The Cowboys may have to go with backup quarterback Kyle Orton for Sunday's division title matchup against the Eagles. While it may seem unfortunate, owner Jerry Jones believes that Orton can handle the job if called upon, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Starting quarterback Tony Romo suffered a herniated disk in his back during the Cowboys 24-23 win over the Redskins in Week 16.
The Cowboys signed Orton to a three-year, $10 million deal in the summer of 2012. He has served as Romo's backup over the last two seasons and has only thrown 15 passes as a member of the Cowboys. Prior to joining the Cowboys, Orton started 69 games for the Bears, Broncos and Chiefs. He has a career passer rating of 79.7 and has thrown for 14,661 yards, 81 touchdowns and 57 interceptions.
The Cowboys have yet to rule Romo out, but it appears he is unlikely to play on Sunday against the Eagles. However, Jones was not shy about offering his rationale behind starting Orton in Week 17:
"How do we compensate? What do we do here? It immediately goes to Kyle Orton," Jones said. "It's what it is, and if you don't realize that you're going to be dealing with injury information, sudden change in plans, then you're in the wrong area. I've had a lot of years when that information that you hear on the other end of the phone is not what you wanted to hear with your left hand and with your right hand, reach over there and make decisions to do as well as you possibly can.
"Again, we're in as good a shape under the circumstances that you could possibly be in and I have every reason to think that, if needed, Kyle Orton can step out there and do a good job for us. We had planned on this very event. We have been very fortunate with Romo on his injury situation. He hasn't played as much as I would have thought when I agreed to give him over $10 million three years ago. Because of how important that position is you just have to anticipate to some degree what happens if you lose Tony Romo. In this case we have done it. We did it. I'm proud that we have done it. We are ready to utilize it this weekend."