Next Pats: Orlovsky has some strong words about Mac's rookie season


Mac Jones continues to impress as the New England Patriots take a six-game win streak into Week 13.

The rookie quarterback set a new career-high with 310 passing yards in Sunday's 36-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans. With a 70.3 completion percentage, 2,850 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season, Jones has been the best first-year QB by a significant margin. He's currently the frontrunner for the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Patriots Talk: Have Pats proven they're the best team in the AFC?

Jones doesn't have the arm of Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson, nor does he have the speed of Trey Lance or Justin Fields. That's why he was the fifth QB selected in the 2021 NFL Draft and fell in the Patriots' lap at No. 15 overall. But as ESPN's Dan Orlovsky tells Phil Perry in a brand new episode of the Next Pats Podcast, Jones has set himself apart from his fellow rookies with an "elite" set of quarterbacking skills.

Next Pats Podcast: Dan Orlovsky: Mac Jones is showing off "ELITE" quarterbacking skills | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube

"Too many people, when we're watching quarterbacks, we look at them like we look at every other position in the NFL. When I'm drafting a defensive end, I want big, fast, strong, powerful, athletic. Same with a wide receiver. Like, that's the stuff I want," Orlovsky said. "It's the opposite with quarterbacks. I want you to think incredibly fast and process incredibly quickly and be able to check things off and keep an even keel temperament-wise and be an incredible leader and own the moments, and then I need you to be physically good."


All the things that are incredibly important about playing quarterback, I think he's elite at.

Dan Orlovsky on Mac Jones

Orlovsky adds that while Jones doesn't have the physical tools of say, a Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, he more than makes up for it with a mental skillset well beyond his years.

"The mental is way more important, but we don't care about that. We want the big, sexy, shiny kind of thing. That's just the reality of the position. If you can give me a guy like Patrick Mahomes who has the mental and the physical, awesome. Or a guy like Josh Allen who has a lot of the mental and a lot of the physical, awesome.

"But the two most important things in the history of this position that always have been, are, and always will be, how fast you think and how well you can throw. And I just felt like Mac, all the things that are incredibly important about playing quarterback, I think he's elite at. That's why all that stuff makes up for his inability physically if we want to phrase it that way."

Also discussed on the new episode: Orlovsky shares his thoughts on Jones and his ability to solve the “problem” of opposing defenses. Can Jones be the QB of a true contender this year? Orlovsky breaks down why the Colts may be the toughest matchup for the Patriots in the AFC, and Perry and Orlovsky preview next week’s Patriots-Bills game.

Check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube below: