TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt offers six hot topics from head coach Mike Mularkey’s Monday afternoon press conference.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Mularkey met with reporters on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team’s 23-20 win over the Ravens.Here’s a look at six hot topics as he discussed the game, and looked ahead to Sunday’s game against the Bengals:
Kevin ByardTitans safety Kevin Byard had two interceptions against the Ravens, and he now has five interceptions in two games.
“It’s pretty remarkable,” Mularkey said.
Byard became the first player in franchise history to record five interceptions in a two-game span, and the last NFL player to accomplish the feat was Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall in 2010.
Byard is on pace to finish with 12 interceptions on the season, which is the franchise’s all-time record.
“He’s doing his job, and he’s where he’s supposed to be, and that’s the No.1 thing,” Mularkey said of Byard. “And he’s really instinctive. … His anticipation (of throws) has been very good. And he is around the ball. There’s a lot of guys that are there and don’t make those plays, and he is making those plays.”
“Chorus Line” celebrationAfter his second interception, Byard led a group of defenders on a swaying celebration that even impressed Mularkey.
Mularkey saw the dance on Monday morning, and smiled. He’s told the players he doesn’t want any penalties for “anything excessive,” but he’s all for fun.
“I thought it was pretty impressive, to be honest with you,” Mularkey said of the dance. “It was very well done. It was obvious they had practiced a lot.”
Murray’s kneeRunning back DeMarco Murray will be limited in practices this week with a knee injury, Mularkey said.
Murray, who has dealt with hamstring and shoulder injuries this season, will be evaluated during the course of the week.
Murray got rolled up from behind on a screen play, Mularkey said.
Mularkey said Murray is no longer limited with the injuries to his shoulder and hamstring. Mularkey complimented Murray and his willingness to play through injuries, but noted a lot of players are playing despite being banged up.
“We have a lot of tough guys on this team,” Mularkey said when asked about players playing through injuries. “There’s some guys that are playing with some dinged-up body parts, and they’re practicing and playing through out. That’s the identity of this team, and really the makeup of this team. We have tough players.”
Mariota to run more?Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota showed few limitations on Sunday, although he was credited with just three rushing attempts for six yards, including a seven yard run.
With his hamstring now closer to 100 percent, Mularkey said Mariota could run the ball more moving forward.
On the seven-yard run, Mariota escaped the pocket and even hurdled a would-be tackler as he headed to the sideline.
“We feel good about Marcus right now,” Mularkey said.
Wesley WoodyardTitans linebacker Wesley Woodyard had a team-high 14 tackles on Sunday against the Ravens, including a big stop on fourth-and-one at the Tennessee 17 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
“Lots of tackles, and one really big one on fourth-and-one,” Mularkey said. “That was obviously a big play, but the way he hit the hole, it was well-executed. He’s a physical player, but he had a lot of tackles. And he’s playing a lot of snaps for us.”
Mularkey pointed out Woodyard plays on special teams, and sits in on every special teams meeting.
“He does a lot for this football team,” Mularkey said. “He takes care of his body … and he’ll play as long as he wants to play.”
Tight end Delanie Walker (ankle) will be limited this week. Walker didn’t suffer a new injury on Sunday, but he’s still dealing with the ankle injury he suffered on October 22 in Cleveland.
Receiver Corey Davis had no issues with his hamstring injury, and played more than coaches expected. Davis played 39 of the team’s 52 snaps on Sunday.