Before NFL Network begins its Thursday night package next season, perhaps the league should distribute a Mike Mayock dictionary. A paperback version, preferably. Mayock, you see, has a language all his own.
To Mayock, a player isn’t slow. He’s “speed deficient.”
Frank Gore hits the hole hard, but Mayock prefers to say: “He’s a good point of insertion back.”
There are a lot of references to “discipline” in the Mayock dictionary, starting with “bad backside discipline.” When an Indianapolis cornerback committed pass interference against a Jacksonville receiver, Mayock blurted: “That’s called bad eye discipline!”
Mayock also noted that a Jaguars receiver “ran a jerk route where you present your numbers to the quarterback.” What are the odds most of his audience understood that?
Mayock mentioned that all a Jaguars lineman “had to do was hold his water and block.” Huh?
Mayock sometimes speaks of a “leveraged linebacker” when it would be a lot simpler to say a linebacker in pass coverage. He said Colts CB Darius Butler “squatted on the route” when “sat on the route” would suffice.
Actually, there’s a lot to like about Mayock. Because he knows so many of these players intimately as a draft expert, he offers a perspective and depth of knowledge about young players that no other NFL analyst can offer.
We like how he gets feisty at times. “Every rule change in the history of the league benefits the offense, and I’m getting tired of it!” he said.
But Mayock needs to stop using jargon that leaves his audience confused.
AROUND THE DIAL
• Former Bears coach Mike Ditka, 73, said he will soon return to ESPN after suffering a “minor stroke” last week. He was released from the hospital over the weekend.
• Not sure why there was such furor when CBS’ Phil Simms said recently that he doesn’t consider Eli Manning an elite quarterback. The man, after all, is paid to give his opinion. More surprising was Simms not including Drew Brees in that group. Simms listed only Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers as elite.
“Eli’s on his way to a Hall of Fame career,” Simms said. “It’s no disrespect at all. I was defining elite in how those three stand out.”
• Best zinger of the season: When ESPN’s Ron Jaworski — making a guest appearance on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” — told Simms that one of his tips “may help your broadcast,” Simms shot back: “At least I’m still doing broadcasts!” Jaworski, you’ll recall, was removed from ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” booth this past offseason.
• Tackiest moment: ESPN inadvertently aired audio of Rick Reilly asking Stuart Scott to give him credit, on air, for his report on Ben Roethlisberger’s Week 10 injury. Reilly, earning $17 million in a multiyear contract, should be above that nonsense.
• Behind the ball: Minutes after Fox’s Jay Glazer reported the NFL had given the Saints written permission to negotiate a new deal with Sean Payton, CBS’ Jason La Canfora — unaware of that — said New Orleans won’t negotiate with Payton until the league grants written permission. Such are the perils of competing with Glazer, whose Saints sources are impeccable.
• Another odd “information-man moment”: While ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter were reporting Sunday that Steelers doctors believe Roethlisberger will miss three weeks, Glazer was saying that anyone who tells you how much time he will be out doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Barry Jackson covers sports media for the Miami Herald and Pro Football Weekly.