NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Mularkey met with reporters on Sunday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team’s 7-3 preseason loss to the New York Jets.Here’s a look at six hot topics:
Film reviewMularkey used the term “wake-up call” when discussing the team’s performance immediately after the game on Saturday night, and a day later he still wasn’t pleased with the overall play.
But Mularkey said he thought the defense “played winning football” after a poor start, which included giving up a long completion, and a score on the first drive. He liked the effort, and consistency on special teams.
Mularkey said it was not a good start for cornerback Logan Ryan, who gave up the deep ball, but he reminded it’s the first preseason game.
“He gave up some plays,” Mularkey said of Ryan. “I like that he’s his own worst critic – that’s important. He’ll respond to that.”
On offense, the Titans mixed in some bad with the good, Mularkey said.
“After watching it a couple of times, it was still not good enough to win a football game,” Mularkey said. “There were less mistakes than I thought there were, the problem was the mistakes that (we made) were critical, and some of them catastrophic. We have to get better.”
The Titans surrendered eight sacks against the Jets. Quarterback Alex Tanney was sacked seven times.
Mularkey said the Titans had protection breakdowns that included veteran linemen, and running backs. He said fullback Jalston Fowler didn’t pick up his man on Tanney’s first sack.
“I think it may be good for us, what happened last night,” Mularkey said of the overall, less-than-satisfactory performance. “We’ll see. Based on being around this team … they are pretty good about responding.”
Mariota performanceQuarterback Marcus Mariota played two series against the Jets.
Mariota completed 2-of-3 passes for 15 yards, and he also ran once for six yards. Mariota was sacked in the first quarter, but he bounced up without hesitation.
It was his first action since suffering a fractured fibula on December 24 of last season.
“Purposely we tried to get him out of the pocket on the first play, and liked the execution of it,” Mularkey said. “Unusual for him to have a delay of game on him – I think that’s just first preseason game, and he made a mistake there. But I thought he did a number of good things in the limited number of snaps that we gave him.”
Running back DeMarco Murray did not play on Saturday night because of a hamstring injury. He is making progress and will do more this week, Mularkey said.
Receiver Corey Davis, also sidelined with a hamstring injury, is “progressing pretty well,” Mularkey said, but he’s “still week to week.” Mularkey is hopeful he’ll play in the preseason at some point.
Receiver Mekale McKay (hamstring) probably won’t practice against the Panthers, but could return end of week.
Linebacker Kourtnei Brown (hamstring) is out 1-2 weeks after being injured vs. Jets. Long snapper Beau Brinkley is expected to be out several days with a groin strain. Linebacker Daren Bates dislocated at least two fingers, but he returned to action and should be available for practices this week.
Quarterback Matt Cassel (thumb) did not play against the Jets, but he’ll play in the preseason, Mularkey said.
Rookie standoutsMularkey singled out linebacker Jayon Brownwhen asked which rookies stood out from the game.
“He played a lot of snaps, and I thought he played really well,” Mularkey said of Brown. “You could see his speed, and you could see his aggression. You could see he could be a core special teams player.”
Mularkey said receiver Taywan Taylor made some plays, but did say he needs to clean up some things in game.
Mularkey complimented the play of second-year linebacker Kevin Dodd, who was playing for the first time since his second procedure on his foot.
Dodd played in 37 snaps.
“He had the second-most snaps on defense, and he did some good things,” Mularkey said. “I liked to see where he was physically with his conditioning, that he could play that number of snaps.”
Cornerback Kalan Reed also performed well, Mularkey said.
“He played the most snaps on defense,” Mularkey said. “Kalan played good. He played very good.”
Panthers on radar
After a morning walk-through and meetings, the Titans are scheduled to practice on Monday night at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
This week – on Wednesday and Thursday mornings – the Titans will hold joint practices with the Carolina Panthers in Nashville. The practices begin at 9:15 a.m. each day, and are open to the public.
“It will be good,” Mularkey said. “It will be very good competition with these guys. I think it’s two very physical teams, very similar teams in regards to offenses and defenses, style of play, and even schematically offensively, with quarterbacks having the ability to run the football.
“So I think it will be good competition. It will be good for us to work against somebody else. … There’s a lot of positives coming from this work.”