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For the Toronto Argonauts last year was magical. Or perhaps to be more accurate, the
For the Toronto Argonauts last year was magical. Or perhaps to be more accurate, the last five weeks made for a magical year. But when you consider at this time last year the organization had a new executive Chairman and CEO in Chris Rudge, a new head coach in Scott Milanovich, a new defensive coordinator in Chris Jones, and a new quarterback in Ricky Ray, to win the 100th Grey Cup 35-22 over Calgary was remarkable. That being said, they were just a 9-9 team during the regular season and that still needs to improve. On offence, three issues stand out: sixth in the league scoring points has to improve because 24 points per game is not enough; eighth in the league in rushing should easily improve with Chad Kackert now established as a true No. 1 running back; and most significant, eighth in red zone offence is a complete priority. Settling for field goals instead of touchdowns was a big reason for Torontos 9-9 regular season. The key to the Argos success last season was on defence and specifically, in leading the league in forcing opponents to run two plays and punt. It gave their offence extra opportunities and frustrated their opposition profusely. It was the teams best trait last year and made a big difference at the end of games. I remember in the Grey Cup, opening possession for Toronto resulted in an interception, leading to a great opportunity for the Stampeders to score early, which in championship games is huge. Two plays later the Stampeders punted and there was no consequence for that early mistake. There is no comparison between the Argos now and the team they were at this time last year. The offence, defence, and special teams playbook is the same so it is now so much more about mastering plays and technique than learning plays and technique. Chad Owens will be productive and Ray, as always, will be calm, cool, and collected. The defensive personnel will change but with Brandon Isaac, Marcus Ball, and Robert McCune the middle level will make the plays until the front and back can catch up. Thats right, the opportunity is there for the Argos to repeat when November 24 rolls around. A little red zone here offence, a little running game there, and one more impact receiver. Its that simple. Jeff Kent Jersey . LeBron James and Chris Bosh didnt need any more. Williams scored 11 points in 10 minutes, Alan Anderson scored 17 points, and the Brooklyn Nets finished the exhibition season with a 108-87 win over the Miami Heat on Friday night. Custom Jose Cruz Jr. Jersey . -- The Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake played to a 0-0 tie Saturday night that left the top of the Western Conference standings unchanged. http://www.customastrosjersey.com/custom...1016y.html .Y. -- Marcell Dareus and the Buffalo Bills defence made life miserable for Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. Abraham Toro Jersey . - Derek Wolfe says hes finally healthy after suffering a seizure in November that doctors now believe was related to the spinal cord injury he suffered in the preseason. Roy Oswalt Jersey . With his new coach and six-time Grand Slam singles champion Boris Becker watching him during an official match for the first time, Djokovic appeared tentative early against the Slovakian player, who often appeared content to keep the ball in play.SYDNEY - Australia qualified for the 2014 World Cup by beating Iraq 1-0 on Tuesday, with Josh Kennedy heading home the winner in the 83rd minute to reward a bold substitution by coach Holger Osieck. Osieck made the surprising decision to take off veteran Tim Cahill and replace him with Kennedy, and the decision paid dividends when Mark Bresciano chipped a cross into the box, where the tall striker took advantage of lax marking to head past Noor Sabri in the Iraq goal. The goal sparked euphoria among the sodden but exultant home crowd of 80,523, curing the heightening anxiety among fans as the minutes ticked by without Australia being able to find a way through Iraqs defence. A draw would have left Australia at the mercy of the outcome of the Jordan-Oman game later in the day, with a likely relegation to third place in the group and a further playoff round. Jordan beat Oman 1-0 to finish third in the group and book its place in the Asian zone playoff against Uzbekistan. Kennedys goal meant Australia qualified directly for its third straight World Cup. "Im proud of everybody," said captain Lucas Neill. "Its been a really tough campaign. Weve stuck at it, showed mental strength. "Sorry, it wasnt pretty. But weve beaten what was in front of us and pushed ourselves on to a very exciting tournament." The Socceroos won just one of their first six games in the final stage of Asian qualifying, putting their Brazil ambitions in jeopardy, but home wins over Jordan and Iraq delivered a place in Brazil for the veteran squad, which includes Bresciano, Mark Schwarzer, Lucas Neill and Cahill in the twilight of their careers. "The boys did really well in the final stage of the campaign, it was a great effort," said Osieck. "We really grew together as a team, we presented ourselves as a unit, and the reward today was that we could qualify for the World Cup." "It gave me a beautiful feeling and I must admit that Im proud to be part of this. "I know theres going to be a tough year ahead but tonight we have the right and privilege to enjoy our qualification." Australia started the game positively and had the first good scoring chance in the third minute with Cahill stinging the palms of Iraqi keeper Abbas Noors goal from 10 metres, after some clever build up play from winger Robbie Kruse. In the 15th minute Sasa Ognenovski spurned a good chance when he headed over the bar from fellow central defender Neills chipped cross. Cahill too had a good chance when Matt McKays cross from the left floated over the defence to the back post, and Cahills acrobatic effort to hook the ball over his left shoulder went just wide.dddddddddddd Iraq, missing several of its best players, managed just one shot in the opening half which failed to test Schwarzer. The former Asian champions qualifying hopes ended last week in a defeat to already-qualified Japan in Doha, and they missed captain and striker Younis Mahmood and veteran midfielder organizer Nashat Akram, who didnt travel to Australia. The visitors started the second half brightly with midfielder Saif Salman forcing Schwarzer to dive to his left to stop his low drive from 25 metres. In the 57th minute, Bresciano shot narrowly over from just outside the box as the hosts looked to up the pressure on the Iraq backline. Australia named an unchanged lineup for the third successive game after an impressive 1-1 draw away to Japan and a 4-0 rout of Jordan in Melbourne last week. On the hour Australia coach Holger Oseick brought on Glasgow Celtics Tom Rogic for Brett Holman and the change almost paid immediate dividends with Rogic bursting into the box, but he miscued his shot. Australia put the ball in the net in the 65th minute, but Kruses volley from outside the box was disallowed by Iranian referee Faghani Alireza who saw a foul by Ognenovski in the lead up. Australia continued to press but couldnt find the breakthrough, prompting Osieck to substitute Cahill for Nagoya Grampus striker Kennedy. Cahill was less than impressed with the decision, storming past the German coach to take his place on the bench, but the substitution proved inspiring. "You have to understand that no player wants to come off but its my prerogative as a coach to substitute players," said Osieck "You can see that after the game he was one of the happiest players, he even sat on my shoulders. But hes a lightweight, if it had been (Sasa) Ognenovski it would have been a different matter." The hosts survived some nervous final minutes as Iraq pressed forward and created opportunities, but some last-ditch defending preserved the famous victory. Iraq coach Vladimir Petrovic paid credit to Australia and was pleased with the efforts of a largely second-string young team. "I want to say well done to Australia for qualifying for the World Cup," he said. "We have young players that proved today that they can do the job. The luck wasnt with us." ' ' '

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