Monday, June 16, 2014
Walker lifting the keg, stepping on toes
By Paul Kuharsky
The quick conclusion about tight ends and the Tennessee Titans: With former NFL tight end Ken Whisenhunt as the coach, former tight ends coach Jason Michael as the offensive coordinator and former NFL tight end Mike Mularkey as the tight ends coach, we’ll see all sort of clever use of Delanie Walker, Craig Stevens and even Taylor Thompson.
Tight end Delanie Walker warms up during the Titans' organized team activities on June 12.
Said Walker: "We’re going to be very physical, we’re going to play until the whistle blows, we’re going to be very tough in the run game and when the passing game comes to us, we’re going to make plays. ...I see the tight end position being of big impact in this offense."
But in terms of creative use, the Titans' top tight end doesn’t necessarily expect to line up all over the place.
“We’re going to move around, but I think you’re going to see more of Dexter McCluster in that spot,” Walker said. “He’s the Swiss Army knife now for this team. He can play multiple positions, and I think you’re going to see Dexter moving around making great plays for us.
“I see myself as that guy as well, but you’re going to see me on the end of the line more too as well.”
Walker guesses he lined up on the line about 70 percent of the time last year and thinks that number will go up to 80 or 75 percent this year. According to the stats, Walker was actually on the line just over 60 percent of the time last year.
Where Walker lined up last season, from Marty Callinan of ESPN Stats & Information:
“Our strong point is going to be running the ball, we're going to run the ball this year," Walker said. “And that’s going to help our passing game. I feel like you’re going to see me in the running game blocking more, doing my part to help pen up that passing game.”
Game-to-game matchups mean we’ll see Walker moving around more in some game than others.
He's one of the team's top weapons in the passing game. Mularkey is teaching him to finish blocks in ways he’s never learned before, Walker said.
"The hand technique -- we call it lifting the keg," Walker said when I asked for an example of what he’s learning about blocking. "If you ever had a keg before, you know you've got to get your hands inside and lift it. He’s been teaching us. He’s been teaching us that and stepping on toes.
"Basically you just lift up and you thrust your hip and you want to step on his toes, you want to get as close as you can to him while you’re lifting him up. You never thought of it that way and now it’s set in your mind. I can just do it naturally, that’s something we do every day. I feel like my blocking has been getting better."
I'm all for an increase in his run-blocking role, so long as he's still up near the top of the reception list as well.