With Tony Romo undergoing back surgery, Kyle Orton will start for the Dallas Cowboys against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. Owner Jerry Jones has said from the start he would be comfortable if his backup quarterback needed to play.
Jones said Sunday's game is the reason he gave Orton a three-year, $10.5 million contract -- which included a $5 million signing bonus -- in 2012 to be Romo's backup.
"This is exactly the circumstances," Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Thursday. "We know that to make that kind of commitment to your backup quarterback, you've got to anticipate it being a very significant time. Well, one of the significant times is if you've positioned yourself to be able to compete for a championship."
Orton has 69 career starts with the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and, most recently in 2011, the Kansas City Chiefs. His uneven play in Denver is what ultimately led to the Broncos' in-season adoption of "Tebow Time."
"He's the quality backup quarterback that allows you to do that, and that's exactly what we thought we were getting when we agreed to make that commitment with him," Jones said. "This is it. There's only one or two times that can justify that, and this is one of those."
Backup quarterbacks have played a prominent role this season, even on teams that will make the playoffs. Orton likely will have a big say on whether or not the Cowboys are added to that list.