The Tennessee Titans were dealt a huge blow in the 2018 season opener against the Miami Dolphins when star tight end Delanie Walker suffered a dislocated ankle/fracture that forced him to miss the rest of the season.
Titans place TE Delanie Walker (ankle) on IR
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 10, 2018
Losing Walker left a huge hole in the Titans’ offense. The former Central Missouri standout led Tennessee in receptions and receiving yards in 2017. In 2016, Walker tied for the team lead in receptions and was second on the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
The blame for quarterback Marcus Mariota’s struggles in 2018 can be placed in several areas (lack of experience at wide receiver, injuries, new offense), but there’s no doubt that losing Walker severely affected Mariota’s offensive productivity.
Fortunately for Mariota, and the Titans, Walker should be back and ready to go next season.
Walker recently told Titans Online that his goal is to be ready for OTA’s, though he acknowledged the team might not let him be a full go at that point. He also mentioned his recovery is going well, saying “I feel like I am pretty ahead of where I should be, and I am just going to keep working”. Walker said he expects to be fully recovered in three months.
Of course, the Titans still need to search for a longterm answer at tight end. Walker will turn 35 before the start of the 2019 season. Even though he’s under contract for two more seasons, it’s not wise to count on a player coming off a season ending injury in his mid 30’s.
I think Walker can still be a productive player for the Titans. But they don’t want to get stuck in a situation again like they did in 2018 when their leading tight end finished the season with only 258 yards.
Featured image via Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports