Pass protection must be sound regardless

IRVING, Texas -- Even if Tony Romo were playing Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line still would have had to be at the top of its game.

With Kyle Orton starting at quarterback, the same message applies.

It would have been difficult for Romo to move away from trouble because of his back the way he has done throughout his career. Orton is not the most fleet of foot.

I'm thinking if he has to move, he'll move," offensive coordinator Bill Callahan deadpanned. "That's just the nature of the position. If someone's coming down your throat, you're moving pretty quick. But he's got good poise in the pocket. He's got good pocket mobility. He works the pocket well."

Romo has been sacked 35 times this year. He was sacked 36 times the past two seasons -- the most of his career.

"I think the pass protection has been good," coach Jason Garrett said. "Those guys have played well up front. It certainly has not been perfect. The quarterback has been affected at different times. That's the nature of this league. Tony has always had an ability to get away and to create a little time for himself, find a little space inside and create an opportunity for him to get the ball out under pressure. Kyle might do it a different way, but again, Kyle is an experienced quarterback."

In other words, Orton will get rid of the ball faster.

The linemen said nothing really changes in how they block. The more important aspect of the quarterback change is getting used to Orton's cadence.

"I feel like Tony does a good job avoiding blocks in the pocket," right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau said. "We just have to do a better job of blocking better up front. Sometimes we're hit or miss and Tony can make a play out of nothing. Obviously Kyle has his own style of play but we've got our job to do and protect up front."