesday about those two.”

Mularkey said Davis will be ready to go when healthy.

“He’s ready,” Mularkey said. “You could tell when he got into the Oakland game he prepares. There’s not a lot of mistakes from him when he gets in there.”

Running back Derrick Henry suffered a thigh contusion in Sunday’s game, but should be good to go this week at Houston.