The Dallas Cowboys’ training camp is now well under way in Oxnard, California culminating in it’s first official “Blue and White” scrimmage over the weekend. Two of the biggest highlights from said scrimmage have to be the interception made by free agent acquisition corner Brandon Carr, on a toss by quarterback Tony Romo, and the six touchdown passes thrown by his back-up, Kyle Orton. Did you hear much about Romo outside of the interception? Not really. It seems it’s just business as usual for Romo as far as the media is concerned. And that could mean trouble in the future…Tim Tebow sized trouble.
Hear me out here. There is no quarterback controversy is Dallas. Zero. Nada. Everyone agrees, Romo is the starting quarterback. But I’ve always wondered something about Orton. Why would he come to Dallas to back-up Romo? Why would he come here when he could compete for a starting job somewhere else? After this weekend, the seed of a thought crept into my brain. Did Orton actually come to the Cowboys to get a starting job?
Last year, Orton started his third straight season in Denver. He had the starting job going into the season with incumbent Tebow on the bench. (an alleged fourth string QB in the preseason) But a 1-4 record and a million chanting Tebow fans later, and Orton was on the pine and soon released. I could understand, after suffering an embarrassment like that, wanting to go somewhere that had zero controversy. After playing out the rest of the season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Orton signed with the Cowboys almost immediately, right out of free agency.
When the news hit that we secured the best back-up in the league so early on, I was ecstatic. But a few questions did linger in my mind. Why did Orton sign so quickly without fully researching his starting options? And if he did just want to avoid controversy, why sign a three year deal? Orton is 29 years old. He’s in his prime years to start. Why sign a contract to be a back-up until your 33? The answer is simple: Orton sees a future in Dallas.
But what that future is, only Orton knows. But let’s not forget that Romo is 32 years old. His contract runs out in 2013 due to a restructuring from last summer. And owner Jerry Jones’ patience, along side most of Cowboy Nation, is wearing more than a little thin. Many see this as Romo’s make or break year. But did that have anything to do with Orton’s quick decision to play in Dallas?
Romo is coming off the best statistical season of his career. But let’s not forget that Orton was coming off two great statistical years before being benched. In 2010, Kyle threw for 3,653 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. The year before he had 3,802 yards with 21 touchdowns. But two straight years of not making the playoffs cost him in the end. Sound familiar?
Is Orton pulling a Tebow in Dallas? Who knows? I do know this. If Dallas starts the year off at 1-4 or fails to make the playoffs again, it won’t be Tebow’s name some Cowboys fans will be chanting. It will be Orton’s. And wouldn’t that just be ironic.