Jerry Jones signed Kyle Orton to a three-year, $10.5 million deal, with a $5 million signing bonus, for just this moment. With Tony Romo rehabbing a herniated disc in his back, Orton is expected to be under center Sunday in the Cowboys' elimination game against the Philadelphia.
"This is exactly the circumstances,” Jones told the Star-Telegram on Thursday. “We know that to make that kind of commitment to your backup quarterback, you’ve got to anticipate it being a very significant time. Well, one of the significant times is if you’ve positioned yourself to be able to compete for a championship. He’s the quality backup quarterback that allows you to do that, and that’s exactly what we thought we were getting when we agreed to make that commitment with him. This is it. There’s only one or two times that can justify that, and this is one of those.”
Jones would not rule out Romo, calling him day to day just as Jason Garrett has all week. But Jones' optimism remains even if Orton has to play.
“I have a lot of faith in our system, our schemes, what it is philosophically we try to do.,” Jones said. “[Orton] will be about decision-making and execution. He’s got the experience to make the good decision, and the system is a good one, and he’s well versed in the system. He’s certainly got the arm strength and again the experience to execute it.”
Jones said Orton is “seasoned in the system” and has “credentials better than” many of the backup quarterbacks the Cowboys have played this season. The Cowboys have faced five quarterbacks who weren’t starters to begin the season, including Philadelphia’s Nick Foles.
"We know, just looking at our opponents, looking at our season this year, backups can win these ball games," Jones said. "...He’s not a rookie. You add that to the fact that he’s got a good strong arm and our coaches have always liked when he did get his reps in practice and certainly his decision making. He’s got a chance to really step out and play a top game for us."
-- Charean Williams