Did Billy Packer actually make sense?


Did Billy Packer actually make sense?

By Mary Paoletti

I'm in a weird situation.

Normally, I know exactly where I stand with Billy Packer: I think he's a racist, sexist, homophobic jerk.

Every time I watched March Madness coverage on CBS I imagined him taking swallows off a bottle of scotch and chain smoking.

Remember this drunken trainwreck of analysis?

What? How? Listening to that makes me want to rip my face off. Deadspin's summation is perfect:

Of all the "Sweet Christ, Billy Packer is so full of equine excrement" moments, we have to say, the "Just Going For The Ball!" foul from Gerald Henderson on Tyler Hansbrough at the end of the Duke-UNC game is definitely near the top of the list.

Getting rid of Billy Packer was one of the best things CBS ever did. And I'm including the War of the Worlds broadcast and the decision to make the M.A.S.H. finale 2.5 hours long in that list.

But I might be on his side today.

Charles Barkley called Packer a jackass during halftime of Thursday's MavericksKnicks game. This much is true. The reasoning is where Sir Charles and I part ways. See, Chuck is mad because Packer said he and Steve Kerr won't be a good fit for NCAA tournament analysis.

And boom goes the backlash.

We might not be very good and know all the players on all the teams in college basketball. Barkley said. I don't know any players on Wofford or UNC Asheville. You are absolutely right. But stop being a jackass.

Listen, we're going to do a good job. And I know you said they should have went to ESPN. Well, there was one problem. ESPN didn't have 11 billion dollars. We did. That's why we got it. So sit back, enjoy the March Madness with Greg Gumbel, Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and all of us. And shut the hell up.


Oh, wait. I'm on Billy's side.

Barkley basically says that the better "man" didn't get the job, the richer "man" did. Somewhere, in the walk-in closet of suits that is ESPN, there's a guy who knows every player on Wofford and UNC Asheville. And he's not a weirdo like The Schwab, he's simply sacrificed any chance he has at a normal human relationship to devote himself to the SoCon, which is awesome. Plus, this guy lives in the WWL's closet so he's got that trademark voice and smile and hair -- all the broadcasting must-haves.

What I don't want is for No. 15 Wofford to stage an historic upset over No. 2 UNC, and when we cut the studio for a halftime breakdown, we just see Steve Kerr screaming


while Barkley gets down.

Maybe it won't be that bad. It's comforting to know that Packer was almost always wrong in the past.


Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions


Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions

The Patriots acquired Kyle Van Noy, who was the Lions’ 2014 second-round pick and starting linebacker this season, on Tuesday. 

Why former Pats executive Bob Quinn would send a starter East for what is reportedly just a conditional draft pick is something we’ll try to ferret out.

The Patriots were no doubt interested because they lost Jonathan Freeny to IR with an injury, rookie Elandon Roberts is an undersized thumper (Van Noy is 6-3, 252) and Shea McClellin is well, just… there so far.

Van Noy has two years remaining on his rookie deal so -- provided he shows something -- he could be around awhile. The move -- one week before the trade deadline -- is a familiar one from the Patriots who added players like Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers in 2014 prior to their Super Bowl run.

This story from last season indicates that Van Noy’s lack of production in his first two seasons with the Lions was merely a matter of circumstance. 

Perhaps. We’ll find out soon enough. Meanwhile, the name Van Noy made me perk up because I remembered him as having a central role in the excellent book The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian.

Read the excerpt on Van Noy here. It will give you a better understanding of the road he’s traveled.

Report: Patriots trade for Lions LB Kyle Van Noy


Report: Patriots trade for Lions LB Kyle Van Noy

The Patriots have added more depth at linebacker, and they've reached out to an old friend to do it.

According to ESPN, the team has agreed to a deal with the Lions in order to acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy. The compensation has not yet been disclosed. 

Van Noy, who was a second-round pick out of BYU, is listed at 6-foot-3, 243 pounds. He played 36 snaps in Detroit's win over Washington on Sunday, recording two tackles.

The Patriots lost depth at linebacker when veteran Jonathan Freeny landed on injured reserve with a shoulder issue before New England's Week 6 game in Cleveland. Van Noy will fill in behind Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, providing insurance alongside rookie Elandon Roberts, Barkevious Mingo and Shea McClellin. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich has also seen time at linebacker this season. 

Collins and Hightower have both dealt with health issues over the last two seasons, often pressing reserves into action. Collins returned to the field over the weekend after missing Week 6 with a hip issue. Hightower missed Weeks 2 and 3 due to a knee injury he suffered in Week 1 against the Cardinals. 

Van Noy has played in 30 games since entering the league. His seven career starts have all come this season. He has 32 career tackles and one sack. Going into the draft in 2014, the All-Independent Defensive Player of the Year was viewed as a stand-out athlete with good quickness, a high football IQ and an ability to run with backs and tight ends in coverage. 

That the Patriots and Lions were able to work out a deal comes as little surprise. Detriot general manager Bob Quinn has a close relationship with Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio as he worked in New England from 2000-2015. Quinn began with the team as a personnel assistant, worked his way up the ladder, and from 2012 through 2015 he served as the director of pro scouting.