Dec 15, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett (15) takes the field before a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Takeaways: Ryan Mallett Not Alone In Starter Bid

Football is back.  The NFL preseason is underway and already the dearth of intriguing headlines are lining up.

Dan Herron jacks up pressure on Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson vowed he could become the feature running back for the Indianapolis Colts now that he’s more comfortable in the system.  Apparently comfort isn’t enough.  The maligned former 1st round pick ended his first preseason game with just 13 yards rushing on five carries.  Meanwhile, out of nowhere, second-year man Dan Herron made good of his first real opportunity.  In the first half he finished with 26 yards on seven carries and also caught six passes for another 36 and a touchdown.  If Richardson wasn’t feeling the heat before, he should be now.

Kirk Cousins shows up Ryan Mallett

Prior to the first week of NFL preseason, much of the buzz going around training camps was how good Ryan Mallett looked for the New England Patriots.  The 28-year old career backup to Tom Brady has been surrounded by trade rumors for months and was tabbed by draft guru Mike Mayock as a future starter.  Somebody forgot to tell that to Kirk Cousins.  The Washington Redskins backup has not only played more actual games than Mallett to date, he’s outplayed him in a head-to-head matchup.  In one half Mallett put up just 44 passing yards and completed just 50% of his passes.  Cousins replied with 103 yards, a touchdown and 69% completion rate.  So again.  Which backup deserves a shot at a starting job?

Michael Wilhoite fires first shot in bid to replace NaVarro Bowman

The San Francisco 49ers defense is going to endure some tough times for awhile as they try to move past the absence of All-Pro linebacker NaVarro Bowman.  The first step is finding his replacement.  To date most agree it would be a battle between veteran reserve Michael Wilhoite and rookie 3rd round pick Chris Borland.  Based on early returns, the 49ers were justified to give Wilhoite the first crack as he turned in seven tackles and a sack in his first NFL preseason action.  Borland still has time to counter, but it’s clear who is out of the gate first.

Tags: Kirk Cousins Michael Wilhoite Navarro Bowman New England Patriots NFL Ryan Mallett Trent Richardson

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