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Namath says Vick should start for Jets

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 14 2014 11:49:09 AM CDT
Updated On: May 14 2014 01:44:43 PM CDT
Michael Vick

Tim Shaffer/Reuters

Joe Namath said he expects Michael Vick to be the New York Jets' opening-day quarterback, but he needs to be healthy this season.

The Hall of Famer and former New York Jets great said Vick is a better option than incumbent Geno Smith and will give the Jets a better chance at success in 2014.

"Of course, the coaches are going to decide who's out there, but, boy, I don't know any football fan that's been around for nine or 10 years that doesn't think Michael will be outstanding and probably is the best player at this time," Namath said Tuesday night at the United Way's annual Gridiron Gala in Manhattan, according to ESPN.com

"If Mike's healthy, I think he's the better player at this point," Namath said. "Now, Geno's got some talent, no doubt, but we've obviously seen Michael and what he can do. To have some knowledge of (Marty Mornhinweg's) offense, I think that's an advantage, too, for Michael to make the transition. It's a matter of how sound he is."

Namath was asked to identify an area in which Smith needs to improve.

"The safest thing for me to say, the one factual thing for me to say that I know is his passing accuracy," he said. "The rest of it, I don't have a handle on -- his mind, what he sees, how he's doing those things. The one thing I know he has to improve on -- and he does, too -- is accuracy."

Vick, who signed with the Jets in March to compete for the starting job, has said that Smith is the starter.

Offensive coordinator Mornhinweg said earlier this month that a starter has not been named but announced Smith would get the majority of the first-team reps when the team starts its OTA practices.

In 16 starts as a rookie last year, Smith completed only 55.8 percent of his passes, threw for 3,046 yards with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions as the Jets went 8-8.

Smith has expressed confidence that he will continue to start. Coach Rex Ryan, however, said Vick was signed to "push" him.

Vick worked with Mornhinweg for four years with the Eagles when Mornhinweg was offensive coordinator.

Vick, 34, signed a one-year, $4 million deal after the Jets parted with Mark Sanchez. Vick, a four-time Pro Bowler, played just seven games with the Eagles last season and lost the starting job to Nick Foles.

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