Cowboys don’t need Ezekiel Elliott, Titans should bench Marcus Mariota and more Week 2 preseason overreactions

first_imgWeek 2 of the 2019 NFL preseason doesn’t come with the same hype of Week 1, but there are still plenty of storylines coming out of the weekend’s game results — most of which tend to be overblown. It didn’t take long for the buzz of the openers to abate when teams added a dose of reality to the situations.Here’s making sense of the latest fallout from games that don’t count, as Sporting News once again examines the greatest overreactions. 3. Case Keenum has shut the door on the Redskins quarterback job.Colt McCoy is having more issues with his leg injury, making Keenum the default favorite to start Week 1 (which he already was when the team traded for him as a bridge QB option with Alex Smith shelved). Now it comes down to Keenum and rookie first-rounder Dwayne Haskins.​Haskins rebounded nicely from his rough, two-interception debut against Cleveland to look more comfortable against Cincinnati, going 7-of-14 for 114 yards and a TD, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt and rating a hearty 101.5. Keenum, meanwhile, continued to look ho-hum (3-of-7, 52 yards).Washington’s best argument is more anti-Haskins — that he’s not quite ready to be thrown in the fire — than it is pro-Keenum. Should Keenum fail to play well in the critical third preseason game in Atlanta, and should Haskins deliver with more improvement, coach Jay Gruden might be convinced the rookie gives Washington its best chance to win games early in the season.4. The Seahawks’ passing offense is in trouble without Doug Baldwin.Rookie D.K. Metcalf is having knee surgery, making his status for Week 1 cloudy. He didn’t play against the Vikings, and the Seahawks didn’t have many receiving highlights.But Seattle has been using the preseason as a tune-up for its run-heavy offense more so than its passing game. In that regard, Chris Carson has proved worthy of being both the lead back and the preferred passing-down option over Rashaad Penny.Also, when have so-called limitations at wideout hurt Russell Wilson? Tyler Lockett is being kept under wraps as the new No. 1, adding key possession slot duties to his big-play habits. Jaron Brown and David Moore have been used well by Wilson when needed, too.Metcalf can be special working opposite Lockett, but while that may be on delay, the Seahawks have plenty to help Wilson get the job done downfield. 2019 NFL PREDICTIONS:Standings, playoff projections, Super Bowl pick1. The Cowboys don’t need Ezekiel Elliott after seeing what rookie Tony Pollard can do.The rookie from Memphis didn’t treat his trip to Honolulu as a vacation. Pollard was all business running against the Rams’ backups, and business was good. He had two chunk runs and a touchdown as part of 42 yards rushing on five carries. He also added a reception.Around the same time, regardless of whether the team was trying to send a subtle hint to Elliott that he better return soon, Zeke reportedly was leaving Cabo to return to Dallas.Pollard is a talented back who will have a key role mixing in behind Elliott, and for that role, he’s looking great. But remember he shared time in college with Rams rookie Darrell Henderson; there’s no guarantee Pollard would hold up with the massive volume Elliott handles. There’s also too much in the Cowboys offense that’s Elliott-specific.But if Elliott returns soon, it looks like a losing situation for the Cowboys will become a win-win.MORE: Predicting how much Zeke will be paid2. The Titans should consider benching Marcus Mariota in favor of Ryan Tannehill.Titans coach Mike Vrabel has not publicly indicated there is a quarterback controversy in Tennessee. Yet there’s a perception that Tannehill can push Mariota given some of the 2015 first-rounder’s struggles.But the biggest thing that has hurt Mariota in his effort to earn a contract extension is health. And so far in 2019, he has looked good and has outplayed Tannehill in his short outings.With Corey Davis in Year 3, Delanie Walker back healthy, Adam Humphries now in the slot, Dion Lewis still out of the backfield and rookie A.J. Brown set to be in the mix soon, this is Mariota’s best receiving corps yet. This is a critical year for Mariota’s future with the Titans, but the only way to figure out if he can remain the franchise QB is to play him.Tannehill already hit his ceiling in Miami, and we know it’s much lower than that of Mariota. 8. Taysom Hill is Saints’ best backup — to both Alvin Kamara and Drew Brees.The love affair with the speedy quarterback/running back continues in New Orleans. The game against the Chargers turned into the Taysom Hill Show, as he lit it up both passing (11-of-15, 136 yards, 2 TDs, 140.6 rating) and rushing (5 carries for 53 yards to lead the team).Hill already has his role on designed runs behind Kamara and now Latavius Murray, often out of the direct snaps Brees would take. But some think he might be a better backup QB than Teddy Bridgewater, who picked a bad time to struggle (5-of-12, 40 yards, INT) in LA.Brees, though, is in great shape. He remains extremely durable, and he is not hanging it up soon. So the Saints can have some fun with their QB usage in the preseason. Hill, who turns 29 this week, is too valuable as a return man and gadget player to preserve him as a true No. 2. 5. The Patriots’ rushing offense is turning to rookie Damien Harris.With no Sony Michel or James White against the Titans, the rookie from Alabama dominated touches and was productive. Harris rushed 14 times for 80 yards, including a 20 yard burst. He also showed his well-rounded skills with four catches for 23 yards.There’s reason to believe Harris will be busy in New England because of Michel’s durability issues, but assuming anything about the Patriots’ backfield over the years has proved to be a mistake.White is locked into a key receiving role, which is more critical now for the Patriots given their concerns at wide receiver. The team could either roll with Michel as the early-down power guy while making Harris a backup to both backs, or it could roll with a three-man committee.Anything is possible, but Harris just gave the Patriots’ offensive coaches a little more to consider.MORE: Ranking the NFL’s best rivalries in 20196. Jets are playing it too safe with Le’Veon Bell.Bell won’t play at all in the preseason, and it’s not because he has helmet issues with his new non-Steelers team (sorry, AB). Coach Adam Gase is wise not to risk the focal point of his running game (and offense at large) in meaningless action.Bell doesn’t need to be on the field to prove he’s committed to New York’s cause. After his time off last season, he will hit this season running with the freshest of legs to handle a high volume of touches.7. Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers need to play.Newton knows Norv Turner’s offense and has been getting plenty of intense work in practice. He is also trying to avoid overworking his recovering shoulder with the intent of it being close to full strength for the real Week 1. Besides, in the meantime, the Panthers are figuring out that Kyle Allen remains the better insurance policy for Newton (for now) over rookie Will Grier.Rodgers didn’t play against the Ravens after experiencing some tightness in his back. The Packers don’t need to rush him out there against the Raiders in Week 3 should he not feel like his loose self come Thursday night.The length of the preseason preaches precaution above all else.MORE: NFL quarterback rankings for 2019last_img read more

Legalise cricket betting, demands former sports promoter Aushim Khetarpal

first_imgOnce himself in throes of match fixation controversy,sports promoter turned film producer actor Aushim Khetarpal on Tuesday demanded a legal status to cricket betting as it will earn crores of revenue to the government which goes to thee pocket of bookies. Khetarpal was in Chandigarh to release his biography written by Kanu Priya.Aushim Khetarpal said that he had promised to the cricket world that one day he will come out with a book that will speak the truth and it is only due to the match fixing controversy that he was able to expose the corruption in the cricket.”There is nothing wrong in betting, only fixing is wrong.Where there is money there is corruption.The right measures taken by the cricket control board,supreme court and other agencies have controlled the corruption to some an extent.Now it is limited to individuals whether they will involve themselves or not. Betting gets a kick and adds glamour to cricket. It is like a share market. India should regularise betting  as it will earn money in the form of taxes that can be used for infrastructure,” Aushim Khetarpal said.Khetarpal said  betting has already been legalised in USA and England and there is nothing wrong if it is regularised.Owner of Radiant Sports Company of India  which pioneered a number of leading sports events including sixteen championship -Khetarpal also part of a bigger controversy of match fixing involving Stephen Fleming and Chris Lewis . He however got a clearance from Scotland Yard.advertisementGoing down the memory lane Aushim said that he had good relations with PCA chief which had offered to organise a benefit match between India and PCA.Aushim deposited a Rs 15 lackh bank Gurarantee to PCA for this match which was to beheld in July 1999. The animosity between PCA chief I S Bindra and BCCI chiefJagmohan Dalmia played heavily for Aushim.The BCCI chief did not allow Sri Lanka to come to India to play match which costed dear to Aushim as he lost Rs one crore in the deal.Khetarpal clarified that the match fixation allegations levelled against him were baseless and he was targeted by his rivals ( Dalmia).He said that he was a sports promoter and had met a former England all-rounder. But the cricketeraccused him of match fixing in an interview he gave to a tabloid. Aushim says it was a concocted story but the media splashed a series of news stories consecutively on the front page for 14 days which tarnished his image.The author has also mentioned the controversy in the autobiography ‘The Chosen One’.last_img read more