Titans coach Mike Mularkey held a press conference on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team’s 20-16 win over the Colts.
On Sunday, the Titans will face the Texans at Nissan Stadium.
Here’s a look at six hot topics:
Henry and Murray
Titans running back Derrick Henry rand for 79 yards on 13 carries against the Colts, and he was the workhorse late.
DeMarco Murray managed just nine yards on his 12 attempts, along with a touchdown.
Mularkey said Murray is in good health, and he credited the Colts – and some poor blocking — for stopping the run game early.
“I think he is 100 percent,” Mularkey said of Murray. “Some of those plays we needed on third down, where he made some big plays (he did well).
“Derrick has made some runs, and he does some runs that are designed for him. He has been productive. DeMarco, the way we started the game yesterday in the first half, I’m not so sure anybody in the room could have made a yard the way we blocked up front.
“You have to look at the whole picture, and see who has opportunities, who has the plays blocked well, who has made some runs that weren’t there or were there. We are very fortunate to have the two guys we have. They are both effective in a lot of ways.”
On the season, Henry has 520 yards on 114 carries (a 4.6-yard average) while Murray has 452 yards on 129 carries (3.5-yard average).
“All the way around, everybody involved in the run game,” Mularkey said, “has to get better. And (coaches) do, too. We need to see if we can produce better runs for our guys.”
Mularkey said Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was very good on Sunday with his decision-making, but said he made one poor throw receiver Harry Douglas that was intercepted.
On Mariota’s other interception on Sunday, Mularkey said Mariota was under pressure.
Mularkey said Mariota is healthy with the hamstring, and thinks injuries haven’t been a factor as he works his way through a tough stretch of turnovers.
Mariota has thrown six interceptions in the last two games.
Mularkey said Mariota is working his way through the recent struggles.
“Just watch how he continues to make throws after interceptions,” Mularkey said. “There’s a lot of guys that can’t overcome those, and I have yet to see him let that affect his play. He made some plays to help us win the game those last two drives.”
Back in First
Sunday’s win over the Colts, paired with Jacksonville’s loss at Arizona, has the Titans back in a first-place tie atop the AFC South.
The Titans and Jaguars are both 7-4. The Titans currently hold the tiebreaker, based on their win over the Jaguars in Week 2, but the teams play again on December 31.
“We have a lot of football to go,” Mularkey said. “We just have to win one … at a time. I’ll say this and I’ve said it to our team a number of times: You can’t be concerned about what anybody else in this league does. If we win, everything will take care of itself.
“You can’t worry about what anybody else is doing, and that’s a fact.”
Corey Davis as a Blocker
Titans rookie Corey Davis had four catches for 39 yards on Sunday, including a 19-yard reception.
On the season, Davis now has 20 catches for 215 yards.
Mularkey said Davis is still learning, and that includes his work as a blocker.
“He has to do a better job blocking, not just on screens, but in our run game,” Mularkey said of Davis. “(There were) some plays (on Sunday) if he would’ve blocked we would’ve had bigger plays. He has to do a better job.
“There are shots (where he has done it), but it has to be more consistent and it has to be about finishing. A lot of young guys will look behind to see if the ball carrier is coming. I just tell them, ‘He’s coming. I promise you. Just keep blocking, he is coming.”
Success in slowing down T.Y.
In 2016, Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton racked up 12 catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns in two games against the Titans.
This season, Hilton managed just 3 catches for 34 yards in the two games combined. Credit goes to the entire Titans defense, Mularkey said.
On Sunday, Hilton was targeted just five times, and he had two catches for 15 yards. Cornerbacks Logan Ryan and Adoree’ Jackson took turns defending Hilton.
“It starts with coach (Dick) LeBeau,” Mularkey said of the Titans defensive coordinator. “He’s pretty good about doing things like that, but it takes everybody. And the front has a lot to do with covering T.Y. Hilton, putting pressure on from all angles. It makes him have to hurry up the throw. And they live on the big play.
“That was a point of emphasis: We can’t let them behind us, can’t let them have big plays. If you are under pressure it is tough to hold the ball.”
The Titans sacked Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett eight times on Sunday.
Titans receiver Rishard Matthews, who missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, remains day-to-day.
Safety Da’Norris Searcy, who suffered an ankle injury in the contest, is also day-to-day.
“Other than that, just some bumps and bruises,” Mularkey said, “just like everybody else is across the league for this time of the year.”