- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas – Jason Garrett was a backup quarterback in the NFL for 14 years for the Cowboys, New York Giants, Tampa Bay and Miami.
How did Chicago do last year when it lost Jay Cutler? The Bears were in position to make the playoffs and saw it all go away.
Bring it closer to home. How did the Cowboys do when Tony Romo missed three games in 2008? Brad Johnson went 1-2 with one loss to the Rams. If the Cowboys won that game against a bad team – and the defense deserves a lot of blame for that too – they would have made the playoffs.
The 2010 season was already a wash when Romo suffered a broken collarbone in the sixth game of the season, but for as well as Jon Kitna played the Cowboys posted a 4-5 record.
In a perfect world the Cowboys never need to Orton play, but Romo has suffered injuries in three of the last four years. He missed 10 games in 2010 and those three in 2008. Last year he played through a broken rib.
Bounty or no bounty, quarterbacks are targets on game days. As Jerry Jones’ good friend, Al Davis, once said: the quarterback must go down and he must go down hard.
Orton represents a slight shift in Garrett’s philosophy on the backup QB. Johnson was 39 when he joined the Cowboys. Kitna was 37. Orton turns 30 in November and has 69 starts to his credit.