Former 49er Delanie Walker impressed by ex-team’s recent success


SANTA CLARA — This Sunday, the 49ers will face one of their former star players, Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker.

Walker played in the Super Bowl with the 49ers almost five years ago, and caught three passes for 48 yards in the 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. A few months later, he signed with the Titans. To this day, he still watches the 49ers closely.

“They’re actually playing very well,” Walker said Wednesday morning on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Probably because of this Jimmy (Garoppolo).

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      1. You are looking at it from now but not at the time it happened. In 2012, when both were on the 49ers, VD had 40 catches for over 500 yards and 5tds, Delaine had 20 catches for 350 yards and 3tds. 2013, Vernon on the Niners had 52 catches, 850 yards and 13tds while Delaine, on the Titans, had 60 catches 570 yards and 6tds. If you looked at this move following 2013 you’d have said the Baalke made a brilliant move. Vernon had been a dominant top 5 TE basically since being drafted but really took off once Alex came back from his injured year, 2009 Vernon tied the TE TD record with 13 (it has since been passed by Gronk and Graham). In his 7 seasons with SF, Delaine had 8 tds total. Vernon had 40 (no one remembers they were drafted in the same year).

        You didn’t expect Vernon to fall off like he did, but so did the Niners in 2014, and chances are the guy was playing injured as he just disappeared that season after the first few games. It also helps having a qb who is capable getting you the ball.

        These things happen, but getting rid of a guy who had been nothing more than an average backup to keep your probowl player is not a bad move.

        1. Aaahh…………more of Bulkys incredibly horrible judgement. In fact, do precisely the opposite of what Bulky would do and you’ll field a play-off team-consistently.

      2. When you come up with the magic pony of how we could fit Walker under the cap to give him that big starter contract, you might have a valid criticism. The fact is, the cap did it. He wasn’t going to supplant VD and there is no way the 49ers, who had just $3 million in cap room and were trying to clear-up enough cap to sign Saint Kaepernick.

        In the end, the cap was the issue in this case and you could only chose one of the two TEs on the roster. And VD was clearly the best choice for a mature, championship caliber team.

        1. And VD was clearly the best choice for a mature, championship caliber team.

          I’d wager Walsh would have had the prudence to move VD, and retain Walker.

          1. Razor,

            Walsh was not handicapped by salary cap. As a result, he always could afford to have an able replacement who he had drafted earlier and who was on his second contract to replace the aging starter. Sure, Walsh would have offered Walker more than he was offered by the Titan. Even then Walker would probably had gone because he was the same age as VD and he wanted to start .

            The best coach currently in business, Bellichick, would probably lose half his team if he leaves out players on the downward slope of their career, including probably Brady since he will surely retire at 45 or before. Instead he has those players, like Patrick Chung, playing for less money. The model for sustained NFL success has changed, and it now revolves around a franchise QB and plug-and-play schemes for skill positions.

            1. Fantastic post Mood! Spot on! Walker was an unfortunate victim of the salary cap. You can’t build a championship roster paying 2 TE’s premium contracts. Baalke was a major fu_k up, but this wasn’t one of his gaffes.

              Onto the future: Kyle and John are working to duplicate the Patriots’ success. Kyle is an offensive genius. If Garoppolo is indeed as good as I think he is, with all of these young players developing nicely, and plenty of money to spend, and draft picks in hand, the 49ers are in a very fortunate situation right now, and have an opportunity to build a lasting contender. They still need to keep hitting on their draft picks though, and I think they will. ARROWS UP! GO NINERS!

          2. Would he also have had the prudence to not sign CK to 120 million dollar contract (or any QB for that matter)?

            You can not argue that Vernon has had the better career and who knows how well he would have performed in 2014 with a better QB (and no injury).

            Both VD and DW are the same age, same draft class, you do not expect the more productive of the two to suddenly hit a wall and the other, in year 8, to become a much better player. Its really funny how he had his 1k receiving yard season when MM was drafted, so odd what a quality QB can do to a WRs numbers.

            And, Vernon and Delaine are putting up very similar numbers this year, Vernon has the better YPC @ 15.4 vs DW 11.4, but Delaine has more receptions/yards with 63/718 vs VD 37/568 (Delaine has been targeted 37 more times). And both have 2 TDs. At this point, either would be a good guy to have on this team.

  1. Fact: Joe Staley has not allowed a single QB pressure in pass play since JimmieG took over.
    Meanwhile the other tackle seems to be in danger of catching the Anthony Davis virus.

    1. +100..concerned about Brown..He seemed like a steal where we drafted him but disturbing reports suggest his heart might not be in it..Like A.D………Scary thought…we might need 5 offensive lineman with Staley getting long in the tooth

    1. 80 ..

      There was only one “Punisher” for the Niners .. and
      that was Ronnie Lott ! .. (ask Eric Dickerson) …
      Maybe after some more experience .. Colbert may
      approach a time where he can (possibly) step into his shoes..

      but… otoh …
      I do love Colberts instincts

      1. MWN,
        I agree that Ronnie Lott was the ultimate punisher and that Adrian Colbert only has a small sample size. But there are things you see in a player (even with a small sample size) that give evidence of future success and great play.

        Colbert may become that player. At the moment he is already our secondary’s play-maker and with more experience could possibly be the most pleasant surprise of the 2017 draft. Witherspoon looks like a mainstay at CB, and once we can inject another capable player at the CB position our defense will begin to make some serious noise around the league.

        For now, AC may not have earned the punisher moniker just yet, but I like his mindset of playing to that end.

      1. He was better in Daredevil than he was in the Punisher.
        So far Daredevil has been the best of those series’ s on Netflix imho.

  2. Kinda surprised Vegas has the 49ers as the favorite in this one. The Titans are a better team across the board. This will be the biggest test by far for Jimmy G. The Titans defense is not great but they are the best defense Garoppolo will have faced so far. Add in the fact, that the Titans are playing for their playoff lives and I expect the 49ers will lose this one by prolly about 10 points. I’d say 27-17 sounds about right.

    1. Houston,
      Seems like even Vegas has fallen victim to the Jimmy G gravitational pull.
      But I agree that this game will put Jimmy on a larger stage. If he can bring another win it’s time to put a serious contract on the table.

    2. AES …

      EXACTLY !!!

      Houston ..
      yeah I’m puzzled by the Vegas odds, too
      and my only concern .. is
      the O-line … !!

      And Jimmy the G actually ..surviving
      this game

    3. Titans offense is struggling and Mariota hobbled… Shutdown the run and force him to beat us with his arm – I don’t see it. Jimmy G should have a good game if Hyde/Breida can run the ball but their pass rush is the real deal…. Anthony Davis, er, Trent Brown most likely being out doesn’t help either…… Niners going to win this though and keep the hype train rollin’.

    4. Remember it all has to do with where the money is…

      Obviously, people are betting on the Niners to win.

      Not sure we can pull this one out, but if we can then good times are ahead for sure.

    5. Out here in St. Louis, we don’t get the JG hype train. We do get a lot discussion every week about the Titans as the ESPN radio talking heads go through their picks.

      It’s pretty uniform belief within the field that the Titans have shown themselves to be a paper tiger. They are probably the worst ‘winning team’ that’s got a playoff seed. They’ve lost to bad teams. Struggled against bad teams to barely win.

      And last week… They couldn’t move the ball against the Blaine Gabbert lead Cardinals last week and our defense is better than the Cardinals. A lot of it is that Mariota has really fallen apart this year; only 10 TDs to 16 INTs. But their defense is only so-so. They couldn’t even get a turn-over out of Gabbert and he’s good for at least one a game!

    6. Houston, that’s not true.. Chicago and Houston both have better defenses than the Titans.. You guys keep looking at overall talent. Which they are better that the other 2 because they are healthy across the board. But as strictly for D, they aren’t better than the other 2. I think everyone on here keeps waiting for them to lose just to say, I told you so…

      1. Not sure where you are getting that Houston and Chicago have better defenses than the Titans. Houston has given up more than 20 points for 7 games in a row. The Titans got blown out by the Steelers but other than that they’ve given up less than 16 points several games in a row. The Titans are 5th in the league in sacks which for the 49ers o-line could spell trouble. By contrast, Houston is 20th in the league in sacks and Chicago is 9th in the league in sacks. In Yards per game, the Titans are 9th in the league and the Bears & Texans are 11th & 20th respectively. At least to me, it’s not really questionable – the Titans have a better defense than either the Bears or Texans. You may be giving the Bears & Texans bonus points based on reputation from recent seasons. This season, the Bears and Texans are average at best on defense. Not to say the Titans are an outstanding defense, but they are certainly better than the Texans or Bears this year.

    7. Tennessee hasn’t scored more than 20 points in a road game since week 2, and gives up an average of 16.7 points per game on the road.

      On defense they’ve allowed 16 points or fewer in 5 of 7 road games this year, the exceptions being Houston and Pittsburgh.

      My guess, 49ers 16 Titans 17

  3. It’s odd but the players with less fanfare in the draft this year have been the ones who have had larger impact than those with tremendous fanfare. The Colbert’s, the Taylor’s, the Jones’, the Breida’s not Solomon, or Kittle, or Williams.

    1. Agree with the exception of Foster. I’m hoping that the reason is that these guys know how to find and develop diamonds in the rough.

      Actually, I forgot about Witherspoon. After a very rough start, he might turn out to be a very good CB. So really it’s only Thomas who hasn’t met the expectations of the third pick in the draft (which expectations were probably too high).

      1. Agree that Foster is a monster. Witherspoon is playing well too but I included neither in my list. I just remember a lot of preseason talk on Kittle and Williams and obviously Solomon. The ones who have done best though, had a whole lot less fanfare.

        The two biggest disappointments (and take it with a grain of salt because they are rookies) have to be Solomon (expectations) and Kittle (drops).

        1. Depends how you cut it. Until he got hurt, Thomas was top-10 in the NFL in run-stops and TFLs. But nobody was interested in knowing he was doing exceptionally well in the run game had helped turn us from a 4.8 YPC defense to a 3.9 YPC defense because he wasn’t getting three-sacks a game.

          This, of course, got him nominated for rookie of the week three times.

          In reality, the problem isn’t Thomas. It’s the fans. Unrealistic expectations and lack of appreciation of the full duties of the DE. It’s not just sacks. I know people only think about sacks. But there’s more to it than sacks.

          Also, frankly, most rookie DL struggle in that area because they lack the pass-rush skills necessary. Takes most of them two-to-three years to become good pass-rushers because in the NFL, all the o-linemen are good when compared to college.

          And, sure, you have your exceptions. Bosa is one. Aldon Smith (though he was an OLB and had Justin Smith to run interference for him which made it easy street). But most of the time it takes a couple of years.

          1. Not surprised you also said he could cut it as a pass rusher too, something he seems wholly not ready to do, which I and many others pointed out prior to drafting him.

          2. Moses,
            +1. Actually, +2 because of the Smith comment.
            However, these feelings of joy and disappointment are not governed reason or facts.
            Having watched Thomas for two years in college, I knew he was going to “disappoint” fans looking for splash plays and stat boxes. However, Niners were looking for a 10-year starter at #3 who can defend the run consistently. Thomas was 20 when he was drafted and he is still growing stronger and bulking up. He won’t be reaching his potential in the trenches for a couple of more season. He’s a building block for the long run. OTOH, rookies playing fast in space get fans very excited (Foster, Colbert) with highlight plays. I love Foster but I am not even sure he will be playing in 3-4 years because of the style he plays.

      2. As the great Jim Harbaugh once said, “the only time it matters where you were drafted is on draft day.”

        Thomas has been a decent player, but gets knocked because of his draft slot. Unfortunately you’d like the #3 pick to be an impact guy from day one.

        1. What many wanted, and I did too, was an edge rusher and not and interior lineman (which we already had two of or a tweener). Barring that, perhaps a corner. We passed. Water under the bridge now but it doesn’t change the fact that Thomas wasn’t the best fit for what the defense needed.

          Even so, your comment is undoubtedly true JH!

    2. Thomas was the #3 pick in the draft. You don’t use a pick like that on a run stuffer. You expect to get an explosive defensive player that is a difference maker. While he has been ok overall, Thomas has not delivered the performance you need from a pick that high. One of the knocks against him was his lack of ability rushing the passer from the outside and that has been the case so far unfortunately.

      It’s also funny reading Walker talk about how Harbaugh was overruled by Baalke considering some in here are adamant that he had a say over the roster when both Harbaugh and Baalke said he didn’t. Baalke got rid of Walker and was also the one who got rid of Alex Smith when Harbaugh wanted to keep both. The curse of Baalke continues.

      1. The reality is Thomas was the safe pick. He had a very high floor and was at least going to be a decent player.
        The problem is the niners needed an edge rusher and there was only one sure fire edge rusher in the draft. He went number 1.
        As to the he will develop into an edge rusher narrative I don’t buy it. Most edge rushers at least splash early on… Thomas doesn’t have the quicks for it… He will be a very good interior pass rusher in the nickle D and I believe that’s what he was always drafted to be..

  4. I am madly concerned about T. Brown situation……..Any news?

    On another note: It was Brown who introduced the boombox to the 49ers locker room back in training camp when he received a customized one.

    1. As I noted a few days ago, if Brown doesn’t play this Sunday, I’m guessing Niners move down a bit to draft the Texas tackle. The fact that Kyle has noted multiple times that he’s “disappointed” that Brown has not been able to play in these games is a dead giveaway to me that something is up.

    2. I’ve been searching for news as well and haven’t really found any. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt because he worked hard at least in TC and up until now. Mentally, I can’t see what would cause him to suddenly become like AD. Things are looking way up with the acquisition of Jimmy G.

      It might just simply be that he has a bad shoulder and it might be better to IR him now rather than injure it further and have it become more of a nagging injury for the rest of his career and life.

    1. I like the JG2JG idea but I am not sure that the front office, esp. Lynch cares for a aging TE who does not like to mix it up. Graham may be a better fit for NE backing up Gronk.

      1. Jimmy G has shown that he can readily move the ball between the 20s with marginal talent at the skill positions. Where it gets tough is the EZ. I think they need to make specific, targeted moves for players with great skills in the EZ.

        1. — and since we have a mediocre run game and our best possession rcvr on IR– Garcon, red zone success will elude us till next year…
          — in the tight space/time windows in RZ, we just don’t have the abilities (rcvr precision, separation, coordination, etc.) to have a functional short pass game, and our run game…well…you know…
          — it’s been amazing– what KS & JG have been able to generate thru the air between the 20’s…T.O.P., 1st downs, an occasional scoring play from mid routes turned into TD’s (Celek and Goodwin) and usually getting into Gould range after burning time off clock…
          — would you’all not agree this has been our M.O. for the prior 2 games?

    2. I’m all for Jimmy G to Jimmy G. I believe he has 9 TDs in the red zone this year. Big and tall, with great vertical and hands. He should be a red zone monster throughout the duration of a 2 or 3 year contract. He could mentor Kittle. Graham mentored Njoku, so he’s a willing teacher. As I’ve mentioned before, it would also weaken Seattle.

      1. I’m not a big fan of spending money on free agent WR’s and TE’s. Those are positions you draft and develop. If I’m the 49ers I am breaking the bank on offensive tackles and guards.
        Maybe its just my fantasy outlook talking but the TE position is not utilized as much as it was 5 years ago. Like FB’s, are they just a role type position now?

        I bet Seattle would love to have that deal back for Jimmy Graham and Max Unger.

  5. Jimmy is a good quarterback, and you can see it. He managed the game well.

    Game manager? I remember that was the ultimate insult aimed at former Niners QB from former posters around here.

  6. Brief off topic detour:
    How incompetent was the Rams’ Offensive coaching last year when neither Keenum nor Goff could move the chains much, given how both those guys are now performing under different leadership? And we knew Gurley was good but it didn’t always show then. Coach Phillips has helped as well.

    1. Yeah, it really makes you appreciate how bad Fisher was.

      Side note: Don’t forget Sam Bradford was also held back by that coaching. He’s also been much improved since he got away. That’s three QBs that now look like starting calibre players since leaving Fisher.

      Side question: Would the Rams be better, worse or the same with Keenum still at QB? Goff has been much improved and looks a competent QB now, but Keenum has been very impressive with the Vikings who have less on offense imo.

      1. the McVay factor– a modern coach with a modern WCO variant, an O coach that Goff can (speculating…speculating…) communicate with…
        would be interesting to see what Keenum would’ve done with McVay and the new system…but I’m sure he’s happy as a certain animal in a certain type of filth to be where he’s at now….

        1. Yeah, I’ve only seen a smattering of the Rams this season so can’t comment too much on the McVay-Goff relationship. But I have read reports that McVay has intentionally been trying to get the offense in hurry up mode to get Goff to the LOS before the 15s cut off for communication to the headset, so he can relay some info to Goff about what the D is doing, audibles, etc. Basically, similar to what happens in college, but through the headset. Smart coaching for easing a young QB coming from a spread system into the NFL.

          1. “McVay has intentionally been trying to get the offense in hurry up mode to get Goff to the LOS before the 15s cut off for communication to the headset,”

            Yup. A smart tactic by McVay. A tactic he learned from Shanny.

    1. I can’t imagine it will go over well. Great way to alienate the player group.

      Can only imagine there will be quite a gutting of that roster this offseason, much like what the 49ers went through this past offseason.

      1. Yep….I think the same will happen with Giants and probably Chicago too. Our FO should be on the lookout for good FA from these three teams.

      1. To answer one of your questions Onelame. I will be on that cruise. And I pray to god you say you’re going too.
        I’d like to see how tough you really are in person.

        As for my second part. I noticed a +1
        when hammer made the comment about Jordo, hoff and Bay leaving when Smith did. Who are you trying to fool. You just came back recently you fairwaether wanna be.

        Back to the cruise I won’t be hard to miss. I will be wearing a ninermd shirt. Come up and say hi buddy!

        1. 49er Faithful Cruise…

          Grant should book the cruise. He could hold court–take Q and As, lecture on the finer points of glorified coordinators and the role of a HC, break down offensive and defensive schemes, etc. Could be a blast. C’mon Grant, sign up!

          Hope there are no issues with the flu or food poisoning.

              1. The Ten of Swords appears to be a card of terrible misfortune, but surprisingly, it often represents troubles that are more melodramatic than real. The man on this card has quite a few swords in his back. Wouldn’t one be enough? Isn’t ten a little excessive? Perhaps this gentleman’s suffering – though sincere – is exaggerated as well.

                One meaning of the Ten of Swords is hitting rock bottom. When one disaster follows another, we feel devastated at first, but eventually we throw up our hands and laugh. It’s so bad, it’s funny! In films, the hero says, “What else could possibly go wrong?” and we know that’s a signal for the bucket of water to fall on his head. When you see the Ten of Swords, know that the last bucket has fallen, and you can expect a turn for the better.

                From learntarot…

  7. From Barrows Q and A:

    QUEST: Whats chance the 49ers get Fangio?

    ANSW: The answer is: I don’t know. I do think the chances are very good that Vic Fangio will be available and that he would be receptive to working opposite Kyle Shanahan for whom he has a lot of respect. (Fangio was upset about being passed over for Jim Tomsula, and rightly so. But the guy who was mainly responsible for that move (rhymes with Baalke) is no longer in town. I wrote last week that the defense under Robert Saleh has made considerable progress and continued to improve Sunday in Houston. The question is whether Shanahan and the 49ers would feel it’s wiser to bring back Lord Fangio – he ran a top-five defense in each of the four seasons he was in San Francisco – or continue on the path they are on. On one hand, a young, savvy guy like Saleh is a good fit for a young team like the 49ers. On the other, a veteran sage like Fangio would be a nice balance for Shanahan the way Wade Phillips is for Sean McVay in Los Angeles. I do not believe there is anything afoot at the moment to bring Fangio back if that is any indication.

          1. Hard to say. It’s possible the team wasn’t ready to win earlier, no matter who was QB. JG arrived just as the rest of the team was gelling, ready to get over that losing hump.

            1. I agree 80. Philly was red hot and our defense was not,and probably still not ready to face a a top 5 offense.
              That’s why the final 2 games will reveal and verify what we need on offense and defense this offseason.

              1. Yeah, we’re in a much better place now. The NY win was huge. JG is undefeated. The defense is energized again and is healthier.

                Last 4 games.
                SF: Average points scored per game. 24
                SF: Average points allowed per game. 16

                I’m definitely looking forward to seeing JG against the Jags and our D against McVay.

              2. Most impressive thing for me this year is seeing Tartt and Ward go down and finding Reid and Colbert playing real well, and in different ways.
                Tartt and Ward were Ball hawkers.
                Reid and Colbert are hard hitting.

                I think Dontae Johnson is junk. He’s bad. Always been.
                I pray Akhello is the real deal or be at least a solid #2.
                Let’s draft Fitzpatrick at #5.
                Finish 6-10?
                Yeahh 49ers. 6-10 would be good right?

      1. The best at the time? Or the best now? For all the talk on this blog about how mediocre their competition was, at the time, Niners went toe to toe with a lot of teams now either division leaders, or in the playoff hunt. Carolina, Rams, Seahawks (2x), Philly, and 3 more playoff-bound opponents coming up. All in all a pretty rough schedule. I’d say the toughest opponent at the time of the game was Eagles. Best overall is the Rams, and Niners best effort against a good team. They had the biggest problem with the mediocre Cowboys.

    1. I’ll be there. I got see see two passes from JG. I’m excited to see a whole game now. Wonder if fans are actually going to show up and not sell their damn tickets for this one.
      Good news about that is, I won’t have to hear other fans cheering louder than ours.

      Bad news is, it will be tougher to get out of the lot.

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