THE SIDELINES : Tolliver Likely to Start for S.D.

<i> From Times wire services</i>

Rookie Billy Joe Tolliver will probably be the San Diego Chargers’ starting quarterback instead of Jim McMahon in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, Coach Dan Henning said.

McMahon’s ineffectiveness in recent weeks was not a factor in the decision to change quarterbacks, Henning said Wednesday, nor was a wrenched knee that McMahon suffered during the Chargers’ 10-6 loss at Indianapolis last weekend.

The move was prompted instead by Henning’s desire to give Tolliver another chance to show what he can do in a game before the season ends.


“At this point, I’d say it’s going to be Billy Joe,” Henning said of his quarterback situation. “I told him . . . that if he looks prepared (in practice), then he would start.

"(McMahon) probably still gives us our best chance to win, but by the same token I think Billy has come along in the last three or four weeks. We need to find that out, and if he does well enough in the game, we’ll give him a good dose of it. If he isn’t as effective, we’ll pull him out and wait for another time to do it again.”

Regardless of whether Tolliver or McMahon starts, Henning said the rookie from Texas Tech will see some playing time Sunday when the Chargers (4-8) host the Jets (3-9) at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.