Mularkey not happy with Titans’ mistakes in preseason loss
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Coach Mike Mularkey hopes his Tennessee Titans got just the wake-up call needed from an ugly loss to open the preseason, especially from some mistakes that were quite the eye-opener.
Mularkey even watched tape of Saturday night’s 7-3 loss to the New York Jets a couple times to be sure, and he said Sunday he saw fewer mistakes than he originally thought. Some flubs were critical with Mularkey calling others ”catastrophic.”
”I think they know pretty well what we can and cannot do,” Mularkey said. ”So again, I’ll go through a lot of this (Monday) with them and say it like it is, and they’ll respond just like they have since I’ve been here.”
The best part of the preseason opener was quarterback Marcus Mariota showing how healthy he is by running once with no signs of the broken right leg that ended his season last year on Dec. 24 . He was 2 of 3 for 15 yards passing. When sacked once, Mariota got right back up.
Unfortunately, the Titans allowed seven more sacks in losing their preseason opener with eight different Jets taking down a Tennessee quarterback. Alex Tanney, trying to push veteran Matt Cassel for the right to back up Mariota, took the brunt of the beating from a defense that also had 11 quarterback hurries.
Mularkey noted the first-team offensive line , which features Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan and All Pro right tackle Jack Conklin, allowed only one sack.
Protecting the quarterback was a big focus in 2016 with the Titans allowing only 28 sacks all of last season with their worst game giving up five in Indianapolis on Nov. 20.
The combination of a preseason opener, inexperience and some mistakes from running backs didn’t help.
Mularkey noted eight rookies not only made their NFL debut but who were in an NFL stadium for the first time in their lives. With the running backs, Mularkey said fullback Jalston Fowler was to blame for one sack, not Derrick Henry.
”The thing was where we had breakdowns that created the sacks, we’ve practiced those things, and we’ve practiced them we’ve done well,” Mularkey said. ”We’ve got to take them from there and execute them in the game. And we’ve done that. We just didn’t do it last night.”
Mularkey also wasn’t happy with two turnovers – both by Tanney in the fourth quarter. The 29-year-old quarterback from Monmouth has been with Dallas, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Buffalo and Indianapolis. But he has exhausted his eligibility for the practice squad after spending most of last year there with Tennessee.
Tanney was intercepted at the goal line on a pass intended for Darius Jennings, a pass Mularkey called dangerous. Tanney fumbled when sacked on the next series after being reminded the Titans were in field goal range.
”It was a good experience no doubt,” Mularkey said. ”That’s the one thing he just lacks.”
Still, the coach made it very clear that he has only one goal whether the Titans are practicing, scrimmaging or playing a game.
”It’s about going out to win,” Mularkey said.
Notes: The Titans, who host the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday and Thursday, are talking about whether they need to add a long snapper after Beau Brinkley hurt a groin muscle in the loss to the Jets. Mularkey said Brinkley will miss the joint practices and aren’t sure of his status for the team’s preseason game Saturday. … Mularkey said rookie WR Corey Davis is progressing from a strained hamstring that has kept him out since Aug. 3 and the Titans plan to be smart with the injury. … LB Daren Bates dislocated a couple of fingers but returned to the game. … LB Kourtnei Brown could miss up to two weeks with a hamstring injury.
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