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Six Hot Topics with Titans Coach Mike Mularkey

Posted Dec 11, 2017

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

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Titans coach Mike Mularkey just chatted with reporters on Monday on a conference call, one day after the team’s 12-7 loss to the Cardinals.

This Sunday, the Titans will travel to face the San Francisco 49ers.

Here’s a look at six hot topics:

Offensive woes

The Titans were stagnant on offense on Sunday, especially in the second half, when the team managed just three first downs and 62 yards of total offense.

The Titans totaled just 204 yards and 14 first downs in the game, and went 4-of-12 on third down.

Mularkey said the Titans have to do a better job of executing.

He said the Titans didn’t have very many mental errors in the game, but unfortunately the ones the team had were right at the point where the ball was going to be, either throwing it or running it.

“It’s very fixable,” Mularkey said. “There are things in life that aren’t. This is one that is. We’ve got a good group, a veteran staff that has been in a lot of meetings, a lot of rooms and a lot of games, and been with a lot of players.

“These guys trust what we’re going to do, we’re looking at it all over how we can get better. Everybody is, it’s being addressed.”

What about Henry?

Mularkey was asked why running back Derrick Henry didn’t play more in the second half.

Henry played just 13 snaps in the game, and finished with 20 yards on eight carries. Running back DeMarco Murray carried the ball 11 times for 34 yards while playing 47 snaps.

“Just the way the plays unfolded,” Mularkey said. “(DeMarco) was running effectively … and he is still our guy, and Derrick is the guy that will come in when he needs a break.  It is just the way the game unfolded. It wasn’t done purposely.”

Mariota talk

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota should practice on Wednesday as the team begins preparation for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. Mariota suffered a sprained left knee in the first half of Sunday’s game.

“We don’t think it is real serious,” Mularkey said. “We are going to take it day-by-day. He played the rest of the game and didn’t miss a play. We’ll see as we go.”

Mariota completed 16-of-31 passes for 159 yards, with two interceptions, against the Cardinals. Mularkey said after the game Mariota suffered a knee injury in the contest, and played through it. Mariota said it came on a first half run, when he took a hit as he was sliding.

Mularkey said the injury impacted his performance, and the team’s ability to call plays.

“It affected a number of things,” Mularkey said of Mariota’s injury. “It limited us game plan-wise, more than you can imagine. … I know it was on his mind. He missed some throws he usually doesn’t miss.

“I definitely think it had a little bit of an affect (on him). It certainly did with the play-calling.”

Practicing in Arizona

The Titans didn’t return home after Sunday’s game.

Instead, the team remained out West. The team will practice at Arizona State University during the course of the week before traveling to the Bay Area on Saturday for Sunday’s game against the 49ers. 

“We get some more time, some more one-on-one time with these guys, they can be around in our meeting rooms watching film,” Mularkey said. “I think it is (a plus).”

Lewan update

The MRI on left tackle Taylor Lewan’s back didn’t show anything too concerning, Mularkey said. Lewan is expected to practice on Wednesday.

Lewan left Sunday’s game after playing just 18 snaps because of back spasms. He was replaced by Dennis Kelly, and did not return to action.

“I think it scared him a little bit,” Mularkey said of Lewan. “I think any time you are messing with your low back it put a little scare in him. I think it’s a relief (it’s not worse). He’ll get treatment for the next couple of days to just calm it down.”

Other Injuries

Tight end Phillip Supernaw (ankle) won’t practice on Wednesday, Mularkey said.

Also, linebacker Derrick Morgan, who missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury, isn’t expected to practice on Wednesday as well.