NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans were back at St. Thomas Sports Park Monday coming off a 40-17 loss in Pittsburgh to the Steelers on Thursday Night Football.
Coach Mike Mularkey spoke to the media following practice. Here are some highlights from what he had to say:
- Mariota’s Workload:
- Coming off of a four-interception performance in Pittsburgh this past Thursday, Mularkey was asked if quarterback Marcus Mariota “having more on his plate this year” had hurt the third-year pro’s play. Coach Mularkey pointed to the Titans efforts on the ground.
- “I don’t think so,” Mularkey responded. “If anything, it’s more in the run game. It’s been getting us into a better play, or checking to the same play on the other side. It’s nothing more, he’s probably got more of that than anything in the passing game.”
- Mularkey also disagreed with the idea that the team’s ability (or inability, at times) to run the ball this season is impacting his quarterback. The coach cited that his team was still attempting to run the ball regularly and that the passing (34) and rushing (21) attempts against Pittsburgh remained “pretty balanced.”
- The Titans are averaging a net rushing total of 117.5 yards per game though eleven weeks of the season, ranking them 12th in the NFL. It is a steep drop from their 2016 number of 136.7 that put them third behind only the Buffalo Bills (No. 1) and Dallas Cowboys (No. 2)
- Playoff Mentality
- At 6-4, Tennessee is a game behind the Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) who currently sit a top the AFC South. The Titans, however, hold a tie-breaker over Jacksonville because of a Week 2 road win. Both teams are 2-1 in the division. The Week 11 loss knocked Tennessee out of the tie for leader in the South and instead has them as the first wildcard team in the playoffs and an 18% chance of claiming the division title, according to FPI. Mularkey was asked how he prepares players who have not yet made the playoffs or won a division title in their careers.
— Buck Reising (@BuckReising) November 20, 2017
- “I think they’re experiencing some pretty big games as we’ve gone along here, Mularkey said. “I think we’ve got a good locker room that surrounds them with a bunch of guys that have been. I think they understand the magnitudes of the games, where we’re at right now with our record and our schedule. I think they know, and you can talk to them all you want, they’ve got to come in here every day ready to work and the veterans have a big part in playing that role and getting ready for these games.“
- The Titans have not made the postseason since going 13-3 in 2008.
- Harry Douglas Back At Practice
- Mularkey reported that the team will have the opportunity to activate 10-year veteran wide receiver Harry Douglas in the next three weeks. Douglas was placed on Injured Reserve in September with a knee injury before Tennessee narrowed its final roster down to 53 players; he returned to the practice field today.
- Douglas has been a constant presence at St. Thomas Sports Park despite his injury, acting as a “coach on the field” for a Titans receiving corps that added several new faces this season.
- “He’s a great leader, Mularkey said of Douglas. “He’s great in the locker room, great in that receiver’s room. He’s like a coach in that receiver’s room, coach on the field, they trust him, he’s been great on the sideline during games. He’s got a lot of experience behind him in a lot of different roles. He does things the right way, he’s a guy to follow.”
- Mularkey hinted that Douglas could be active as soon as Sunday’s game but that the team would give the receiver time to acclimate physically.
- Key Word: Resiliency
- Tennessee was outclassed in their most recent game, a 40-17 road loss on Thursday Night Football to the Pittsburgh Steelers but, if there is any concern about the Titans response to adversity, their coach did not show it.
- “This is not looking back, not looking forward, not looking at what any other people have done, we’re looking at what we have to do, and we have to win a division game on the road, and that’s all we’re focused on,” Mularkey emphasized. “Nothing else will be talked about other than that all week.”
- Tennessee rebounded from a 43-point loss to the Houston Texans in Week 4 by holding the Dolphins to 16 points, 178 total yards and a 33% third-down conversion rate (five-of-15) in a loss followed by four-straight wins.
Up Next: The Titans travel to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for a chance to sweep the Colts (3-7) at 12:00 PM CT on November 26th.