The news that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo underwent back surgery Friday morning and was placed on injured reserve was a surprise many of his teammates.
But backup quarterback Kyle Orton, who has been thrust into starting role for Sunday's win or go home against Philadelphia Eagles, nothing changes for him.
He had been preparing to start in place of the injured Romo even before the surgery and official confirmation that Romo would miss the game.
"It doesn't change my mindset," Orton said. "We have had a good week of practice. I'm ready. I'm very excited to go out and play."
It will be hard to replace Romo, who was in the midst of the one of the efficient seasons of his career.
Romo completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 3,828 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 games. His passer rating of 96.7 ranks eighth in the league.
The Cowboys signed Orton, 31, signed him to a three-year, $10.5 million deal with a $5 million signing bonus before the 2012 season as an insurance policy for moments like this.
He is 35-34 in his career as a starter but has played only three games — all in mop-up duty — since Dallas signed him. He threw a total of 15 passes the past two years.
“It’ll be different. It’s different," owner Jerry Jones said. "Tony was so involved in the makeup of the game plan this year, so involved in what we were offensively. Several parts of it tailored to the kinds of things he does the best and wants to do the best. It’ll be different. On the other hand, it will be very, very good in my mind. The good thing about Orton is he understands this philosophy of I would say, for lack of a better term, Jason’s offense. He understands what’s expected from it. He can read it well. He’s got a strong arm. And he’s got a lot of experience. From that standpoint, he’ll be very friendly to this offense and this offense will be friendly to him.”