Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 NFC East Champions: Pleasant Surprise

The Washington Redskins surprised the football world by winning the NFC East.  When the season began I made a decision to limit my social media comments and let the season play out.  Like most fans, I was frustrated with the constant drama surrounding the team.  The most exciting offseason move the team made was hiring general manager Scot McCloughan.  Fans of other teams did not understand why there was so much excitement about the hire.  

I’ve viewed the ‘Skins as an organization that would have a hard time landing a top coach or executive with options.  The only reason they were able to hire McCloughan is because he had some issues in his personal life and other teams strayed from him.  Since Dan Snyder has owned the team the checks and balances in the football operation have not been in place.  We wanted to see how football decisions were made.  The less buzz about them the better.  The decision to make Kirk Cousins the starter generated a variety of responses.   I took issue with how the organization handled and communicated the decision, but agreed it was the correct one. 

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The dysfunction of the past helped the organization this season.   In the 2012 draft the ‘Skins did something which is almost unprecedented.  The quarterback position had to be addressed.  The team mortgaged future picks to draft Robert Griffin III and in the fourth round drafted Kirk Cousins.  Both of these quarterback were considered to be future starting quarterbacks.  Why would they draft two highly touted quarterbacks in the same draft? My thoughts were that former coach Mike Shanahan wasn’t crazy about Griffin, that was the owner's preference.  Cousins fit more of the mold of what he wanted in a quarterback in a rare deep draft for the position and would be a safety net if Griffin did not pan out.  Griffin did not have a playbook in college and his learning curve would be longer when there were other options.

After Griffin’s knee injury at the end of 2012 and what has took place after is well documented.  My biggest issue with Shanahan and current coach Jay Gruden’s handling of Griffin is how public they were with their frustration with him.  Their issues with him as a football player have merit.  But I can’t recall a quarterback publicly being reprimanded by a former and current coach as much as Griffin was.  As a fan there are certain things we should not know even with all the access we love to have.  A head coach is the spokesperson for the team and should keep certain things in house and protect their players.  But when an organization forces a player on a coach when they have made it clear how they feel about them, the player will get the short end regardless if the reasons are justified are not.  It usually doesn't end well, this was no exception.

Players are not easily fooled.  They're in meetings and on the practice field and witness who is playing better and have feelings of who should be on the field and who should not.  When the New England Patriots practiced with the 'Skins during the 2014 preseason many Patriots players and staff walked away more impressed with Cousins than Griffin from the perspective of running the offense, fine-tuned mechanics and how decisively the ball came out of his hand.

Griffin and Cousins were put in a difficult situation from day one.  If Griffin ever struggled there would be temptation to go to Cousins.  When Cousins played his first three years he knew he was just keeping the seat warm for Griffin.  There was probably some mutual insecurity.   With both quarterbacks entering their contract year head coach Jay Gruden made a decision to go with Cousins and demote Griffin to third string, meaning he would be inactive and not dress for games.

Cousins has improved as the season progressed.  It has been refreshing to see how the offseason acquisitions through the draft and free agency have contributed to the team.  Also, new hires on the coaching staff with a new offensive line coach, quarterback coach, and entire defensive coaching staff.  

So excuse us ‘Skins fans for our excitement.   We have witnessed foolishness for a long time.  It appears to be some order to running the team.   It is only one season and another game vs. Dallas before the playoffs.  In the the NFL things can change quickly week to week and year to year.  I just hope they stay the course through the good and bad in the future.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What Happened When I Cooked All Of My Meals For 30 Days

At the beginning of the year I was recovering from a stomach virus and lost 12 pounds.  I worked diligently to return to my previous weight.  It took approximately two months.  Later in the year I decided I wanted to put on eight more pounds.  That would require me increasing my macros and calories to reach that goal.  I consumed more “cheat” meals during the week that were high in calories.  After a couple of months, mission accomplished.  When attempting to gain weight in many instances will also lead to an increase in fat when consuming some of the foods that were in my diet such as pizzas, hamburgers, and milk shakes to reach my goal of calories.  I was tracking my meals in an app and it was working.

Sample Meal: Chicken, shrimp, brown rice and mixed vegetables
After reaching my weight goal I didn’t appear as lean as I would have liked, so I decided to do something that I’ve never done before and that was to prepare all of my meals for 30 days and limit myself to eating out three times per week.  With my schedule I found myself purchasing lunch and dinner sometimes simply because I was on the go!  When any type of restaurant prepares food it is impossible to know all of the ingredients and the quality.  Grilled meat and vegetables can be of a poor quality and high in sodium.

According to a January 2013 Wall Street Journal Report, American adults eat in restaurants an average of five times a week—which means they probably eat way too much salt.  Salt is indispensable in restaurant kitchens beyond just how it makes food taste. It extends the shelf life of prepared foods, prevents bitterness in produce and encourages binding in breads, says Joy Dubost, director of nutrition at the National Restaurant Association, a Washington, D.C., industry group. Replacing salt with alternative preparations or seasonings, such as herbs, will almost always end up costing more.

My diet is based around balanced meals consisting of lean proteins, nutrient-rich, low-glycemic carbs, and generous portions of healthy fats.  I wasn’t going to document macros or calories this time around.  My favorite sources of lean protein are chicken breast, 98 percent or leaner ground beef, turkey, fish, steak and quality protein supplements of whey and casein protein.

It is important to find the right balance of carbs.  Carbohydrates are fuel, they give working muscles the energy to do their job and maximize training sessions.  My carbs come from high-fiber, high-nutrient foods. I include plenty of sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and brown rice, among others.  For example, pre-workout I would consume a whey protein shake that included carrots,  1/2 banana, 1/2 orange, 1/4 cup of rolled oates, and 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk.  Healthy fats would compromise olive oil when cooking and almonds for snacks.

I purchased and prepared foods in bulk.  I would cook on Sundays and then a smaller portion on Thursdays to get me through the weekend.  The meals were not bland and had plenty of flavor.  I baked, grilled, or sauteed all of my meats.  Vegetables were steamed or sauteed to preserve the nutrients.  After a week I noticed an increase in energy, after two weeks my palate changed.  I purchased a meal at a restaurant within my three meal weekly limit and didn’t want to finish it because I could taste the salt and quality of the meat and vegetables.   I didn’t get an upset stomach, but it did digest differently.   As I continued through the process I didn’t have a desire to eat food other than meals I cooked or someone else prepared at their home.

After the 30 days I stepped on the scale and weighed the same.  I appeared leaner and had more energy, developed a habit that I plan to continue, and saved money!  The time set aside to prepare my meals saved me time during the week and I learned new recipes along the way.  Eating healthy can be a process you enjoy.

Jamaal Piper
Health and Wellness Consultant/Personal Trainer

Thursday, October 8, 2015

It Starts With Preparation

In my last blog I discussed how we need to take control of our health.  The responsibilities of life can make that difficult.  Bad habits get engrained and it is difficult to visualize how things can get better.  Below are practical tools that will help you take control of your health and have a more active lifestyle.

Prepare Meals In Bulk

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At the beginning of the week (Sunday or Monday) set 1-2 hours aside and prepare your meals for the week.  Cooking in bulk will help you will save not only your health from avoiding all those questionable and unknown ingredients eating out.  Save you time from cooking throughout the week.  It keeps you on track with your health goals regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish.  Have plenty of tupperware and ziploc bags handy for storage to assist with organizing meals.

Here is an example:

Breakfast:  Smoothies with fruit, raw vegetables, fruit, and rolled oates.
Lunch/Dinner:  Kale or mixed green salad with fish or meat or grilled/baked meat with brown rice/sweet potatoes and vegetables.
Snacks:  Avacado, almonds, trail mix, granola and yogurt, carrots, crackers, fresh fruits and/or vegetables, .

Use an app that can track your meals and adjust your intake to your activity level and goals.

Exercise Should Be Convenient

As I’ve stated on many occasions exercise location should be convenient to your home and/or office.  If your schedule makes it difficult to get to the gym there are plenty of options at home with or without equipment.  Body weight and cardio exercises can easily be done at home such as push-ups, squats, and crunches.  Resistance bands, dumbbells, and suspension trainers can give you challenging resistance exercises that rival sophisticated gym equipment.  If you can not get to a gym have what you need at home.  There are fitness channels, apps, dvds, and many other sources of workouts designed for your home.

Consult A Health and Wellness Professional

If you have questions regarding how to go about reaching your goals get help!  It can be very frustrating to have the best intentions, but not eating and/or exercising properly to reach them.  You need to have a plan.  Professionals in the health and wellness industry will be a great asset to design one for you and teach you to properly use the resources at your disposal.

Jamaal Piper
Health and Wellness Consultant/Personal Trainer

Monday, September 21, 2015

Your Health Is In Your Hands

There are many things in life that we do not have control over.  Circumstances beyond our control can cause stress, heartache, financial setback, loss, and many other things.  You can have the best intentions and put forth the best effort and still not reach a desired outcome.  The difference with health and physical appearance is that those same efforts can lead to a desirable result if the work, discipline and consistency is applied.  

Health issues regardless of what caused them can make achieving optimal health and pleasure with physical appearance challenging.  This blog is not speaking to a person under those circumstances.  If you are in relatively good health and do not have surmountable physical challenges the only thing standing in the way is you!

According to Women’s Marketing, the next trillion dollar industry globally is the Health & Wellness market space.  It is dominated mostly by beauty and anti-aging product sales at $679 billion, followed by fitness and mind + body exercise ($390 billion) and health eating, nutrition and weight loss sales ($277 billion).  It is great to see our society become more health conscious, but they are many still struggling.

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Stop blaming work, being busy, children, access to a gym, or anything else you contribute to getting in your way.  I feel confident saying that because I’ve witnessed and worked with people and wondered how do they do it?  With all the demands on their life they still find a way.  The reason they are able to do that is because they decided to make their health a priority without compromising their responsibilities and other goals.  

In the age of social media people share many aspects of their lives.  That goes for fitness enthusiasts as well.  There are great stories of transformations, what you don’t see is the work and discipline.  One key difference between discipline and consistency is our will or desire. It is easy to be consistent with something you have a great desire for.  If you love to read books, it takes little effort to set time aside to read. Discipline requires consistency but discipline is more than being consistent. Discipline is a bending and training of our wills and desires through doing things that aren’t already second nature.   Until you adopt a healthy lifestyle for an extended period time and can appreciate the results, it won’t become second nature.

Do you look in the mirror with displeasure?  Is your doctor telling you to improve your diet and be more active?  Is the continuous frustration stopping you from getting motivated?  You can’t get it all one day, but what you can do is start the process.  Have a vision of your health and wellness goals. Everything you eat and activity or inactivity will bring you closer to that goal or will leave you stagnant or cause a setback.  If you do not know where to start, seek a professional to help establish a plan.  How you can fit exercise into your schedule.  How to meal prep so you have healthy foods accessible that fit into your budget.  It can be done, the question is are you willing to do what it takes?

Next week I will give practical tools to meal prep and exercise regardless of schedule or gym access.

Jamaal Piper
Health and Wellness Consultant

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

In Order To Lose Weight You Need To Eat!

We live in a society with unhealthy food choices at our disposal.   According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.  The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008, the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
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What causes weight gain and lack of progress for those who are eating healthy foods and exercising consistently is a lack of calories and appropriate macronutrients.  I have had experiences with clients and friends and family who ask for advice who are diligent, but when we discuss their nutrition the problem is not overeating, it becomes evident that there is a lack of calories and nutrients in their diet.

When someone restricts their caloric intake for an extended period of time, malnutrition can occur.   An increase in activity will equate to an increased appetite.  What you eat and how much is the key. Not only is severely restricting calories not sustainable -- you're bound to fall off the wagon and return to your old eating habits -- but it also causes your body to destroy muscle tissue.   

For example, if you’re consuming less than 1,000 calories a day, a piece of fruit for breakfast, and having have a salad for lunch with some lean meat, and a small dinner that is not a sufficient amount of food.

There is some debate as to how large of a calorie deficit one should have in a fat loss program. In theory a 500 daily calorie deficit equals 1 pound of fat loss per week, and a 1,000 calorie deficit equals 2 pounds of fat loss per week.

The Huffington Post reported a study that young female athletes are not consuming enough calories.  According to the National Eating Disorder Association, one-third of female athletes "reported attitudes and symptoms placing them at risk for anorexia nervosa," and adolescent girls are at the most risk for facing long-term consequences because of the biological changes and growth spurts going on during their teen years. 

Excessive carbohydrate consumption can cause wild blood sugar swings, you might be surprised to learn that inadequate calorie consumption can cause just as many issues with blood sugar control. The most common issue that comes from chronic under-eating is hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Attempting to lose weight does not mean stop eating.  If you are in the habit of skipping meals, or not eating nearly enough, understand eating more of the right foods helps increase your metabolism. The key is to find balance between exercising and healthy eating, while tracking your food and exercise progress to see what works for you and make the necessary adjustments.  

Jamaal Piper
Health and Wellness Consultant/Certified Personal Trainer

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Irving Must Build His Foundation

The NBA Finals will resume this evening without one of its brightest stars Kyrie Irving due to a fractured knee cap suffered in Game One.  Irving is one of the most exciting point guards in the NBA.  I recall watching him as a high school senior during a televised game on ESPN and within minutes I knew he was going to be a special player in the NBA.  The same thoughts in only 11 games he played at Duke University due to a tore ligament in his right toe.

During his NBA career he has suffered many injuries including a concussion, sprained right shoulder, broken hand, broken index finger, fractured jaw, hyperextended knee, sprained left shoulder, right nasal fracture, bruised knee, and this season foot and knee issues that finally led to a fractured knee cap in Game One of the NBA Finals.

Why would a player such as Kyrie Irving be so injury prone?  Bad luck? Poor conditioning?  They are both fair questions.  As a personal trainer and sports fan I have a few observations that contribute to Irving’s injuries and how he can address them.

Irving is listed at 6’3”, 193 lbs.  Looking at his frame he is very lean that is not muscular.  Basketball players are guilty of straying away from strength training in fear it will diminish their quickness and accuracy of their shooting.  I do not know if that is the case with Irving, but with the history of injuries and physical appearance I strongly believe he falls into that category.

Strengthening your core, legs and hips are essential for a basketball players strength and conditioning.   A player’s arms are constantly overhead, which requires the shoulders to work. A player extending their arms on the offensive or defensive end will result in a foul being called.  In order to hold position a player must use their core, legs and hips.

The opposing point guard in these NBA Finals, the Warriors Stephen Curry is listed at 6’3”, 190 lbs.   Early in his career Curry had continuous issues with his ankles.  Curry played just 26 games in 2011-12 because of ankle problems.  But he played 80 games this season. He missed one game because of a sore ankle in February and another for rest.

The Warriors' director of athletic performance, Keke Lyles, a leading expert in injury prevention and maximizing body potential through the use of cutting-edge technology like STATS LLC's SportVU cameras and Catapult Sports' GPS accelerometers to track movement has worked with Curry to improve his core and leg strength.

According to James Hebert of CBS Sports, Lyles stated that Curry can deadlift 400 lbs.  "Steph's the second strongest on our team pulling that one," Lyles says with a straight face. "For his size, Steph is ridiculous strong."  Deadlifts are a powerful compound exercise that engage the entire body, especially the core, glutes, and hamstrings.

"His ability to control his body in space is unlike anyone I've seen," Lyles says. "He's super quick, but the whole time he's in total control. He's doing such high-speed movements, accels, decels -- and he's in total control."

Michael Jordan had to reevaluate his training after beating physically pounded by the Detroit Pistons in three consecutive playoff series defeats (1988-90).  Jordan entrusted a 25 year old trainer who did not have previous experience working with professional athletes in Tim Grover.  As the saying goes...the rest is history.

Grover focused on improving Jordan’s core strength.  "Many athletes do hundreds of crunches and neglect their oblique and erector muscles," Grover said. "Injury can occur if any part of the core is weak."

Basketball is not a game focused on measurables such as 40 yard dash times and vertical leaps.   More focus is on repeated explosive movements in multiple directions.  In Irving’s case his offseason will be focused on rehabilitation for 3-4 months.  I hope he solicits the help of a trainer that will build and strengthen his body for the rigors of a NBA season.  He’s an exceptional talent and with LeBron James will be contending for championships for several seasons, if he can stay healthy.

Jamaal Piper
Health and Wellness Consultant/Certified Personal Trainer

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Improve Your Posture

Whether you are sitting behind a desk for 8-9 hours/day or on your feet.  The stress of everyday activities over an extended period of time can impact your posture.  Years of neglecting strength training can contribute to bad posture as muscles deteriorate.  The best way to improve your posture is to focus on exercises that strengthen your core -- the abdominal and low back muscles that connect to your spine and pelvis.  Over time, poor posture takes a toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, and knees. In fact, it can cause a multitude of structural flaws that result in acute problems, such as joint pain throughout your body, reduced flexibility, and compromised muscles, all of which can limit your ability to burn fat and build strength. 

About 80 percent of adults experiences back pain during their lives, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While your workout can help strengthen your core and relieve back soreness, it may also be the culprit behind the pain if exercises are not performed properly.

"Poor low back posture while lifting can put undue stress on your spine, landing you on the disabled list over time," says BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S.

A combination of stretches and exercises can improve your posture.  Here are few examples:

 Strength Exercises

Good Morning

Position barbell on back of shoulders and grasp bar to sides.   Keeping back straight, bend hips to lower torso forward until parallel to floor. Raise torso until hips are extended. Repeat.


Most physical activities that do not require standing demand that you perform a squat.    Squats are usually deemed a leg exercise, but they also recruit many other muscles, including your lower back, abdominals, oblique’s and upper back -- the muscles responsible for maintaining good posture. While squats are a highly effective strength and muscle builder, they shouldn't be underestimated as a way of strengthening your lower back and improving posture.

If you’re unsure about your form when performing a squat setup a box or bench behind you.  When performing the squat sit briefly on the bench or box in each rep. Focus on keeping your lower back straight and pulling your shoulder blades back to maintain your lower back position and good upper back posture.


The deadlift works most of the muscles in the legs, lower back and core. It's most commonly associated with building strength and power, but according to, performing the deadlift correctly strengthens the spine, which can improve posture.

Put a barbell in front of you on the ground and grab it using a grip that is a little wider than shoulder width.  Bend the knees slightly and keep the shins vertical, hips back and back straight. This will be your starting position.  Keeping your back and arms completely straight at all times, use your hips to lift the bar as you exhale.   Once you are standing completely straight up, lower the bar by pushing the hips back, only slightly bending the knees, unlike when squatting.


Wall Stretch

Stand with your back against a wall with your feet a couple of feet in front of you and lean back. Try to touch your shoulders, back and butt to the wall simultaneously before slowly tilting your head back to touch the wall as well. If you have poor posture, it will be difficult or impossible to do this, so just go as far as you can and hold it for 30 seconds if you are able.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Standing straight with hands on your hips; step forward with your right foot and slowly bend the knees while keeping your back straight.  You should feel the stretch in your hips after a few seconds. Hold for 5-10 seconds before returning to the starting point and repeat with the opposite leg.  

Remember that a little goes a long way when performing this move. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to work the hip flexors, so go easy when stretching here or you could injure yourself.

Upwards Pelvic Thrust

This is a great exercise for stretching your hips, glutes and hamstrings, as well as your core muscles.
Lie on your back with your legs together and bent upwards at 90 degrees. Keep your arms at your sides and palms facing the floor.  Slowly begin to raise your butt up off the floor until you are forming a straight line with your body from your shoulders down to your knees. Hold this position just for a couple of seconds before returning to the start. Repeat this as many times as you can.
It is important to keep good form during this exercise. Make sure that you keep your head and neck still by not lifting the back of your head off of the floor and focusing on a spot on the ceiling.

Jamaal Piper
Health and Wellness Consultant/Personal Trainer

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Now Is The Best Time To Join A Gym

Gym and fitness center memberships are as competitive as they have ever been.   Living in the Washington, DC area and being a fitness professional I frequently see signs of low prices to join gyms and construction and/or renovations of facilities.   This is a good time to take advantage of the competitive pricing.  There has been a growing concern about the obesity epidemic.  There has been an invested by government and the private sector into the health and wellness industry.  The recession of 2009 spearheaded growth in the industry as well.   People ran to exercise to deal with the address and the industry capitalized on it.
For example, there are six gyms within four miles of my home.   One of them is considered a high-end chain and recently they have posters on buses, trains, and all over town dropping their monthly membership to $19.95/month.  In the past their rates have been over $70/month.  They are competing with gyms that do not have the same offerings, but have a more competitive price.  

Organizations are implementing more Wellness Programs for more staff camaraderie, greater productivity, and less absenteeism.   This includes having a fitness center onsite or offering discounted memberships to a commercial gym.   A study released in April 2012 by ADP, Inc., a provider of human resource management, payroll, and benefit administration services, reported that 79 percent of large and 44 percent of midsized companies offer wellness programs.

According to Andrew Weber an Analyst for the fitness center industry started coming into its own in the 1970s and 1980s, when exercise, led by running and aerobics, became popular. Membership rose throughout the 1990s, and the 2000s were a period of enormous growth for fitness centers. There were 16,938 clubs at the beginning of the decade, and that number grew to 29,636 by January 2008.  41 million Americans are members of a health club, and just about half of belong to a commercial health club, with the rest divided between non-profit clubs like the YMCA and miscellaneous for-profit clubs such as corporate clubs, country clubs or spas.

Gyms such as Planet Fitness and Retro Fitness capitalized on the recession.  RetroFitness, a New Jersey-based fitness franchise, charges its members just $19.99 per month. Featuring brightly hued equipment and checkered floors, the gyms also come with RetroTheaters where members can exercise while watching such 1980s movies.

“The unfortunate recession has been a blessing in disguise,” said Eric Casaburi, CEO and founder of RetroFitness in 2011. “Before this market we wouldn't have touched New York City [and its rents] with a 10-foot pole. We can now get our hands around it.”

Planet Fitness does not keep it a secret regarding their target market.  McCall Gosselin, the company’s director of public relations stated to Men’s Health in 2013, “Our clubs don’t have equipment like squat racks and Olympic benches. Our dumbbells only go up to 80 pounds.” 

The chain tripled in size over a five-year period, from 242 clubs to more than 750 by the end of 2013. They’re in 47 states and Puerto Rico, with more than 4.5 million members. Gosselin was candid about why it works: “The gym industry was built on bodybuilders, people who work out multiple times a week. Planet Fitness was founded as a place for the other 85 percent.”

With over 80% of gym goers not looking to lift heavy weights and go to the squat rack of bench press other gyms have adapted their marketing and examined what they are offering.  

What should you look for in a gym?

Convenience:  Traveling to your gym should be as little of a hindrance as possible.  Your gym should be located near your home and/or place of employment.  These are the two places you most likely spend the most time.

Atmosphere and Amenities:  Gyms have different cultures and have a target audience.   Certain gyms offer more than just the basics of equipments and personal trainers on staff.  Extras like a pool, massage therapist, or onsite nutritionist can help you get more out of your training sessions. Pools and hot tubs have a therapeutic effect on muscles.  Larger gyms may have yoga studios, boxing rings, cycling rooms, and so on. But smaller gyms tend to have a more sense of community and can act as private training centers, which some find more comfortable.  Choose a gym that has equipment and amenities that fit your training and interest.

Price:  Memberships can fit into your budget.  They are as low as $10/month.  Recreations Centers can be even less per month, but some of them do not have ample equipment in my opinion.   Visit a your local Recreation Center if you’re considering it as an option.  Know the gym’s cancellation policy and the specifics of your membership contract, including how to opt out. 

Take all of these factors into consideration before joining the gym.   Take advantage of the great pricing that is currently being offered.  Visit several gyms that are convenient before joining and don’t be hesitant to negotiate your memberships dues.

Jamaal Piper
Health and Wellness Consultant/Personal Trainer 

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Season Review and Playoffs Preview

This NFL season was one of the most interesting I can remember as football fan.  It had more to do with issues that took place off the field than on it.  When the Ray Rice inside the elevator video went viral and NFL’s Commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the matter became under more scrutiny domestic violence turned into a national conversation.   It was the same with the photos of the bruises on Adrian Peterson’s son regarding child discipline.

I have been on record of not being too keen on Roger Goodell.  He was handed the keys to a Ferrari and told don’t crash it.  He technically works for the owners and my observations of these recent developments are that the NFL owners are saving him from himself.  The announcement of more checks and balances in reference to player discipline and investigation is long overdue.  It took these embarrassments for them to get to this point.  It lends more credibility to the process and decisions after they are rendered.  In the meantime he’ll be the face and voice and be managed and protected in the background.  It doesn’t look good for the league and owners to run him out.

It was  another season inept play on the field for my beloved Washington Redskins and RG3 drama…again!  This franchise has been mediocre during the free agency era of the NFL, almost 20 years.  The sad part is I don’t see things improving anytime soon.  I wasn’t as hard on Jay Gruden as other fans.  He seemed a bit overwhelmed at times and I wouldn’t be surprised if the organization was more dysfunctional than he realized as a major contributor.

Griffin’s ability to evolve into the effective quarterback is a major concern.  I hope he takes the offseason to work on his craft and return to the team.  It will be the last year of his contract.  I am rooting for him to do well.  The more I watch him play it appears he doesn’t have the nuances of the position down that are usually innate.  Everything is not coachable, and “feel’ for the game is one of them.  The team has plenty of other issues besides the quarterback position.  The roster doesn’t appear to be talented, point blank!  We’ll just have to buckle up for another eventful offseason in Washington, they don’t know how to do it any other way.

The regular season did not have too many surprises.   San Francisco was due for a let down after three straight NFC Title Game appearances and key injuries and suspensions on defense.  As long as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Andrew Luck are playing quarterback for their respective teams they are a lock for the playoffs.  In my preseason blog I predicted five (Bal, Cincy, Den, Indy, & NE) out of the six AFC playoff participants and three (AZ, GB, & Sea)  in the NFC. 

I stated then that I would have to see games before I could talk Super Bowl.  I am going with The New England Patriots vs.  Seattle Seahawks with New England winning Super Bowl XLIX.  Those two teams having home field advantage are difference makers for me.  I am a big Peyton Manning fan, I just don’t have the confidence of him beating New England on the road in a playoff game.  Seattle is in a nice groove and should hold serve.  Dallas and Green Bay have the best chance to upend them.  Dallas beat them earlier in the season and Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers, enough said.