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More Weapons Should Mean More Room for Delanie Walker

Posted Sep 6, 2017

Titans tight end Delanie Walker is 10 pounds lighter, and faster because of it. This fall, he’s ready to make more plays with an improved supporting cast around him.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the case of his playing weight, less should mean more for Titans tight end Delanie Walker.

When it comes to weapons on offense, Walker believes more will mean more – as in more big plays for No. 82.

“Everyone thinks my numbers are going to go down because we now have Corey Davis, Eric Decker and Taywan (Taylor), and Rishard Matthews is still ballin’,” Walker said with a smile. “I look at it like, ‘That’s going to help me out.’ I mean, that will give me the 1 on 1 coverages I have been looking for.

“I’ve been waiting on that for a long time. I’ve been waiting for some outside receivers to take charge to give me the opportunity to have the 1 on 1 coverages where I can do even more with the ball.”

A lighter, quicker Delanie Walker, coming off his second straight Pro Bowl season, is ready for his 12th NFL season. He’s down 10 pounds – now 245 after playing a year ago at 255 – and it’s shown in practices and in games. Walker made an acrobatic catch across the middle against the Bears, a week after catching a touchdown pass against the Panthers. Walker, who turned 33 last month, said he feels great.

Defenders who’ve worked against him in practices say he looks different.

“He is flying,” Titans cornerback Brice McCain said of Walker. “I wanted to ask him what he is doing with his body because he looks so good this year. He looked good last year, but this year he came back more explosive than I’ve seen him, and looking young as ever.”

“He is moving really good,’’ added safety Kevin Byard. “You couldn’t tell he’s on his 12th year. He looks like a rookie out there running around and working.”

Walker’s secret: He cut pork out of his “no red meat” diet, and he worked out even more this offseason.

Walker has been a force for the Titans since joining the team in 2013. From 2013-16, Walker has totaled 282 receptions for 3,349 yards and 23 touchdowns. All three numbers put him second in club history behind only Frank Wycheck. Walker caught 65 passes for 800 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016, a year after hauling in a whopping 94 passes for 1,088 yards and six touchdowns.

Since 2014, Walker ranks third among NFL tight ends with 222 catches and fourth with 2,778 receiving yards.

The addition of Davis and Taylor in the draft, and Decker in free agency, should allow Walker to make even more plays. And with more weapons on the team’s offense, the defense won’t be able to focus on just stopping Walker.

“I respect that they respect me, but I am tired of running routes where there’s three people on me,” Walker said. “Now I’ll be able to make more moves. When I caught the ball last year, there were was 3 or 4 people already hitting me. So if I can make one dude miss and it’s the open field, I think I can take it the distance.

“With the add-ons, I think we can be great on offense. Last year we added DeMarco Murray and he dominated, and this year adding Corey and Eric and Taywan, they are going to make an impact with Rishard. And it is good that you can name all of these players. I think it is going to be dynamic offense. We are going to be able to run the ball, pass the ball, and it should help us put it in the end zone easier. I’m excited about it.”