Stephen McGee is a No. 2 option in 2012

IRVING, Texas -- By placing Jon Kitna on injured reserve Wednesday, the Cowboys have no choice but to go with Stephen McGee as Tony Romo’s backup for the rest of the season whether that run lasts three games or a little longer.

Kitna is in the final year of his contract and leaning toward retirement. McGee is signed through next year.

Since taking over as the playcaller for the Cowboys in 2007, Jason Garrett has had a veteran backup to Tony Romo, first with Brad Johnson (2007-08) and then Kitna (2009-11).

“McGee is starting not to be younger,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said, “but not playing much is [a fair point]. We’ll continue to try to get him reps. I can see him being our backup.”

Immediately after Kitna’s back injury flared up, the Cowboys made a waiver claim on Kyle Orton, who was cut by Denver. They were denied by Kansas City in the process, but Jones said that was not a product of unease with McGee as the No. 2.

“Each guy is different in terms of what he might do for a particular team and, in that case, us,” Jones said. “Orton had been in Chicago and Wade Wilson knew some of the nuances of what we’d done and the playoff games [Orton played] and that made him a little bit different situation, especially for us. I’m sure there are other quarterbacks that will get waived that won’t do a thing for us but will do something for somebody else. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Stephen and very comfortable in going with him.”