NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Quarterback Marcus Mariota and coach Mike Mularkey spoke to the media Wednesday as the Titans continue preparations to host their division rival, the Houston Texans, at Nissan Stadium Sunday, December 3rd.
This is what they had to say:
- Preparations for Clowney
- Houston pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney is one of the most prolific defenders in the NFL. The 6’5″, 270-pound end from Rock Hill, SC has had the start of his career derailed by injuries but has stayed healthy this season and accumulated nine sacks, two forced fumbles (one a strip sack of Mariota earlier this season), two fumble recoveries and 10 stuffs (defined as the defense denying a running play at or before the line of scrimmage) for losses of 35 yards over the first 11 games.
- Asked about making the necessary preparations for the former first-overall pick, both coach and quarterback gave their thoughts:
- “They do a good job with (Clowney),” Mularkey said. “He’s gonna be all over the place, especially in sub situations, third downs. And, everybody’s gonna get a chance to block him… You can’t rely on him being in one place or another (along the defensive front). That’s an advantage to them and we gotta block him.”
- “You have to be aware (of him) for sure,” Mariota added. “You can’t get fixated on (Clowney) because I think you lose track of what’s going on around (you) but I think he’s a great player. He’s had an awesome last couple of weeks and he definitely poses a challenge.”
- According to Sarah Barshop of ESPN’s NFL Nation, the Texans held a walkthrough Wednesday instead of practice, but Clowney was listed as “did not participate” on the team’s injury report with both shoulder and ankle injuries.
- Next Game Up
- In Week 4 of this season, Tennessee was bullied by Houston on their home turf by a score of 57-14. Mariota threw for 96 yards, completing six of his 10 passes and tossing two interceptions. He also ran for two scores from 34 and two yards out respectively but injured his hamstring on the second touchdown and did not play in the game after halftime.
- “Next game up,” Mularkey responded when asked if there was an element of revenge to seeing the Texans again this season. “It’s the next game up. That game, just like this past game, is over. Nothing we can do about it, so this is the next game we’ve got to win in order to accomplish what we want to accomplish this year.”
- After the blowout, Mariota was forced to miss the following game, a 16-10 loss to the Dolphins in Miami, before returning to the line-up and guiding his team to four consecutive wins. Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson will also be missing from this contest after brutalizing the Titans defense in Week 5, running for one score and passing for four more. Watson tore his ACL earlier in the year.
— Buck Reising (@BuckReising) November 29, 2017
- Mariota’s Mechanics
- In his third year as a professional football player, expectations for the progression of Mariota had national NFL pundits projecting Tennessee as one of the best teams in the league coming into the 2017 campaign. The Titans sit at 7-4 atop their division but the development of their young quarterback has come into question, due to the number of interceptions he has thrown.
- “I’ve been looking at it a lot,” Mariota said when asked about the turnovers. “I think a majority of it is poor throws. The decisions and whatnot, I think, are OK. It’s just where I’m placing the ball and those are things that, mechanically, I have to get better at and that’s what I’ve been doing out here at practice.”
- What is it, specifically, that has been an issue with his mechanics? “Not pushing off my back foot,” Mariota replied when asked. “I tend to get inaccurate when I’m not using my legs and I think the last few throws, the last few interceptions have been (due to) the fact of not being able to push off my back foot and get everything behind my throw.”
- The Heisman Trophy winner has 12 picks against nine passing touchdowns in 10 games this season. His 2,273 yards through the air rank him 20th out of 40 qualified quarterbacks this season. He is completing 63.1% of his passes and has a rating of 79.1.
- Feel The Rhythm
- Tennessee was able to pull out a 20-16 comeback victory last Sunday in Indianapolis against the Colts. The Titans trailed until the end of the fourth quarter but were able to retake the lead on a nine-play, 77-yard drive that was capped by a running back DeMarco Murray rushing touchdown from a yard out.
- That particular drive was well-executed and looked more like the offense fans had come to expect from a team that had the third-best rushing attack in football a year ago; eight of the nine plays on the finishing drive came from the ground game. But, it took until those final two possessions against Indianapolis for Tennessee’s offense to show any kind of efficiency.
- “It just came down to getting a rhythm,” explained Mariota. “I thought we had a couple explosive plays, whether it was a run or a throw. Derrick (Henry) did a great job, I think, on a couple of them on a checkdown making it a 10, 12-yard gain. When you’re able to get first downs on first and second down, you just kind of get in a rhythm. If we can do that consistently, I think we can be better on offense.”
- Safety Da’Norris Searcy (ankle), receiver Rishard Matthews (hamstring), linebacker Brian Orakpo (shoulder) and offensive lineman Brian Schwenke (sick) did not practice Wednesday. Both Matthews and Searcy are considered day-to-day this week.