Sports, Thrill of Victory

Delanie Walker caps off record-setting season in Titans loss

The Tennessee Titans are on the clock.

Sunday’s loss in Indianapolis guaranteed them the top pick in the 2016 NFL draft. It was inevitable. We knew it was coming.

But let’s shelve the draft talk for now. We’ve got months to discuss the 68,347 scenarios that could play out on draft day.

Instead, let’s give credit where’s it due.

Delanie Walker broke franchise records in the Titans Week 17 loss to the Colts. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

Delanie Walker broke franchise records in the Titans Week 17 loss to the Colts. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

The Titans have been almost unbearable to watch at times this season. That’s typically the case when you go 3-13.

The biggest bright spot? Tight end Delanie Walker. And there’s no doubt about it.

Sure, it’s been fun watching Marcus Mariota progress in his first season. There’s no longer any concern about him being the franchise quarterback going forward.

But Walker has been on a whole other level. He has done things that we have never seen before.

Walker had another magical day against the Colts, which allowed him to go over the 1,000 yard receiving mark this season. It ‘s the most yards ever by a tight end in franchise history.

He also became only the ninth tight end in NFL history to reach that plateau. Think about how many players have come through that position. Simply incredible.

However, it’s more than just stats with this guy. It’s everything else that surrounds the type of player that he is.

Week in and week out, Walker brings it. When he steps onto the field, you know what you’re getting.

That’s what the Titans need from everyone. They need that type of unrelenting desire to win. They need that type of toughness. They need a team full of Delanie Walker’s.

One can dream.

This year was a complete disappointment for the Titans. Perhaps just as frustrating is the fact that we didn’t get a chance to see the Mariota/Walker connection flourish as well as it could have.

The good news is that this duo will be the cornerstone of this team going forward.

The bad news is that there’s no guarantee that this organization will ever get the pieces right around them.

The Mariota to Walker connection won't ever reach its potential unless the Titans can build around them. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

The Mariota to Walker connection won’t ever reach its potential unless the Titans can build around them. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

And to waste a duo this talented would be a real shame. The sky is the limit for Mariota, and Walker just had the best season by a tight end that the franchise has ever seen.

Now their future is in the hands of a group of people that have proved unable to make the right decisions when it matters most.

From top to bottom, the Titans are in need of a complete overhaul.

The solution is simple: go out and find people like Walker.

People that are first-class representatives of the franchise on and off the field. People that come to work every day and give every bit of energy that they have towards trying to make this team a winner.

Those are the kind of players and people that the fans want leading the way.

Walker is the definition of a true pro. It didn’t matter that he was playing for one of the worst teams in NFL history. All he did was go out and take care of his business.

The Pro Bowl snub means nothing. Anyone watching can tell you that Walker is one of the best players in the NFL.

So we can choose to remember the dreadful 2015 campaign as the darkest season since the team moved to Nashville, or we can remember it as the year that Walker made history.

I’ll choose the latter. It’s a lot less painful that way.