IRVING, Texas -- The most important trait for a backup quarterback in the NFL is to know his place in this world, so to speak.
If the player still harbors desires of being the starter, then he’s probably not the best guy to back up a quarterback like Tony Romo.
Before signing with the Dallas Cowboys, Kyle Orton talked to the man he will be replacing, Jon Kitna. Kitna was 37 when he joined the Cowboys and knew his days as a starter were over. Orton will turn 30 this season and has started 69 games, but according to coach Jason Garrett, he knows his place in this world.
When Garrett was the quarterbacks coach in Miami, he studied Orton hard, but Chicago drafted him. Wade Wilson was the Bears quarterbacks coach then and the Cowboys quarterbacks coach now. The Cowboys were beaten to Orton on a waiver claim by Kansas City last year when Kitna's season ended because of a back injury.
They had enough of a background to know Orton well. A person close to Orton said Orton will "stimulate Tony mentally," in their approaches to the game. Romo is a noted tinkerer with his mechanics and likes to find different ways to break down defenses.
“He’s a real pro,” Garrett said of Orton. “I think he understands the situation. He’s been a starter in this league. He’s been a backup in this league. I think he understands the importance of team chemistry and chemistry within that quarterback room.”