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Mike Mularkey on Marcus Mariota’s recovery, HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” and much more...

Mike Mularkey discussed a wide range of topics in a recent appearance on 104.5 The Zone’s Midday 180 in Nashville.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularkey spent a bit of time with the Midday 180 crew on Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone radio station on Wednesday (click here to listen). The recording is 36 minutes.

Co-hosts Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow, and Paul Kuharsky interviewed Mike Mularkey, who spoke candidly on a number of subjects relating to the Titans and his own history as a player and coach.

The various topics covered were as follows:

"We texted back and forth last night. He's on schedule.

"I saw some video of him in a pool, one of the treadmills that are now designed to keep the weight off but you can still walk. That was good to see, him walking on that treadmill. He's right on schedule."

While Mularkey said that he doesn’t have any specific dates, he noted that Mariota would likely miss OTAs “unless there’s just such a quick recovery by him.” Mularkey said that ideally, Mariota would be ready for training camp. PK asked if there was “a scenario where [Mariota] doesn’t do anything through the summer,” to which Mularkey said, “Probably not.”

  • The next topic was also mentioned in today’s links: the fact that the Titans are one of eight teams eligible to be featured on the upcoming season of HBO’s Hard Knocks. Mularkey “absolutely” would rather not be featured on Hard Knocks, citing it as an “unnecessary distraction,” and stating definitively, “We’re not gonna volunteer.”

Mularkey then said, “I don’t know if you can be your real self when you know you’re being watched constantly,” which is a deep philosophical point worthy of discussion.

  • Mularkey was also asked about Karl Klug’s recovery status, reminding us that he had a pretty serious injury himself and likely wouldn’t be ready until after OTAs. What’s really interesting about this situation is the way Mularkey was talking about Klug... it was like he wasn’t about to be an unrestricted free agent, and he said Klug comes into the facility everyday like it’s still the regular season. I think we should expect him to re-sign with the Titans.
  • Mularkey shared an interesting bit about strategy and deception.

“We do have a mode during TV timeouts that we put 11 players in the huddle, without Marcus. And so, when you put 11 guys in the huddle, you’ve got three different personnel groupings. If you’re on defense, if you know what the personnel is on the field, and you know what the down and distance is... that’s what the two key ingredients are for a defensive call.

“So when you put all these guys in that huddle, and they’re asking what is the personnel, well the personnel guy’s saying, “Well we got 21, 12, 11 all in there.” And then, we do some things even while the TV timeouts going on, you’ll see players coming in and out, so we constantly keep changing the personnel groupings to where they don’t have a bead on us which one’s going in. It’s all legal, it’s just another way to keep them working even when there’s a TV timeout, there’s nothing going on... it’s constantly trying to keep pressure on them.”

PK: “You guys see that from other teams much?”

Mularkey: “Nobody.”

  • After mentioning that the Titans coaching staff is currently reviewing film of the team from this past season as part of a self-evaluation, Mularkey disclosed one surprising item they discovered as an area to improve: a need to get the running backs out quicker as receiving options.

“We may have overemphasized [protections] too much that the backs are waiting for something to happen, and try to get an extra chip on them, but we got to get them out quicker. That’s what you see these other teams, especially New England, where they’re getting the ball out, letting these guys make the yards [after] the catch rather than [through] the air.

Other topics discussed included the current Titans coaching staff, Mularkey’s background (such as his transition from high school QB to college TE at Florida; his time in the NFL as a player; his tenure as offensive coordinator for Nick Saban in Miami), and lots of talk about the great Chuck Noll.

I really like Mularkey as a person. I love that he is open and honest during these types of interviews, and it’s great to get even a little bit of insight into how things work behind closed doors of the Titans organization.