The Cowboys went 1-5 when Romo started last season. They won four of nine games started by 38-year-old backup Jon Kitna after Romo suffered a broken collarbone, including a stretch of three wins in four games immediately after head coach Wade Phillips was fired and replaced by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
"I loved playing with Kitna," tight end Martellus Bennett said during a Tuesday appearance on ESPN 103.3's Ben & Skin Show. "Kitna is one of my favorite people to play with. Just being out there on the field with that guy just makes you play even harder. He made some things happen in limited time, so I think if he got a longer chance, he'd be able to do more.
"I hope there's a chance for a quarterback competition this year. Every position, I think we need to put more competition into it."
Bennett, who has 68 catches for 702 yards and four touchdowns in three seasons since the Cowboys drafted him out of Texas A&M with a second-round pick, added that he thought Romo was "awesome."
Bennett isn't the first Dallas offensive player to suggest that Kitna could compete with Romo if given the chance. On the night Romo was injured, receiver Roy Williams declared that Kitna "is just as good," a point Williams reiterated on a few occasions.
However, Dallas' decision-makers have no plans for a quarterback competition. Owner/general manager Jerry Jones has made it very clear that he's committed to Romo, who has three seasons remaining on a six-year, $67.4 million contract, as the Cowboys' franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Romo has a 39-22 record as the Cowboys' starter during the regular season, having thrown for 16,650 yards and 118 touchdowns and setting franchise records for yards and touchdown passes in a season. Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, San Diego's Philip Rivers and Hall of Famer Steve Young are the only quarterbacks with better career passer ratings than Romo's 95.5.
Kitna embraces his role as Romo's backup. Kitna, a former starter for the Seahawks, Bengals and Lions, threw for 2,365 yards and 16 touchdowns with a passer rating of 88.9 last season.
"[Romo] understands that my role here is to support him and to serve him the best way that I can," Kitna said during the season. "There's no awkwardness at all. He understands that, and more importantly, I understand that. That's my job."
Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.