Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 3/27/12

MINNEAPOLIS - JANUARY 17: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys passes against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter of the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on January 17, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Tony Romo is one of the most well-known and respected quarterbacks in the NFL.  Over the past seven years, he has played in three Pro Bowls, broken ten Dallas Cowboy team records (including one of his own), and landed the #2 All-Time NFL Career Passer Rating and the #4 All-Time Yards Per Attempt.  He’s also led the Cowboys to the playoffs twice.  Unfortunately, he’s also developed a reputation for choking under pressure.  No quarterback is a stranger to criticism, but Romo seems to get more of it than most other franchise QBs.
 
His frequent injuries don’t help.  Since 2008, Romo has broken his pinky on his throwing hand, broken his left clavicle, and injured his ribs twice.  His glass frame has cost the Cowboys more than a few games over the years, and has exposed their glaring need for an adequate backup.
 
Enter Kyle Orton.
 
A pro in his own right, Orton has had experience as both a starter and a backup.  And, like Romo, has had his share of good and bad seasons.  While not as flashy or popular as Romo, Orton is a solid quarterback who has plenty of experience under his belt to keep the wheels moving on Dallas’s offense if/when Romo gets injured.
 
But you’re not reading this article to hear about Orton’s potential as a backup.  You’re reading to hear about his potential as Romo’s replacement.  So, let’s get down to it.  Can Kyle Orton challenge Tony Romo’s status as starting quarterback on the Dallas Cowboys?
 
I say definitely.
 
While Romo’s constant presence as the Cowboys’ quarterback provides the team with stability and the fans with familiarity, his inconsistencies can’t be ignored.  His glass body doesn’t help, either.  The one thing you can count on Romo to do is get hurt.  Every season seems to bring more broken bones, and one has to wonder how long it can go on before his durability starts to wear thing (if it hasn’t already).
 
Orton has been on three other teams over the past six years, and has shown that he has a durable mindset and learns quickly.  His time as a backup has also shown that he is more than capable of stepping up when he is needed and becoming a leader.  (Just ask the Packers.)  Plus, Orton is no stranger to competing for the top job.
 
Depending on how one interprets some of his more recent comments on Romo, Jerry Jones’s commitment to Number 9 seems to be flimsier than it once was.  I could totally see Garrett (and Puppet Master Jones) putting Romo on IR with a stubbed toe just to see if Orton could do any better.  If he does, Romo can kiss his starting job goodbye.  Then again, I was 2-5 on my postseason predictions.

PLAYERS: Kyle OrtonTony Romo
TEAMS: Dallas Cowboys
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