San Francisco 49ers: Who Will Start at QB Week 17?

Joseph BurkeyAnalyst IDecember 30, 2010

Smith will start Sunday.
Smith will start Sunday.Harry How/Getty Images

The 49ers play the Arizona Cardinals at home this Sunday in their season finale, and this time no one is asking the question that has stirred the chili all season long.

Amid the rabble that ensued in the wake of Mike Singletary's dismissal, it seems no one is even wondering who the 49ers will start at quarterback for Week 17.

Maybe it's because nobody cares about the 49ers now that they have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

The popular choice to start the game is Nate Davis, but not very likely at all considering he's still on the practice squad.

Alex Smith has never been a popular choice in San Francisco. The former first overall pick will be a free agent next year and is all but headed out of town at the final gun.

David Carr is resigned to the rest of his short career as a backup after taking too many hits for the expansion Houston Texans.

And Troy Smith has his own set of issues after being benched by Mike Singletary in the fourth quarter last week against the Rams.

So really, there's not a lot to look for in Sunday's matchup. The 49ers will probably go with Alex Smith, though, as he gives the team their best shot to win, and interim head coach Jim Tomsula has made it clear the plan is to win (although that was the plan in Weeks 1-5, too.)

Many fans have decided this is the time for the 49ers to lose a battle in hopes of winning a larger war in 2011. With mathematical elimination in the bag, if there's a time to throw a game, then this is it. It seems like there should be some kind of rule against intentionally losing a game though, and maybe there is.

There is no rule against conserving important players however, as teams who have already wrapped-up the top seed in their conferences are wont to do.

Don't be surprised if banged-up players like Takeo Spikes and Patrick Willis see short work, if any at all.

*Update: Patrick Willis is ruled out for Sunday's Finale. Smith will get the Start vs. Arizona, Sunday.