SANTA CLARA -- Delanie Walker spent extra time at practice this week working on his hands.
Walker, who has struggled with dropped passes this season, estimates that he caught 500 passes from the Jugs machine between offensive sessions at practice the past three days.
"All I did this week was stay on the Jugs," said Walker before departing with his teammates Friday afternoon for Atlanta, where the 49ers will play the Falcons on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.
"Every time the defense was up, I got on the Jugs. This week, I probably caught over 500 balls this week on the Jugs machine."
Walker said he and rookie wide receiver A.J. Jenkins never had a down moment during practices, as they both caught passes even while the offense rested.
"I even brought A.J. with me because he's going to be a key factor, in this game, he could be," Walker said. "That's what we need. We need guys to make plays. I consider myself one of the playmakers."
According to Pro Football Focus, Walker had the worst drop rate in the NFL, as he dropped nine of the 37 passes intended for him during the regular season. Walker also had two clear drops in the 49ers' opening playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. Walker caught 21 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns his season.
Ironically, Walker entered the NFL after a college career as a wide receiver. Over time, he has gotten bigger and become a very good in-line blocker. He said he does not believe his increased size is a reason for his drops.
"I just think it's lack of concentration, not being focused on catching the ball, being a little surprised when it comes to me," he said. "Now, I got to make sure I'm not surprised and stay focused when the ball comes to me."
The machine provided Walker with a good approximation of what it's like to catch a pass from strong-armed Colin Kaepernick, Walker said.
"The Jugs machine can turn it up a lot of notches," Walker said. "We turned it up as high as we could, and it really felt like Kap was throwing the ball."