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22/12/2016

simply too depressing. Not trusting that most Olympians go

MINNEAPOLIS -- Yes, Brock Osweiler has a contract befitting a franchise player, but he joined the Houston Texans this year with only seven career starts. Nike Roshe Two Flyknit Rouge .Sam Bradford was once the first overall pick in the draft, but if the Minnesota Vikings finish with a winning record this season this will be the first time hes experienced that in his professional career.Quality quarterback performance has never been more important in the present-day NFL, but what has also become clear is that success is possible without one of the leagues established elite taking the snaps.Dominant defense, with reigning Super Bowl champion Denver as the prime exhibit, is a must have.Thats primarily why the Texans (3-1) and Vikings (4-0) are winning, and theyre not alone.Philadelphia (rookie Carson Wentz), New England (suspended Tom Brady), Denver (first-time starter Trevor Siemian), St. Louis (career fill-in Case Keenum) and Dallas (rookie Dak Prescott) also have aided less-than-ideal blueprints at quarterback this season with defenses that rank in the top 10 in points allowed.When you look at the Vikings defense, youre looking at a terrific defense, Osweiler said. We know the challenge we have going on the road.The Vikings will face one on Sunday as well. Even without superstar defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans have been difficult to move the ball against.Theyre very sound. Very rarely does it look like guys are out of place, Bradford said. Theyre just playing really good football on that side right now.Here are some key angles to follow for the game:THE BLAIR WALSH PROJECT: Vikings kicker Blair Walsh ranks 28th in the NFL with a 72.7 percent field goal rate that wouldnt be as concerning if he hadnt had some struggles the past few years and the infamous miss of a 27-yard try at the end of the one-point loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs last season. Coach Mike Zimmer ominously replied not yet when asked this week whether the team would bring in any free agents to compete for the job.In addition to three failed field goals, Walsh has missed two extra points.That may cost us someday, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. So were hoping to rectify that situation and help him go out and make all his kicks.BROWNS BACK: The Texans should get a boost by the expected return of veteran left tackle Duane Brown. He missed the first four games this season while recovering from January surgery to repair a torn quadriceps muscle. Theres nobody more eager to have Brown back than Osweiler, who will work with Brown in a game for the first time on Sunday.I dont really foresee any challenges between Duane and myself, Osweiler said. Just all smiles there. Any time you get a player back like Duane, at quarterback theres nothing you can do but smile with that one.CLOWNEYS PROGRESS: Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is finally healthy and contributing for the Texans after failing to make an impact over his first two injury-filled seasons in the league. The first overall pick in the 2014 draft will start his fifth straight game on Sunday, which will be the first time in any of his NFL seasons that hes played that many in a row. Clowneys emergence has been well-timed with the loss of Watt, who had season-ending back surgery last week. Clowney had a sack and two hits on Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota in the previous game, and he has five sacks in his past eight regular-season games.VIKINGS VULNERABILITY: Clowney has played both end spots in Houstons 3-4 scheme since Watt has been out, so both Vikings tackles will need to be prepared to block the 6-foot-5, 270-pound product of South Carolina. T.J. Clemmings has taken over on Bradfords blind side on the left, with Matt Kalil likely out for the season following hip surgery. On the right side, Andre Smith left the previous game with an injury to his right arm. Jeremiah Sirles stepped in and will play again if Smith doesnt.Minnesotas offensive line has had its trouble, with only center Joe Berger the only starter in the same place as last season and the running game lagging at the bottom of the league with only 64.3 yards per game, but Bradfords quick release has helped with the pass protection. He wasnt sacked in the previous game.RARE VISIT: The Vikings have won all three matchups with the Texans, who entered the NFL in 2002 and have made only one prior regular-season visit to Minnesota. The Vikings beat Houston 28-21 at the Metrodome in 2008, behind three touchdown passes by Gus Frerotte and an end zone interception of Texans quarterback Sage Rosenfels.---Online:AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL coverage on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Puma Rihanna Creepers Marron . - Levi Browns tenure at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers is over before it even began. Nike Roshe Two Pas Cher . LOUIS -- Mike Smith is used to facing plenty of shots, so this was nothing new. http://www.pumacreepersrihanna.fr/nike-roshe-one-olympic-series.html . The Vikings announced Thursday that Priefer will be one of seven holdovers from the previous staff, along with offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, wide receivers coach George Stewart and others. Norv Turner will mark his 30th year of coaching in the NFL as the offensive co-ordinator, as widely reported for weeks, and George Edwards will be the defensive co-ordinator. RIO DE JANEIRO -- There may have been a time, when athletes smoked pipes, competed in everyday clothes and didnt tweet sponsored messages, a time that fewer and fewer people can remember, when sports were real, not theater.Theater requires audiences to suspend their disbelief, to pretend that the cardboard tree on stage is a forest and that the actor holding a skull is Hamlet.Today, after decades of doping, the best performances in the world of sport are almost immediately followed by whispers and social media postings with one question: What are they on? That wasnt always the case. Sports used to be seen as the most real form of entertainment, with regular humans doing amazing things.Paavo Nurmi, the first athlete to win five gold medals at a single Olympics, in Paris in 1924, was a former bakers errands boy who used his earnings from running to provide his family with electric light and running water.Bill Foulkes, who played in 688 matches for Manchester United from 1952 to 1970, kept his job in a coal mine when starting out at Old Trafford, underground five days a week and training with the club on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.Ethiopias Abebe Bikila retained his Olympic marathon title in 1964 just 40 days after having his appendix removed. Swedish skiing great Ingemar Stenmark strapped on his first skis at age five.Their achievements, one assumes with the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, didnt need to be second-guessed at every turn. The Say it aint so, Joe reaction in more innocent times to suspect performances has become a jaded shoulder shrug of Dude, what did you expect? or its 140-character equivalent.The acidic drip, drip, drip of cheating by greedy individuals and insecure governments in the past half-century caused this corrosion of the Olympic experience. Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, abused East German teenagers, urine-swapping Russian agents, they all brought doubt to sports. The paradise of being able to accept sporting excellence for what it is, simply excellent, has been lost.Not completely. But enough that arched eyebrows have become as necessary as a cold drink and a comfy cushion when watching cycling, track and field, and other sports taken for too many rides by dopers. Olympic weightlifting isnt worth watching at all, given how history suggests that a sizeable proportion of medalists in Rio de Janeiro will likely be handing them back when the International Olympic Committee gets around to thawing out and retesting drug-test samples taken at these games, as it has done with those from Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012. Those retests have so far yielded 98 positives from multiple countries and sports, including 12 weightlifting medalists from 2012.. Nike Roshe One Print Femme. .So, of course, Wayde van Niekerk had to be asked whether he is on drugs after he broke Michael Johnsons 17-year-old world record in the Rio Games 400-meter final. Hopefully, Van Niekerk didnt take the questions personally. They are just symptoms of the twice-bitten times; boxes self-respecting journalists must tick. The South African replied that he is clean.Armstrong, of course, used to say the same thing, evading most journalists sniff tests even more expertly than he and his teammates used to limbo under doping controls. Even now, after Armstrongs belated confessions that his Tour de France wins were a sham, the ease with which he lied remains remarkable for its assured delivery.Ive never taken performance-enhancing drugs, he said in a sworn deposition in 2005 . How many times do I have say it?Re-watching that, thinking how much of sports credibility he and other dopers have stolen, it is impossible not to feel cynical and angry. Likewise, watching any Russian athlete in Rio has been a struggle. Hard not to picture urine samples being passed at night through a hole in the wall of the drug-test lab at the 2014 Sochi Olympics for tipping down a drain.Still, it is important to have some faith.The reason to believe most of what you are seeing from Rio is not the 5,500 drug tests, which smart dopers know how to trick, or what athletes say, but because the alternative -- not believing -- is simply too depressing. Not trusting that most Olympians got here through hard work, good genes and honesty would mean that hard work, good genes, honesty count for nothing. And that is not true.Not believing in Van Niekerks time of 43.03 seconds simply because no one has run that fast before would mean also not believing that 43.03 seconds is humanly possible at all. Same goes for Michael Phelps unprecedented 28 swimming medals or Usain Bolts now seven (and counting) Olympic sprinting golds. Doubting brilliance simply because it is brilliant undermines the strongest reason for holding the games: so that humanitys fastest, springiest and strongest can get together to expand the envelope of what is physically and mentally possible.So although that voice in your head asking Is this for real? is understandable, even healthy, dont be drowned out by it.Dial down the cynicism, arch just one eyebrow, and try to enjoy the theater.---John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at)ap.org or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester . See his work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/john-leicester Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys China ' ' '