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Six Hot Topics from Mike Mularkey's Press Conference

Posted Sep 11, 2017

TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt offers six hot topics from head coach Mike Mularkey's Monday 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 26-16 loss to the Raiders.

Here’s a look at six hot topics:

Site for Sunday?

The city of Jacksonville has seen record-setting flooding as a result of Hurricane Irma, and it’s led to speculation about whether Sunday’s game could be moved, or rescheduled.

“I don't know exactly what their situation is right now,” Mularkey said. “I haven't heard anything from there. I've been trying to find out some things with the home I have down there, other than that I think they're still in the middle of the storm right now, so I really don't know.”

Mularkey said the Titans anticipate playing in Jacksonville. But there’s at least some uncertainty.

“We're going to go where we have to play, that's really up to the NFL,” he said. “I would anticipate us playing down there.”

As long as the teams are notified by the middle of the week, Mularkey said the teams should have time. The Titans are scheduled to play Jacksonville at Nissan Stadium on December 31.

“We're going to go as scheduled, our normal week,” he said. “Nothing would change for us obviously if they switched the games. We'd have to maybe find a hotel because I know we don't have one right now for this weekend.”

UPDATE: The Jaguars announced on Tuesday the game will be played in Jacksonville, as scheduled, on Sunday.

Corey Davis

Titans rookie Corey Davis played 42 of the game’s 64 snaps, and he was effective.

Davis caught six passes for 69 yards in the contest. He went up high and made a nice catch on third down for a 23-yard gain for his first NFL catch. 

“I think it was pretty close to what we thought he'd play,” Mularkey said. “You have him playing with so many different personnel groupings when you go in and I think that's about where we were. I think it showed probably him too that he's got some work to do getting in shape and playing as much as he did yesterday. If he had some mistakes they were later in the game than they were early in the game, when he got fatigued.”

Mularkey said Davis did well for the most part on his assignments, but noted there’s room for improvement.

“For his first game, I was pretty pleased with what he did,” Mularkey said. “It’s pretty amazing, some of the catches he made. We haven’t had a lot of those – lineup and run a fade route, catch it over the top of a corner – in a long time. So, that was pleasant to see. He made some good plays, but there’s some things – we had a lot of young guys play yesterday. A lot of young guys played pretty well. I think that’s going to just help them keep ascending at what they’re doing.”

Special teams talk

The Titans failed to recover an onside kick. The team allowed a 41-yard kick return, and safety Brynden Trawick was called for roughing the punter, which resulted in Oakland kicking a field goal. 

Mularkey said after Sunday’s game he wants to see improvement. But he made it clear he’s fully expecting that to happen moving forward.

“I'm not giving up hope on our special teams,” Mularkey said. “I'll tell you this, and (special teams coach) Steve Hoffman said this this morning, he's not been around a group, and I haven't either, that has the energy that this group has. They're so into the game. We were so efficient with having our guys ready. Again, there's a lot going on this year with the time clock and the game trying to be sped up. They've got to be there, they've got to be on the sideline, they've got to be ready to go. There's a lot of energy and their effort is without doubt outstanding. Where we've got to get better is the details of where they're supposed to be, how they're supposed to hit double teams, the little things. Each one of them doing their own thing and trusting that the other guy is doing their job, and that’s where we didn't do that yesterday.”

Mularkey said Trawick was blocked into Oakland’s punter, “which is not a foul.”

Nice hops

Rookie Adoree’ Jackson electrified the Nissan Stadium crowd with his kick return on Sunday.

It even impressed Mularkey.

Jackson leaped over Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio while running full speed on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter. Raiders linebacker James Cowser also became a hurdle for the former track star, who ended up being hauled down on the 35-yard line when Cowser grabbed his ankle.

“We looked at it — he went up at the 27 and came down on the 35,” Mularkey said. “So, I’d say if he was doing the triple jump, that was — no, it was amazing. It really was amazing, the yardage that he got.”

Overall, Mularkey thought Jackson performed well in his first NFL start.

“He made a lot of plays,” Mularkey said. “The penalty that was called on him, to me that’s how you defend a pass in the National Football League. I thought it was about as well as it can be defended and he did it a number of times. Again, he’s another guy – every snap is going to be good for him. But, he had a tough duty. That’s a good – that’s one of the best receivers in football.”

Up next: Jaguars

The Titans will face the division leading Jaguars on Sunday.

Jacksonville beat Houston on Sunday, and they racked up 10 sacks in the game.

“We’re on to Jacksonville,” Mularkey said. “We are full speed ahead, we’ve already had a team meeting on them. We’ve already addressed it, we’ve gone through a pretty lengthy breakdown of all three of their phases. So, our team is already well aware that they’re going to be working on them the next two days. This one is out of our control, this last one. We’re on to the next one which is the most important one.” 

Mularkey doesn’t expect the memory of December’s game in Jacksonville – won by the Jaguars – to play a big role this week. The Titans have business in 2017.

“I tink our guys are locked in,” Mularkey said. “Getting ready for a division game, and starting the season with a division game early on the road against a team that just went on the road and beat another good football team at their own place. They’ll be ready.

Dodd inactive

Linebacker Kevin Dodd, a second round pick in last year’s NFL Draft, was among the team’s inactives for Sunday’s game.

Mularkey said he’s improved, but the Titans have other options, including Aaron Wallace and Erik Walden behind starters Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. And special teams is a factor, Mularkey said.

“I think he's gotten better. He has worked to get better,” Mularkey said of Dodd. “As limited as he was last year with that foot (injury) and to come in here, to me, he got better and better. Right now we're just at a point (where) that plays more of a factor, the special teams part of it does, than his role, the number of limited plays he'd have in that role, playing outside. If we needed that outside rusher for some reason, we had to call him up, I'd have no issues with him going in there and being effective.”

Bonus item: Injury Update

The Titans will be without safety Johnathan Cyprien for Sunday’s game.

Cyprien is expected to miss several weeks after suffering a hamstring injury in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders.  Cornerback Tye Smith also suffered a broken hand against the Raiders, and he’s questionable for this week.

The Titans are expected to get cornerback LeShaun Sims back, however. Sims missed Sunday’s game with a groin injury.

Veteran Da’Norris Searcy is expected to step in for Cyprien, a former Jaguar who was signed this offseason.

“Fortunately we have some depth at that position, with Curtis Riley as well,” Mularkey said of the safety position. “We have some depth there. That is one of the positions we kept for special teams, so we have some guys who can step in and have some experience.”