The Cowboys are not ruling Tony Romo out for Sunday's game, but they're also not counting on him. It appears the team's playoff faith rests with backup Kyle Orton.
The Cowboys insist they have faith in Orton to lead them. It's why they signed him to a three-year, $10.5 million deal with a $5 million signing bonus.
"We've liked Kyle for a long time," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We liked him coming out of school. I just think he's a heck of a player. He plays the quarterback position the way it's supposed to be played. He's very prepared. He's an experienced guy. He throws the football very well. He's smart. He's tough. He's accurate. He understands what you're trying to do on offense. He understands defenses. He knows where the ball needs to go. He has a poise and a calmness and a composure about him of a veteran player. He's started  games in the National Football League, so he's been there. He's seen this stuff before. Like I said, he prepares every week as if he's the starter. That's the feeling that his teammates get. That's the feeling that his coaches get. Just how he approaches his job. He certainly loves to play. He has great passion for the game, a very competitive guy and has played at a high level throughout his career."
Orton, 31, is 35-34 in his career as a starter. He has not started since the 2011 season.
"Kyle has played at a high level and had a lot of success in the league, so he's somebody we respect," Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said Monday.
The Cowboys are 6-7 without Romo since he became the starter in 2006. He missed three games in 2008 with a broken finger on this throwing hand, and 10 games in 2010 with a broken collarbone. Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna and Stephen McGee have started games in Romo's absence.
-- Charean Williams