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Monday, July 14, 2014
Training camp battles: Backup quarterback

By Calvin Watkins

With the start of training camp coming next week, we review the five biggest position battles with the Dallas Cowboys.

Backup quarterback

The favorite: Kyle Orton

The contenders: Brandon Weeden and Caleb Hanie

Orton
Outlook: Orton missed the entire offseason contemplating retirement. The Cowboys took a wait-and-see approach with Orton, with coach Jason Garrett citing the collective bargaining agreement, to deal with the veteran. The status of this position is unsettled because while Orton is 35-35 as a starter, he’s still one of the better backups in the NFL. Orton played well in the regular-season finale for an injured Tony Romo last season. But if Orton is out of the picture, it means Weeden (5-15 as a starter) becomes Romo’s backup. With Romo rehabbing his back, Weeden received all the snaps in the offseason with the first team and developed a chemistry and better understanding of the new wrinkles of the offense with new playcaller Scott Linehan.

Who wins?: The Cowboys could cut, fine and even ask for previous signing-bonus money back from Orton if he refuses to report to training camp. There are no winners here because Orton, somewhere along the way, lost his desire to play and doesn’t want to be around, and the Cowboys have to depend on Weeden to support a starting quarterback coming off a second back surgery.