Bart Scott: Jets should start Michael Vick if they want to win now

Bart Scott talks to the media at the Bart Scott talks to the media at the Atlantic Health practice facility. (May 24, 2012) Photo Credit: Joe Epstein

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The Jets' quarterback decision is simple for Bart Scott.

"If you're trying to win now, it's Michael Vick," the former Jets linebacker said Monday at a CBS luncheon promoting the network's new Thursday night broadcasts for the 2014 season. "How could it not be?

"I think he's the best man for the job. Right now, he's far and away the better quarterback. He's been in this system before and he's flourished in it. He's Michael Vick. He's played at a very high level."

The Jets are expected to start second-year quarterback Geno Smith and keep Vick as a backup, possibly using him in a Wildcat package. But Scott believes the Jets should have had an open competition from the start, and may the better quarterback win. And it's not hard to figure out who that would have been, in Scott's mind.

"I think he's definitely the best," Scott said of Vick. "The only thing with Vick is staying healthy. It's a question of, are you trying to build for the future or are you trying to win now? If you're trying to win now, you go with Mike Vick. If you're trying to build for the future, you go with Geno Smith."

If the Jets go with Smith, as expected, Scott suggests they will have to use an approach similar to the one that Scott was a part of during the team's back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances in 2009-10.

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"They're going to have to lean heavily on that running game, play small ball and suck the air out of the clock," he said. "They're going to have to be more disciplined, not turn the ball over, eat the clock up and play good defense. They're going to have to get creative and give safety help to those corners until they know they're ready."

What corners? The Jets have seen four cornerbacks, including starters Dee Milliner and Dmitri Patterson, suffer injuries.

"The lack of depth at corner hurts a lot," Scott said. "The system will survive without stud corners, but it's going to be difficult. You don't want to have a corner issue going against Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, dealing with Peyton Manning and even Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford. You talk about teams that are loaded and deep at receiver, with dual-threat running backs and guys who can put four or five receivers out there. It's going to put a lot of pressure on that front seven to really get pressure with just seven to allow those corners to have help with the safeties."

Scott said one of those safeties, rookie Calvin Pryor, needs to be careful with the way he plays. Pryor missed some time in training camp with a concussion but returned for Saturday night's game against the Bengals.

"He has to really adjust his technique and use his shoulder more and learn," Scott said. "He's a bit of a launcher. He reminds me a lot of Bob Sanders. He's explosive and dynamic, but it's not always about making the big hit all the time. It's about making the smart one, securing the tackle. He's going to pay the price. When you're a big hitter, you hurt yourself and you hurt other people as well. It takes a toll on the tackler, too."

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