Titans head coach Mike Mularkey addresses reporters following Monday’s practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPTSeptember 4, 2017(on returning to practice after solidifying the 53-man roster)
It’s good, it’s really good. We talked about there’s nothing like opening day in the NFL, and really opening week, having a plan, starting to put a plan into place. You’re down to your team, this is the team, the 2017 Titans. It’s good to get out here together with them.
In order to bring Harry (Douglas) back at some point, for him to return to the team, he has to be on the active roster. So he was on the active roster and Eric (Weems) was not, and so we just made the switch. Once he (Harry Douglas) made the active roster we could put him on IR with intent to return if we want him back.
(on the significance of Harry Douglas’ knee injury)
We’re going to try and let him heal on his own. We have talked about surgery on it. It’s not for a year, that type of injury, but at least a six-week injury.
(on Harry Douglas’ knee injury)
It’s enough (that) he hasn’t practiced in a week, and he won’t until we bring him back. It’s enough that we decided IR was best for him.
(on Harry Douglas not having surgery on his knee)
That’s the initial plan, we’ll see how it is. If he does have to have it, it may prolong (his time on IR), yes.
(on the team’s depth at wide receiver)
I think we’re pretty good. Looking at us last year to this year, I think we’re good. Pretty happy with it.
(on if he expects Eric Weems to play more at the wide receiver position than he initially would have due to injuries to the receiving corps)
I don’t foresee that. I know he can, he will be the fifth receiver on Sundays. If he has to play he certainly can play, I’ve seen him.
Right now they are.
(on how much Eric Decker and Corey Davis participated in practice)
Good bit. Probably the most that Corey (Davis) has done, and (Eric) Decker did most of the practice.
(on how much he anticipates Corey Davis playing in Sunday’s game)
I don’t know, there won’t be a number count. We’ll have him in on specific situations and see where he goes from there. I’m not going to show our hand, what we’re going to do with him.
(on the decision to sign former Titans center/guard Brian Schwenke)
Familiarity, versatile, we know (Brian) Schwenke. We felt like for what we’re doing right here right now with our roster, it was a better fit for us. Glad to have him back.
(on if there was less competition at the guard position during the preseason than he expected)
That’s probably a good point. There was competition, but the guys that played the best are starting for us. Same five are starting, which I think is really a positive for us. Tried to make it competitive and those guys won the battle out.
(on guard Josh Kline‘s play this preseason)
He’s had some struggles with some guys that are a struggle for a lot of guards in this league, but I think that he’s pretty consistent in his play. We’ve had guys in there, he’s been by far the best player at that position. He’s very smart, he’s crafty. He knows his size and sometimes he has to make up for it in other ways and he does.
(on what concerns him the most about the Oakland Raiders when watching them on film)
Explosive offense. That’s a good football team, all three phases are good phases. We did a review of them this morning, and all three are very good.
(on what he wants to improve upon from last year’s game against the Raiders)
We turned the ball over in our territory, that’s going to kill you no matter what. They’ve been close games, we’ve have opportunities to win the last two here. We’ve made some mistakes, especially late, that have cost us from doing that. I think that we’re very comparable when you look at these two rosters and two teams, the way they’re built.
(on if giving up ‘big plays’ is a concern for him heading into the regular season)
Well I think you’ve got to address it. They’ve got ‘big play’ players on their offense. They’re not afraid to throw it deep, they’re a vertical passing team. (Raiders quarterback) Derek (Carr) is very confident in his arm. He’s got guys that can make plays down the field. We feel like we’ve got guys that can make plays too now, we just have to do it consistently.
(on if Sunday’s game against the Raiders will be a good measuring stick for the team)
It’ll definitely be a good measure. I think (they’re) very similar teams style wise, all three phases. Victory will favor the one that makes the least mistakes.
(on wide receiver Taywan Taylor progressing throughout the preseason)
He’s come a long way. You can tell that it’s important to him, he spends a lot of time studying. He still has a lot of work to do, but he’s come a long way since his first couple days here in this system. It’s a very detailed, be where you’re supposed to be, line up where you’re supposed to be, and he’s getting better at it.
(on if attention to detail is the biggest change he’s seen in Taywan Taylor)
(on if the first game sets a tone for the rest of the season)
I don’t see it as a tone-setter for the whole year, I don’t. I’ve won and lost. Every game is it’s own measuring stick. It’s an important game because it’s the game, the first game, and that’s it. After that, we’ll move on to the next one.
(on if he knows the top three cornerbacks for Sunday’s game)
(on if the cornerbacks know the top three for Sunday’s game)
(on if there will be a set starter opposite cornerback Logan Ryan)
We’ll see on Sunday how it’s going to come out. A lot of that depends on how Oakland comes out to try and attack us as well.
(on if they have a plan for the cornerbacks heading into Sunday’s game)
We have a plan. We’ll have a plan, I’m pretty sure of that.
(on quarterback Marcus Mariota starting Sunday’s game)
It’s awesome. I’m just proud of him, the way he’s come back from the injury. He’s earned this right to get back in the saddle and I know our team is glad he’s back there. He’s at full strength.
(on how confident he feels about his team heading into the regular season)
I feel good about our team, I do. I like our locker room. We have a chance with this locker room. I’ve said it before, it’s a close group, they’re going to work for each other. It’s a resilient group. They’re going to compete, they will compete in every one of these games. We always have a chance with this team.
(on shifting from a preseason mentality to a regular season mentality)
It’s pretty easy. It’s game week. These guys are locked in. It’s all business, it’s all studying an opponent. How much you do that in the preseason, it’s minimal. Here now you’ve got to know what the guy across from you is going to do before he does it. They’re locked in. We’ve got the veterans to show the young guys how to do it.
(on if he’s confident that slow starts won’t be an issue this season)
You never go in and think that, I never think that. I never think anything negative, I don’t. I’m a very positive coach, I’m very positive in my thinking so I don’t think those things. I don’t have a plan until I have to. I think we’re going to start fast. I think we’re going to be productive, I believe that. If you don’t, you’re asking for trouble, you’re asking real life that you better believe in what you’re doing.
(on if he game plans for negative situations)
Yeah, whatever that is, I can’t tell you what that is, I hope it’s nothing. I don’t go in with a plan for something bad to happen. I like to know who does that’s sitting in my position.
(on if they have a game plan for when the team has a third-and-20, or similar situations)
We have a plan for that, yes.
(on if he thinks this year’s rookie class is ready for the regular season)
Yeah I do. They don’t have any more time, so it’s not like you can go ‘hey give me two more weeks.’ They’ve got to be ready to go. Other than Corey (Davis), they’ve gotten plenty of snaps to see the speed of the game. If anything, trust their ability, trust our plan. We have a good plan, we have rules for everything. Don’t make it faster than it already is. It’s a fast game and I think they understand that. Corey (Davis) is a guy that’s going to have to get his feet wet, and the sooner he can the better he’ll be.
(on if the adjustment to the NFL will come quickly for Corey Davis)
I think he’s a good player. I think it’s not going to be too hard for him to pick the game up and be effective.
(on if it’s easier for rookie wide receivers to transition to the speed of the NFL than rookies at other positions)
Could be. Yeah, I’d say that’s probably true.
(on tight end Jonnu Smith‘s blocking)
I’ve been very pleased with his blocking. He is a tough kid, he is a tough player. He’s done well. I have no concerns putting him up and blocking the point for us, I don’t.
(on the decision to carry only three tight ends on the active roster)
A lot of that had to do with special teams, having four on that. And age, we’re younger now there. I’m not concerned about the depth right now. I don’t know if we’ve every played a down with four tight ends in a game, so we should be set with three.