Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Andy Barch Interview
Frequent VZ contributor Andy Barch, the voice of the West Virginia Power and one of the made men over at the Pigskin Podcast (check it out, by the way, you'll thank me)sits down for an interview about the wild and sometimes tragic NFL offseason.

ZB: Steve McNair, Dante Stallworth, the Minnesota Steroid story, Burris ... is this the worst NFL offseason you remember?

AB: This has been an awful offseason, the problem is, it doesnt seem like these offseasons ever get any better. There will always be individuals who have problems, and these situations will continue to pop up. The steroid story doesnt bother me as much as the other two. When you're dealing with death, you enter a completely different dimension, that's why this offseason will have a bigger black eye than some of the others.

The McNair story is very sad, regardless of the guy's preference to carry on multiple relationships, I feel awful for his wife and kids who are left behind only to wonder. As for Stallworth, look, the guy made a huge mistake and we will make what we will of his penalty, but the guy has to live with this the rest of his life, and that is something he will always feel guilty about and never be able to live down, therefore, he'll be punished and ridiculed the rest of his life.

So having said all of that, this indeed has been one of the worst off the field off seasons in years.

ZB: I know you are a big Green Bay fan. Why is Brett Favre probably returning to the Vikings? Will it hurt his legacy in Green Bay?

AB: I think Favre still hates Ted Thompson and the way he handled the situation last year. Favre needs to make up his mind. He's like a groom with cold feet on wedding day, either crap or get off the pot. That's a problem Minnesota must deal with right now. It's not fair to that organization what he's doing right now. His legacy won't be completely tarnished in Green Bay, but it will ruin his image quite a bit because last year people were willing to forgive him for wanting to come back, but now he wants to come back to Lambeau as the enemy, and cheeseheads do not like that.

People in Green Bay have learned to hate the Vikings more than the Bears, which is impressive. It's also why people will turn on him quickly if he comes back.

ZB: From the Vikings' perspective, isn't getting Favre a roll of the dice? How much does he have left?

AB: Absolutely it's a roll of the dice, Rosenfels and Jackson were competing against each other, but now, they may be competing for the backup role. It's a roll of the dice because he's still not 100 percent sure if he wants to come back, and even if he returns, how can you be sure he's in it 100 percent given his indecisiveness over the years? That team had to replace Matt Birk in the off season, and that will be a big challege in itself, having to figure out who will be under center and learning his style will also be a challenge, so yes, it is indeed a roll of the dice.

ZB: Matt Cassell got a big contract from KC. Is he ready to be a franchise guy, and did it make sense for the Chiefs to pay him like one?

AB: Cassel reaks of Scott Mitchell to me. I think he played in a great system in New England, but who knows whats in store in Kansas City where there appear to be more questions than answers. What is Larry Johnson going to do? Who is his security blanket now that Gonzalez is gone? Can he keep Dwayne Bowe happy? I think they would have been fine with the kid they had last year who took some serious steps forward toward the end of last year. That contract was a bit premature, but who knows, maybe he will shine in his first chance to be the face of a franchise.

5. Which of the head coaches will have the toughest time as training camps get rolling?

I believe Marvin Lewis will have a very difficult time juggling Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson. There is another team with more questions than answers. He's been on the hot seat for a very long time, and it sure seems like that situation is getting ready to pop like a frog on a hot plate. They havent done a ton this offseason to show me that they've significantly improved, so Marvin Lewis has to be one.

Rex Ryan (who I like) has ran his mouth quite a bit, and there is a lot of pressure on him to put his money where his mouth is, though I think that team will be fine. Ken Whisenhunt has endured a lot with the contract situation of Boldin, the loss of two coordinators, and of course he's trying to avoid the curse that has plagued the last few Super Bowl losers. There will be a little pressure in the desert as well to try and get those guys to return to form from one year ago.



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