By nearly any measuring stick, rookie receiver Tajae Sharpe did well in his first NFL game.
Sharpe, who has impressed since rookie camp coming in as a fifth-round pick, caught seven of the 11 passes thrown his way by Marcus Mariota on Sunday, good for 76 yards. All of those numbers led the Titans in receiving in the 25-16 loss to the Vikings.
Still, there were some rookie mistakes that might have hindered the young receiver from Massachusetts from having even greater success in his first regular-season game.
“Tajae made a lot of plays. Tajae will now tell you after sitting here watching the tape, and even during the game we told him, a lot of his routes—whether it was the first game or not—a lot of his routes were short,” Mularkey said.
Sharpe, who averaged just under 10 yards per catch against the Vikings, might have had more yards and a few bigger plays down the field, had he not cut those routes short, according to Mularkey.
“Some of those third-and-ones that we came up with were because we were short on the depths. Some of the plays down the field that we were trying to get the ball down to him, he was short on his depths,” Mularkey said.
Sharpe was mostly pleased, but knows there are still things to work on.
“I felt like I did pretty good and I tried to make some plays when the opportunity presented itself. But I know I still have some things to correct,” Sharpe said. “When I (went) back and watched the film, I saw some things that I can do better to help this team win.”
Sharpe admits he did have some nervousness leading up to his first game.
“It definitely helps you a lot. For the first game, there’s going to be a little bit of pre-game jitters and first game anxiousness and stuff like that,” Sharpe said. “But once you get that first game under your belt, you can kind of get comfortable and get on a roll and everything will start to slow down for you.”
In the long run, Sharpe may be better off for having learned some things from his first game. Mularkey said Sharpe’s rookie mistakes are not uncommon an certainly correctable.
“That’s not unusual for a young player. Everything speeds up, especially your first game as an NFL rookie starting against a very good defense. So that’s something he knows now,” Mularkey said. “We came in here and watched it as an offense. He sees it, but he was told on the sideline, as well. I think that’s something he can get better at. I mean, for as good as he did yesterday, I think there’s even better things ahead.”