Tennessee Titans DL DeMarcus Walker talks breakout season, relationship with Mike Vrabel

Tennessee Titans defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker wrote one of the team’s most heartwarming stories throughout the 2022 campaign. Signed in May to little fanfare, Walker was extremely productive, totaling 8.0 sacks while playing a crucial role. Walker is set to become an unrestricted free agent next week. The Titans should make a valiant effort to retain his services.

Walker joined Broadway Sports Media for an exclusive discussion on Wednesday afternoon. Walker is currently working with pass-rushing specialist Aaron Day. Walker and I discussed his current training, the lessons he learned before becoming a Titan, his relationship with Mike Vrabel and Terrell Williams, and so much more. We enjoyed Walker’s company.

Walker was not able to comment on his impending free agency.

JM: You’ve been working with pass-rushing specialist Aaron Day. What are some of the things you’ve been working on?

DeMarcus Walker: We’ve been working on some moves. We’re refining things. We’re looking at what worked for me last year. Pass-rushing moves like the cross-chop, two-hand swipe and things of that nature. We’re getting the footwork down while brushing up on some other things.

JM: What are some of your favorite pass rush moves to work?

DeMarcus Walker: The cross-chop is definitely one of them. The two-hand swipe is another. I definitely have a good bull rush that surprises offensive tackles. I can hit them with power for sure. Those moves were very effective for me throughout the 2022 season. I have a lot of moves in the bag, though. I just need more opportunities to showcase them.

JM: We’ve seen that on tape. You’re refining some of the moves you’re already great at. How is coach Day adding to your repertoire?

DeMarcus Walker: We’re always trying to improve and add new moves to the bag. You never stop learning in this league. You can never stop growing. That’s a lesson you have to learn every single year. Coach Day is definitely helping me add to my bag.

JM: You had a career-best season in 2022. You totaled 8.0 sacks and 32 quarterback pressures while playing multiple roles. How do you reflect on your season? Would you say it was the most enjoyable stretch of your career?

DeMarcus Walker: It was a huge blessing. I can’t thank God enough. All of my praise goes to him. I remember when nobody believed in me but God. To have an opportunity to showcase my talents in Tennessee, it was beyond a blessing. I proved my doubters wrong. 

JM: You signed a one-year deal with the Titans last May. It was the second or third wave of free agency. The signing didn’t make national headlines. You came in and had an excellent season. It was the best year of your career. You had other suitors in free agency and other teams that reached out. I imagine you don’t regret choosing the Titans.

DeMarcus Walker: Not at all (laughs). I couldn’t be happier with the decision I made. Seriously, I thank God for the Titans every single day. The wonderful city of Nashville definitely won me over.

JM: You’ve earned a pay raise. You played for the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans before landing in Tennessee. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your NFL journey?

DeMarcus Walker: You should never cut yourself off from learning. Every destination is another opportunity to learn. Every year is a new year.

Kevin Byard said something really interesting during OTA’s that really stuck with me. I was still new to the team then and learning about our environment. Byard made a statement in front of the whole defense at practice. He told us whatever happened last year doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where you came from. It’s a whole new year and you have to put new work in. You can’t rest on your previous accomplishments. 

That’s become my motto. It’s something I didn’t always know at the beginning of my career. I had to learn it the hard way. Through the grace of God, I was able to prevail through those trials and tribulations. I grew from my mistakes. I worked my tail off to get to this point. In 2022, I showcased my talents to the point where I fully believe in myself. I always knew I had it in me.

You can put me up there with anyone. I can play multiple positions. I rushed the quarterback and I stopped the run.

JM: Because you’ve had these learning experiences elsewhere, how does Tennessee compare to your other stops from a coaching and locker room culture perspective?

DeMarcus Walker: Mike Vrabel is the best head coach I’ve ever had. Period. I told him that to his face. I told him that in our meeting room.

JM: I want to expand on the relationship with Vrabel and coach Terrell Williams. It sounds like he’s been going to bat for you. Vrabel just made coach Williams his assistant head coach. He got a promotion.

DeMarcus Walker: What?!? He didn’t tell me that (laughs). Man, I’m giving him crap right now (laughs). I’m texting him right now. I can’t believe he didn’t tell us! Thank you so much for telling me, Justin. I appreciate that information! I really didn’t know that.

JM: No problem (laughs). What’s your relationship like with coach Williams?

DeMarcus Walker: He’s an excellent guy. He’s invited to my wedding someday. Point blank, period. That’s the best way I can summarize my relationship with coach Williams. He’s definitely going to be at my wedding. He really is the best person.

JM: You’re going to have to upgrade the catering package for him.

DeMarcus Walker: Tell me about it (laughs). That reminds me of something funny. Do you know that coach Williams doesn’t drink water? This man doesn’t drink water at all (laughs). 

Titans fans, everybody reading this, I need everyone to donate a case of water to coach Williams (laughs). Bring it to his front door. We need to force coach Williams to start drinking water. 

JM: What does he drink?!?

DeMarcus Walker: Tea. He lives for fruit tea. I’ll tell you what though, shout out to the Titans cafeteria. They work incredibly hard. They keep our eating space clean and organized. Our chefs do an excellent job. They feed us so well. They make this excellent fruit tea that coach Williams can’t get enough of (laughs). 

You know how you catch a kid with his hand in the candy jar? That’s coach Williams with that tea (laughs). What are you drinking, coach? He says water. No you’re not (laughs). We know it’s a lie! It’s always fruit tea (laughs).

JM: That’s so funny. I want to touch on your relationship with somebody else you know pretty well. Being that both you and Mario Edwards Jr. went to FSU, I’m wondering if you’ve discussed your previous NFL experiences and talk about what’s different in Tennessee, in a good way.

DeMarcus Walker: I’ll never forget it. I think it was three weeks before we actually signed Mario Edwards Jr. Coach Williams asked me about him [Edwards]. I told coach Williams, we need to sign Edwards. I’m glad it worked out that way. Mario and I were able to showcase our skills together in Tennessee. We made the most of our opportunities. God is good, man.

Author: Justin MeloSenior Writer, Interviewer and Podcaster for Broadway Sports covering the Tennessee Titans and NFL draft. For more than five years, Justin Melo has professionally covered all things NFL draft and Titans for The Draft Network, SB Nation and USA Today. Best known for his Interview Series with NFL draft prospects, Justin has interviewed more than 500 NFL players. Co-host of the Music City Audible podcast alongside Justin Graver (@titansfilmroom).

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