Walker, who spent his first seven seasons with San Francisco, told reporters during a media session this week that he’s been particularly impressed with third-year pro
“He’s a leader. He’s a real leader,” Walker said. “He comes to the facility before practice starts. Usually when I get here, he’s the first person here and I’m used to being the first person when I get to practice, but he’s here, watching film, and then he’s letting us know, ‘We’re going to pass, we’re going to catch. I saw the route you ran yesterday, can you do it like that?’
“You need quarterbacks like that because if he comes in and connects, he comes in and tells you this is how he wants you to run a route, then I expect he’s looking for me to make plays for him,” Walker continued.
That would be fine with Walker, who first gained playing time with his ability to block on run plays but averaged 16.4 yards per catch (21 receptions for a career-best 344 yards) last season in helping the 49ers make it to Super Bowl XLVII. He said Tennessee was attractive when he considered his options as a free agent because of the opportunities it offered.
“That’s my goal here. I think I can have more of an impact in the passing game, which in previous years, I was more of a run blocker, but they’re giving me more opportunities to make plays and be the playmaker,” Walker said. “So I’ve been out there every day, just working on catching the ball, finishing, getting the yards because I want the quarterback to trust me and I want the coaches to trust me.”
Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said he expects Walker to have more catches than he did last year in San Francisco.
“We’re really excited about him, and as you got to see, we’re excited about him as a player and a person,” Loggains said. “The guy’s a leader. He started at the bottom and has been to the Super Bowl. He’s ready to be the break out tight end.”
Walker and Loggains said improving concentration to look the ball all the way into his hands before running with it has been a point of emphasis.
“It’s not the hands as much as it is the concentration,” Loggains said. “A lot of the times, he’s got great speed and he’s trying to run before he catches the ball and just looking it in all the way, and (tight ends coach) George Henshaw has done a great job with him on concentrating on that aspect.
POLLARD SEES ‘YOUNG TALENT’: Another addition to the Titans in free agency, safety
“I think for the most part, you look at the talent that’s here,” Pollard said. “Young talent, but the talent is amazing. You see the direction that Coach (Mike) Munchak wants to go. You see what he’s been trying to do the last few years. I truly believe they’re right there on the edge. Now, it takes, they’ve added some veteran guys, they’ve added some guys in the draft to help this team be better.”
Pollard said he wants to illustrate to younger players the importance of “beating the guy in front of you” and how to flip a switch on the field. He said he likes what he’s seen so far from the defensive scheme that coordinator Jerry Gray is installing and the passion for football that senior defensive assistant Gregg Williams has shown in meetings.
“We’re understanding what Coach Gray is wanting us to do, Coach Williams. We understand what our position coaches are asking of us,” Pollard said. “We’ve just got to go out there and put it down on the green, so I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to take some time to continue to let this thing work and let everything soak in, but I think it’s going to be all good.”
TITANS SIGN JALEN PARMELE, WAIVE JAMIE HARPER: The Titans have signed former Jaguars and Ravens RB
Parmele, a sixth-round pick by Miami in 2008, spent part of his rookie year with the Dolphins on the roster but was cut and signed to the practice squad until Baltimore signed him in December 2008.The 5-foot-11, 225-pound back played in 24 games in three seasons with the Ravens. Parmele returned 24 kickoffs for 562 yards in 2010. After his release from Baltimore in September 2011, Parmele was out of football for a year but returned in Jacksonville last season where he rushed 40 times for 143 yards and caught seven passes for 60 yards. Parmele played in 11 games and was coached last season by Titans running backs coach Sylvester Croom.
Parmele has 28 special teams tackles in his career and was also a college teammate of Titans punter
Harper, a fourth-round selection in 2011, had 36 carries for 74 yards and four touchdowns in 23 games with the Titans. He added five receptions for 40 yards and played on special teams and primarily in short yardage situations.