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December 25, 2013

Kyle Orton is ready to lead the Cowboys in their win-or-go-home game Sunday

The Cowboys mostly mentioned Tony Romo in the past tense Wednesday.

They are moving forward without him, as Kyle Orton took first-team snaps and newly signed Jon Kitna ran the scout team. It marked the first time Orton has worked with the starters since the off-season when Romo was out after having a cyst removed from his back.

Nonetheless, Orton insists he’s ready.

“As the backup, that’s your job -- to be ready to go whenever it is,” said Orton, who has five attempts this season. “I think the guys got a lot of confidence in me. I know I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself, and I’m excited to play.”

Orton, 31, had chances to go elsewhere in the 2012 off-season but chose instead to backup Romo. The Cowboys gave him a three-year, $10.5 million deal, with a $5 million signing bonus, as insurance.

They now are cashing it in, with their playoff hopes riding on his right arm.

“I fall back on my experience,” Orton said. “I’ve played a lot of games in this league and had some success, so I’m just excited with the group of guys I’ve got around me. I don’t really feel like I’ve got to go out and do too much. Get the play to the playmakers. Get the ball to 29 [DeMarco Murray], 82 [Jason Witten] and 88 [Dez Bryant], and let those guys go to work.”

-- Charean Williams

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