HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - Monday, December 4, 2017 **
I'll start off here with an injury report. Offensively, Rishard Matthews, we'll work him out tomorrow. He's probably still day-to-day, but we're anticipating him being back hopefully. Delanie (Walker), same ankle he's with – he'll probably be day-to-day. Same routine we've been doing, same program. We'll monitor him during the week, see how he's coming along. Probably the most serious injury was DaQuan Jones with a torn bicep. He'll be out and will have surgery on it and will be placed on IR. Logan Ryan with a concussion, again, we'll see how he goes through the protocol and again, that's day-to-day. Derrick Morgan with a knee sprain, again, we'll see how he is, day-to-day. Sly (Sylvester) Williams with an ankle sprain. We had a few bumps and bruises in that one, physical game more than the norm.
(on if NT Sylvester Williams is day-to-day)
Yes. He looked actually good this morning, but again, we'll see. Give him another day tomorrow.
(on losing DL DaQuan Jones for the season)
Yeah, these last two games probably the best two games – for sure this year – that he's played back-to-back with the sack number, and just being really disruptive upfront. Really disappointed to see him get injured like he did.
(on how DaQuan Jones will be replaced)
We have a pretty good rotation how things go anyhow during games. Austin (Johnson) obviously will fill that need. David King who has been on the inactives for however many weeks – again, we're talking today, he'll be up. If we were playing today, he'd come up and be in that rotation.
*(on the opportunity for DL Austin Johnson to perform in place of DaQuan Jones)
Good. I don't think he gets credit for what he does production-wise for the number of snaps that he plays a game. He does not have the numbers, obviously, that Jurrell (Casey) or DaQuan (Jones) have, maybe not even (Karl) Klug. But, Austin (Johnson) has done a pretty good job when he's had his opportunities and that's a good thing for us.
(on how exactly DaQuan Jones tore his bicep)
Just freak (accident). Got caught in a pile.
*(on what TE Luke Stocker brings to the team and if he fits the true blocking tight end mold)
Actually, he can do that, he can move – the versatility was what we like. Can block the point, can move, can lineup in the backfield as a fullback. Does have some special teams value as well. There's a lot of things he can do for you, a lot of game experience, lot of game experience. Just gives you another option.
(on if Luke Stocker is similar to former Titans TE Anthony Fasano)
I'd say very similar, yeah. Again, just having all that play time under his belt.
(on the challenge of staying focused during a two-game road trip)
I don't think it's going to be as challenging as people think. This is a pretty locked in team right now. They know where they're at, we know what we have to do. Again, they know we're going on the road this week to play the Cardinals and that's it. Went over logistics this morning to kind of get it all out of the way, so when we come back in here Wednesday there's no more talk of travel, lodging, meals, all that stuff. It's all about the Cardinals and it will be. Again, we'll talk about next week as next week approaches. But, this week is all Cardinals. But, not much is going to change from the schedule other than leaving Friday.
(on what led to the decision to remain in Arizona next week)
A lot of research went into it in the offseason. Again, looking at all the options, looking even back to where we would be here weather-wise, didn't want to be caught here where we'd have to be in the bubble on the turf if we could help ourselves. The travel obviously had some big play into it and I think it's good for our team to be around each other this time of the year where we're at. I think it's going to be good for just getting closer than we already are.
(on if the week-long trip to Arizona will have a training-camp-like feel)
I'm assuming it's going to be that way. I haven't done this before, I would think it would be that way. We're going to be around each other a lot and I think these guys like being around each other, I do.
(on if the Luke Stocker signing indicates FB Jalston Fowler's role is decreasing)
He still has a role. Again, it's a fullback role, he can't lineup and block the point. Again, we have some options, that's the good thing about it. We have a lot of guys right now at that position, which – it's a tough position to find that can play multiple roles. Jalston (Fowler) is still part of it. We'll decide on him when we put the game plan together.
(on why the run game was able to start off effectively yesterday compared to recent weeks)
I thought we played better upfront. That starts with those guys, for sure. Our double teams were better, our combination blocks were better, our sustains were better. We had better blocks from the outside. We just did things better.
(on if the game plan was designed to open up the run game through the passing game)
Not purposely. There's a lot of thought that goes into trying to – again, that first drive, you're trying to get something going. A lot of thought goes into that but it wasn't about trying to set up the run. We were just – how to attack them, how most effectively can we do it.
(on the decision to put CB LeShaun Sims on Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins and how Sims performed)
He played well, he played very well. Again, we did some things defensively that helped him. I'm sure you saw, we had Jayon (Brown) out there jamming them, which he should've done the same thing on the interception. He was supposed to be out there jamming them. Again, we gave LeShaun (Sims) some help just like we did with Logan (Ryan) before the injury. I thought we had a good game plan to try to take him away which is not very easy to do.
(on LeShaun Sims' length)
I like his length, I like his confidence. He's got a very quiet confidence about him, he doesn't say a lot, you guys know that about him. He's about as quiet as a guy in the locker room as there is. But, he speaks volumes with his confidence and his play.
(on if the decision to put LeShaun Sims on DeAndre Hopkins was due to size)
Somewhat, yeah. I mean, you talk about one of the more physical receivers in the league, it's (DeAndre) Hopkins.
*(on what can be carried over from preparing for DeAndre Hopkins to preparing for Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald)
Very similar what we've faced going through all these games. The A.J. Greens, the (DeAndre) Hopkins, the T.Y. Hiltons, the now Hall-Of-Famer who is playing like a Hall-Of-Famer. He's playing about as high (of) a level as you can right now. The quarterback trusts him and is throwing it to him, and he's catching all of them from what I saw this past game.
(on how the offense's wide receiver screens have fared this season and what else he wants to get out of those calls)
Probably inconsistency, but they're not really screens like you're – there's a difference between the two. What we've done in the last couple weeks obviously haven't been blocked very good, so not good enough.
(on if the purpose of the first few plays being quick passes was to get quarterback Marcus Mariota in a rhythm)
It wasn't intentional, we thought we would have guys open based on what they've showed in coverage and how they're adjustments to empty and formations. Some of the things we did, we thought we could get the ball out and make something, but it had nothing to do with making Marcus (Mariota) comfortable. It had us making first downs on first down if we could.
(on how much wide receiver Rishard Matthews returning impacts the team's ability to get the ball down field)
We've had some big plays with Rishard (Matthews), that will help, that certainly will help. It's not like we didn't have an effort to do it yesterday. Wish we would've had a couple of calls there when we did throw it down field.
(on the unusual formation of the South Beach play)
We call it South Beach, we do, because the first time we used it was in Miami. We tried to figure out a formation for it and that's what it was. It was effective there, it wasn't effective yesterday just because of the block. Harry (Douglas) has got to do a better job of blocking that. There's lots of options on that play. Marcus (Mariota) took the right one and if we get a block we've got a chance for a big play, just like we did in Miami.
(on how contagious tight end Delanie Walker's third-quarter catch prior to going for it on fourth-and-one is to a team)
Pretty contagious I would think, or hard not to be. It's like when you have a negative play how it sucks the wind out of you. Those kind of plays get everybody, gets their blood flowing. It's a great energy. Just get the ball in Delanie (Walker's) hands and anything can happen. You've see that over the years, he just keeps doing it.
(on if tight end Delanie Walker is underrated around the league)
Not against the team's we're playing. I don't know about anybody else, but I know that the team's we're playing are trying to stop him.
(on how the team can start faster)
Don't turn the ball over, that would help, don't blow a coverage and don't miss a field goal. Those are three plays in the first half that had nothing to do with anybody but ourselves. Those three plays alone, it won't be 10 to nothing.
(on how as a coach you create a team that expects to win)
There's a trust in this room. There's a lot of time together, starting back in April when they first show up as far as building that relationship and building the trust amongst each other and the camaraderie and the closeness of this team, it starts back in April and it continues to build. If you win some of these games they understand you can win them, and we have. I think that has a lot to do with it. We don't want to have to do it, but we know we can.
(on if the team's success in close games has carried over from last year)
Yeah, I just think that's the make up of our team. We feel very good about wining every week. We feel good about it that we have the ability to win no matter what the score is. 60 minutes is what it's going to take to win these games. It's hard to win. If we've got to win them like we're winning them, we'll take that week in and week out.
(on how low snaps can 'mess things up')
Pretty good bit. With your timing, that will definitely screw up your timing.
(on how he thought wide receiver Corey Davis did yesterday)
After reviewing it with the coaches, we feel like he's getting better every game, both in the route running and for sure in the run game. He had a big block on Derrick (Henry's) run down there. Actually he had a really good block, if he had finished the block we probably would've scored. He created that, but that same guy that he blocked down at the nine-yard line. Those are things, again, a young player's got to see, if you finish this play it's a walk-in touchdown.
(on if tight end Jonnu Smith's blocking has continued to improve and the block he had on the goal line Sunday)
Big, same play we scored on them down at their place, same block. He had a big block there as he did yesterday. One time he got beat by (Jadeveon) Clowney, that's probably not a good match up, you know. Most of the game yesterday he blocked well and got recognized for it in the team meeting this morning.
(on the key against Jadeveon Clowney)
I thought we had a good plan, especially in the run game. I thought our guys up front took it as a challenge. They all knew he was going to line up and he did. He basically lined up over one of them at some point and we had to block him and they did a good job of blocking him.
Him, quite often. I'll give him credit for it. I can tell you it was already in discussion, but when you've got a guy, he comes over and he kind of confirms what you already think, that's a good thing. That makes it easier to make that play call.
(on what made Taylor Lewan want to call that play)
Overloading the one side. Based on where the defender is on the line of scrimmage, if he does anything other than come straight up the field he's probably out of position. (Taylor) Lewan just felt like he had leverage on the next guy inside, which I think was (Zach) Cunningham, and he did. We say, 'they did what the cards said,' in practice. You do that, they did exactly what we needed them to do. And Harry (Douglas) had a big block out there on the corner.
(on how Jonnu Smith's role changes going forward with the addition of Luke Stocker)
We'll find that out when we get into game planning, we're just in the beginning stages. Arizona's not a familiar foe, so we've got some work to do on these guys. We're all sitting separately putting our game plan together. We're not near in those discussions yet.
(on how long it will take tight end Luke Stocker to catch up)
Not long, he's very intelligent. He's seen this offense in Atlanta is very similar. Same offense we ran in Atlanta, Dirk Koetter ran. Same terminology, same everything, so it's very similar.
(on how he would rate Marcus Mariota's play yesterday)
Very good, really good.
(on what he liked about Marcus Mariota's play yesterday)
He took what the defense allowed him to take. He got us in all the right runs, all the right, the zone read, the run for the touchdowns, the throwaways when there wasn't anything there. All things that helped us win yesterday.
(on how much the right side of the offensive line has picked things up)
We had better double teams yesterday than we had a week ago from those two (tackle Jack Conklin and guard Josh Kline). Definitely better.
(on the national media doubting the Titans despite winning six of their last seven games)
(on if he's OK with people doubting the Titans)
(on if he uses people doubting the team as motivation)
It's noise. That's the noise we talk about.
(on Tony Dungy calling the Titans a dump truck)
Is that what he called it? Whatever that means, whatever Tony (Dungy) says, yeah I agree with Tony.
(on if he shows the team comments made doubting them to motivate them)
No, I don't. I think our guys know better, they know the objective is to win every week. We're trying to do that, got to do it again, got to win the next one.
(on if he takes Tony Dungy calling the Titans a dump truck as a compliment)
I really don't know what it means. If it means we're boring and we're a load to handle, I'm OK with that.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Houston Texans in Week 13 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)