Who should be the starting QB for the Jets and 49ers this Sunday?

New York Jets quarterbacks Greg McElroy, left, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow speak with quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh; San Francisco quarterbacks Alex Smith, left, and Colin Kaepernick talk to Coach Jim Harbaugh.
(Elsa, Jim McIsaac / Getty Images)
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<i>This post has been updated. See the note below for details.</i>

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the quarterback controversies of the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the conversation with a comment of your own.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

Colin Kaepernick and Greg McElroy should be the starters for the 49ers and Jets, respectively. When a coach makes the decision to switch quarterbacks, it’s not like picking a particular car to drive on a given day. It’s not as if, say, Jim Harbaugh can keep flipping back and forth between Kaepernick and Alex Smith and expect those psyches to stay intact.


In the eight quarters before Smith’s concussion, he had completed 32 of 35 for five touchdowns with no interceptions. Now that he’s been benched, a major blow to his ego, Smith might not be the same quarterback coming back. Regardless, Kaepernick has a greater potential for explosive plays, and he made some in the loss to the Rams.

As for McElroy, he provided the only spark in the 7-6 win over Arizona, and directed the only scoring drive. He deserves to start.

Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

It’s too soon to bail on Colin Kaepnerick after one shaky game. But it’s too late not to bail on Mark Sanchez after many shaky games. If Kaepernick does not pick it up against the Dolphins on Sunday, Jim Harbaugh will want to give some serious thought to playing Alex Smith against the Patriots the following week. We’ve all seen what Bill Belichick can do against an inexperienced quarterback.

As for the Jets, if they want to keep their playoff prayers alive, they will turn to Tim Tebow. They were not good enough with Sanchez. They won’t be good enough with Greg McElroy. They probably won’t be good enough with Tebow. But if anyone can give this team a jolt and hope, it’s Tebow, assuming his broken ribs don’t prevent him from playing.

[Updated at 12:57 p.m.:


Kevin Cowherd, Baltimore Sun

The Jets will most likely go with third-stringer Greg McElroy against Jacksonville, which will cause yet another crack in the bone-china psyche of deposed starter Mark Sanchez. It’s probably a good move.

McElroy breathed life into the offense late in the Jets’ 7-6 win over Arizona on Sunday, but that’s not the real issue. The real issue is that Sanchez stinks. And with his job in jeopardy, it looks like Jets Coach Rex Ryan is desperate enough to go with a guy who’s thrown exactly seven passes in his NFL career.

As for the 49ers, Coach Jim Harbaugh indicated he’ll stick with Colin Kaepernick, even though he looked jittery taking a safety and tossing a pitch so high Yao Ming couldn’t have caught it in San Francisco’s 16-13 overtime loss to St. Louis. This should make Alex Smith even more cheerful on the sidelines than he’s looked the past two weeks.

Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun Sentinel

NFL locker rooms can survive anything except a quarterback controversy. Players are forced to choose sides and eventually the team divides like high school cliques.


That’s why in most situations changing a starting quarterback is like waving the white flag on the season.

The easiest way to survive a change is have it come as a result of an injury. Jim Harbaugh rode that wave to get Colin Kaepernick on the field, replacing Alex Smith, who had a 104.1 quarterback rating before suffering a concussion.

Despite Kaepernick’s first loss Harbaugh will continue to ride “the hot hand,” and he should because the former Nevada standout opens up the offense more.

The Jets have been a disaster all season because of limited weapons more than Mark Sanchez’s play. It is irresponsible to conclude Greg McElroy will jump-start the offense, but at this point what does New York have to lose?