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nights preseason opener
Lionel Messi says Barcelona continue to believe in themselves despite a run of three games without a victory. Barcelona face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Wednesday, holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg.Recent defeats to to Real Sociedad and Real Madrid have cut Barcelonas lead at the top of La Liga to just three points ahead of second-placed Atletico but despite the scrutiny, Messi has backed his team-mates to emrge from their mini-slump. Our mentality is still the same, Messi said via his Facebook account.We work all season to give ourselves the best chance of reaching the final and winning titles. We continue to believe in ourselves. Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has played down the importance of the match Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has made light of the importance of the match, insisting that every game from now until the end of the season is equally important.Its an advantageous result, but the tie is open, he said in the pre-match press conference.I dont feel like this is the biggest game of the season. Its just as important as any other game and we wont speculate as to what the result will be. We will just try to play better than our opponents. Barcelonas Javier Mascherano is confident ahead of the Atletico Madrid game Barcelona remain on course to finish the season with five trophies and Javier Mascherano believes they need to stay fully focused on all fronts. We chose to go for all titles, Mascherano said. We are the league leaders although the gap has been narrowed. We know that we have a chance to win them all, and must get through our remaining games. Atletico Madrids Diego Simeone says his team enjoys being the underdogs Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone said his side will benefit from being the underdogs despite holding home advantage.Barcelonas players wont be affected by the atmosphere at the Vincente Calderon, he said.Theyre used to it. It will be intense and physical. They will play their normal game, but our strength is knowing they are better than us.Follow Atletico Madrid v Barcelona with our live blog tonight on skysports.com and the Sky Sports apps. Also See: A Madrid v Barcelona preview Why have Barca stumbled? Neymars £153m buyout clause Charlies European predictions Cheap Patriots Jerseys .C. -- Chris Thorburn thinks one of the reasons the Winnipeg Jets have been successful under new coach Paul Maurice is that theyre playing together as a team. Terrell Owens Jersey . The Dutchmans tenure got off to a poor start when referee Guido Winkmann awarded a penalty within two minutes for Niklas Starks clumsy challenge on Alexandru Maxim. http://www.custompatriotsjersey.com/cust...1891f.html . Halladay signed a one-day contract with the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday that allowed the veteran right-hander to retire as a member of team with which he broke into the majors and spent the bulk of his distinguished 16-year career. Rickey Jackson Jersey . The 29-year-old from Port Colborne, Ont., has nothing but good things to say about former U.S. marine Liz (Girlrilla) Carmouche ahead of their co-main event Wednesday on the UFCs "Fight for the Troops" televised card in Fort Campbell, Ky. Hugh McElhenny Jersey . Brazilian national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has confirmed that the veteran goalkeeper is set to join Toronto on loan, saying it will help him be ready for the World Cup. NFL Nation reporters assess the top storylines to watch Wednesday for every team.NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC WestAFC EASTBuffalo BillsThe Bills got through Tuesdays practice without any injuries, which turns attention back to rookie linebacker Reggie Raglands knee. Coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday that the team is still waiting for swelling to go down in order for a diagnosis to be made, and Ryan added that there isnt anyone who knows for sure the extent of his injury. Perhaps Wednesday will bring more clarity. In the meantime, veteran Zach Brown continues to run with the first team in Raglands place. -- Mike RodakMiami DolphinsDolphins receiver and former first-round pick DeVante Parker returned to practice after missing five sessions with a hamstring injury. Parker looked smooth running routes and catching passes, but coach Adam Gase said he hasnt determined if Parker will play in Fridays preseason opener against the Giants. The team will continue to monitor Parker in Wednesdays practice and throughout the week. -- James WalkerNew England PatriotsWith wide receiver?Julian Edelman not finishing Tuesdays practice after having his surgically repaired left foot looked at before walking to the locker room under his own power, and defensive end?Rob Ninkovich leaving with a triceps injury, the status of those two starters represents a critical issue facing the Patriots. Edelmans impact was hard to miss prior to the injury, as his sharp cuts and crisp route-running gave some of the Saints young defensive backs fits in one-on-one drills in the joint practice. The Patriots and Saints get together for another day of practice Wednesday. -- Mike ReissNew York JetsCoach Todd Bowles will evaluate Muhammad Wilkerson on Wednesday to determine if the defensive end?will play Thursday night against the Jaguars. It seems unlikely. Wilkerson, activated Tuesday from the PUP list, still hasnt had a full practice on his surgically repaired leg. It makes sense to be cautious with the $86 million defensive star. -- Rich CiminiAFC NORTHBaltimore RavensOffensive tackle?Ronnie Stanley, the No. 6 overall pick, returned to practice after missing one day with a soft-tissue injury. This is significant, especially after what the Ravens went through the past two seasons. Eugene Monroe missed 15 of the Ravens last 32 regular-season games. The Ravens wanted a more durable blocker to protect Joe Flaccos blind side, and Stanley impressed team officials by how quickly he bounced back from his first injury. [Stanley] wanted to be out there, coach John Harbaugh said after Tuesdays practice. -- Jamison HensleyCincinnati BengalsRain ruined much of the work the Bengals were able to get done Tuesday, as they were forced to finish the latter half of their practice session on the small indoor turf field next to their weight room. It was exactly the kind of low-speed, low-injury risk type of workout a team probably would prefer to have one day before it hosts another team for a joint practice. The Bengals will spend three days with the Vikings, beginning with Wednesdays expectedly competitive session on the practice fields. It could be an intense practice, considering Minnesota broke its Tuesday workout at home an hour early because of scuffles. -- Coley HarveyCleveland BrownsWide receiver Corey Coleman has not practiced since Friday due to a hamstring strain, but coach Hue Jackson will not rule the first-round pick out of the preseason opener Friday in Green Bay. Coleman was the standout of camp prior to his hammy issue, but receivers coach Al Saunders said the team has to be careful with Coleman because the wideout?has a history of soft-tissue injuries, including a sports hernia that required surgery in December. Jackson said he will wait until Wednesdays practice before deciding if Coleman can face the Packers. -- Pat McManamonPittsburgh SteelersIn the second day of Steelers-Lions joint practices, Antonio Brown vs. Darius Slay will be the matchup to watch. Brown on Tuesday won a few one-on-ones deep downfield over Slay, who just signed a new contract worth up to $48 million, and Slay told reporters hell be ready for Brown on Day 2. And to think Brown beat Slay without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who returns to practice Wednesday after a coach-excused absence for personal reasons. Roethlisberger and Brown can run certain plays by the sideline that no corner can guard. -- Jeremy FowlerAFC SOUTHHouston TexansThe Texans have Wednesday off, which will give center Nick Martin and outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney time to rest as they have now missed three straight practices with undisclosed injuries. Coach Bill OBrien said he is not concerned about the two players missing time, but given Clowneys injury history in his first two NFL seasons, it is at least something to keep an eye on. -- Sarah BarshopIndianapolis ColtsTheres a possibility that rookie center Ryan Kelly could have his workload increased in practice Wednesday. The first-round pick on Tuesday returned to practice on a limited basis?after being out nine days with a strained left shoulder. Coach Chuck Pagano said the Colts are?going to monitor Kellys pitch count as he works his way back. -- Mike WellsJacksonville JaguarsThe Jaguars have another offensive lineman banged up --?Josh Wells has a broken right thumb and will have surgery Thursday -- and its starting to get a little dicey up front. Two starters have already been out for a bit (center?Brandon Linder and left tackle?Kelvin Beachum), and Wells had been getting first-team reps. The Jaguars didnt address the offensive line?beyond signing Beachum and guard?Mackenzy Bernadeau,?who likely wont make the team, and if these injuries linger much longer it will be a huge issue. The Jaguars had trouble running the ball last year, and quarterback?Blake Bortles has been sacked 106 times in two seasons. -- Mike DiRoccoTennessee TitansWide receiver Kendall Wrights hamstring tweak has now turned into an issue that will cost him a couple of weeks. That means continued increased opportunity for Harry Douglas, who has looked pretty good working out of the slot, as well as for Tre McBride, an efficient pass-catcher who could get caught in a numbers crunch if everyone is healthy when cuts begin. -- Paul KuharskyAFC WESTDenver BroncosCoach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday that guard Ty Sambrailos right elbow injury is now a week-to-week situation, and that means the Broncos offensive line plan?is now a question mark. As a result, they will not be playing their projected starting offensive line Thursday night against the Bears. Left tackle Russell Okung, who had offseason shoulder surgery, will not play as the Broncos continue to get him ready for the regular season, so Michael Schofield will open the game at left tackle?while Darrion Weems, who arrived to the Broncos as a tackle when he was signed in the offseason, is expected to start at right guard -- where Sambrailo has played. -- Jeff LegwoldKansas City ChiefsCornerback Marcus Peters?waited until practice was almost over Tuesday,?but he?got his interception. Rare has been the practice session at training camp that didnt feature Peters getting at least one pick. Judging from his play in camp, Peters is ready to have another big season. He tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions in 2015 and was named the NFLs defensive rookie of the year. -- Adam TeicherOakland RaidersFirst-round draft pick Karl Joseph told ESPN.com on Friday that his rebuilt right knee, which underwent surgery for a torn ACL last fall, was still not 100 percent. So his saying on Tuesday that he would not be surprised if he did not play in the Raiders preseason opener at Arizona should not be all that surprising, right? Well, the rookie strong safety has missed only one of 10 camp practices after sitting out the offseason program, and he wants to be as fresh as possible for the regular season. -- Paul GutierrezSan Diego ChargersThe Chargers on Tuesday had their most physical practice so far in camp, and they will stay in pads through Thursday as coach Mike McCoy prepares his team for its?preseason opener at Tennessee. In particular, safety Jahleel Addae had an impactful day with an interception and a pass breakup. Addae also had a couple of big hits defending the run in team drills. Today was kind of a physical, tough grind, McCoy said. The chirpiness and the way they were talking, it was kind of fun to hear it all. It was an outstanding day of work. Thats about as physical as its been in practice in a long time. -- Eric D. WilliamsNFC EASTDallas CowboysFearful of a setback, the Cowboys will not let running back?Ezekiel Elliott practice until they are certain he will not strain his hamstring further. Elliott is doing more rehab work on the side after not being able to finish practice on Aug. 2. Because of the deliberaate nature, the odds of Elliott playing in Saturdays preseason opener against the Rams are slim.dddddddddddd Thats one of those injuries if you bring him back a day or two too soon all of a sudden you can have a six- or seven-week injury and we dont want that for him or for anybody else on our team, coach Jason Garrett said. -- Todd ArcherNew York GiantsVictor Cruz left practice Tuesday with a tight groin. For most players, it could be viewed as something minor. But not with Cruz. He has missed most of the past two years with leg injuries. All eyes will be on the Giants wide receiver Wednesday to see how hes feeling and if it develops into something bigger. -- Jordan RaananPhiladelphia EaglesThe Eagles off day was rattled by reports that right tackle Lane Johnson is facing a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL PED policy. The Eagles are already compromised at tackle, with 34-year-old Jason Peters injured. They have to hope Johnson is cleared by the NFL. It would be tough to replace one of their tackles. Replacing both would be brutal. -- Phil SheridanWashington RedskinsTight end Jordan Reed wont play in Thursdays preseason opener because of a sore left thumb. Reed has been able to practice, but the Redskins want him to focus on rehabbing the thumb over the next three days rather than play and perhaps make it worse. Left tackle Trent Williams (knee) and linebacker Preston Smith (shoulder) are questionable. If Reed and Williams cant play, that would take away two of the Redskins best offensive players -- but the starters are expected to play only about?15-20 snaps. -- John KeimNFC NORTHChicago BearsThe Bears have a closed walk-through in Bourbonnais on Wednesday and then travel to Chicago in preparation for the preseason opener against?the Broncos. The Bears would like to?avoid another serious injury before they depart camp. Last year, Alshon Jeffery suffered a severe calf strain at the exact same closed walk-through?workout, which wiped out the rest of his preseason. Jeffery is not expected to play against Denver, but he is close to returning from a mild hamstring strain. Coach John Fox expects the starters to play about?one quarter of action Thursday, but look for the Bears to be extra cautious with players dealing with injuries. -- Jeff DickersonDetroit LionsThe Lions offensive line on Tuesday faced a tough test in a joint practice with the Steelers, and the group held its?own better than anticipated. The offensive line is?still a work in progress, but it was an area coach Jim Caldwell focused most of his attention on during Tuesdays practice. Riley Reiff and Larry Warford stood out as having good practices. This is a real challenging situation that it presents to them, Caldwell said. And so it gives you an opportunity to see someone a little bit different than the guys theyve been practicing against. They cant anticipate as much and have to rely on their fundamentals and techniques. That was huge. -- Michael RothsteinGreen Bay PackersIf Jared Cooks first practice was any indication, it wont take the Packers new tight end long to mesh with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. On the third play of Cooks first practice of camp on Tuesday, Rodgers found him for a 20-yard gain down the right seam. Cook showed no ill effects in his return from foot surgery in June. While Cook might not play in Fridays preseason game against the Browns given that the Packers have only two practices this week, those worried about whether he would fall behind after spending the first two weeks of camp on PUP apparently need not be concerned. Hell get one more practice in this week, on Wednesday. -- Rob DemovskyMinnesota VikingsIn their first joint practices with another team in more than a decade, the Vikings will face a Bengals defense that looks almost identical to their own. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was the Bengals defensive coordinator from 2008 to 13, and Cincinnati still runs the same scheme it employed when Zimmer was there. The Vikings will get an opportunity to practice against a different team, but it wont be hard for their coaches to evaluate film of the practices and compare them to the Vikings previous work in training camp. Its going to be like seeing our defense with different people out there, wide receiver Charles Johnson said. -- Ben GoesslingNFC SOUTHAtlanta FalconsFirst-round pick Keanu Neal?on Tuesday showed progress coming off a trunk injury as the strong safety went through warm-ups during practice, then ran sprints on a side field under the watch of the athletic performance staff. But Neals status for Thursday nights preseason opener against the Redskins remains questionable. Will make a decision [Wednesday], maybe even on the next day regarding their availability for the game, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said, referring to Neal, tight end Levine Toilolo (hand) and running back Terron Ward (ankle). Its not a long term for any of them. Neal has impressed his coaches and teammates with his physical style and overall playmaking ability. -- Vaughn McClureCarolina PanthersCoach Ron Rivera is looking for consistency, particularly from his young players, in Thursday nights preseason opener at Baltimore. He didnt get that on Tuesday, the teams last full practice before traveling to Baltimore on Wednesday. There were too many dropped passes, too many players out of position. Rivera says that can be rectified if the young players get their head in the playbook. Getting the plays down, he reminded, will allow them to play fast and more efficient. -- David NewtonNew Orleans SaintsThe Saints will try to keep up their momentum after a stellar start in their joint practices with the Patriots on Tuesday. New Orleans gave a strong performance on both sides of the ball, highlighted by rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins interception against Tom Brady,?and Drew Brees touchdown?strike to Brandin Cooks on a quick-out behind Pro Bowl cornerback?Malcolm Butler. But Brady had plenty of his own highlight moments, too, and the challenge for New Orleans wont get easier as it?heads toward Thursdays preseason opener. -- Mike TriplettTampa Bay BuccaneersWide receiver?Vincent Jackson is what coach Dirk Koetter called a little banged up, while running back Charles Sims tweaked his ankle on Tuesday. Koetter hinted that the Bucs?would err on the side of caution. The team is still without left guard J.R. Sweezy, who is in California having his back examined, but the good news is that his backup,?Kevin Pamphile, who missed the last three days for what Koetter described as personal reasons, was back practicing Tuesday. The Bucs head to Philadelphia on Wednesday for Thursday nights preseason opener against the Eagles. -- Jenna LaineNFC WESTArizona CardinalsThe Cardinals are slowly getting healthier as wide receiver?J.J. Nelson returned to practice Tuesday, even as offensive lineman Earl Watford missed practice with a bruised knee. Coach Bruce Arians said he hopes safety Tyrann Mathieu, cornerback Justin Bethel and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker can return to the field next week. One player who has stood out early in camp now that hes healthy is tight end?Troy Niklas, a former second-round pick. Hes looking like the player we drafted and wanted, Arians said. -- Josh WeinfussLos Angeles RamsQuarterback Case Keenum says he doesnt think of himself as the temporary stand-in at starter, warming the seat until No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff is ready. Keenum has nothing against Goff. He likes him. Hes just not ready to hand over the starting position he seized in the final five games of 2015. I know what people are saying, but there are only a few opinions that really matter, Keenum said. Mine is one and the coaches are one. -- ESPN.com staffSan Francisco 49ersThe 49ers defensive line remains unsettled, but it also has had some extra help at practice the past few days in the form of Hall of Famer Charles Haley. Haley has been there offering tips and instruction to youngsters like Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. Armstead has been dealing with an apparent arm/shoulder injury that kept him out of team drills Tuesday, but Haley still stopped by to give him some help during the workout. Buckner, meanwhile, continues to get meaningful repetitions with the starting defense. -- Nick WagonerSeattle SeahawksRunning back Thomas Rawls returned to practice Tuesday, but the team is still waiting on tight end Jimmy Graham (patellar tendon). He is so frustrated to not be back out, coach Pete Carroll said. He is right at the edge of getting back. He is really close, yeah. With Graham out, Luke Willson has been getting most of the work with the first team. The Seahawks also have rookie Nick Vannett, and veteran Brandon Williams has had a very good camp. -- Sheil Kapadia ' ' '

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