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In Dallas, Who Will Back Up The Backup?

With Tony Romo probably down for the count and Kyle Orton set to make his first start since 2011, the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in a situation where they need make a move to insure that they have a fall-back option at quarterback.

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

With one game remaining in the 2013 season, and that being the annual NFC East Championship game, the Dallas Cowboys were in a precarious position before the news broke that Tony Romo's back issue is more serious than we had been led to believe. The word out of the Valley Ranch Ministry of Disinformation is that the Dallas Cowboys quarterback is "day to day." If you buy that, I need to sit down with you and discuss a real estate deal. No matter how things turn out, the Cowboys find themselves needing to sign a QB, if only for practice purposes.

In week 17, there are not a lot of options out there. Sure there are some practice squad quarterbacks out there that they could poach, but even then the choices are thin. If they Cowboys go that route, they are looking at a guy who, if forced into action, would likely be making his NFL debut in an almost playoff-like atmosphere. He would also be doing so with just a week's worth of time to learn the playbook. Yeah, I know the Houston Texans got an unbelievable run from TJ Yates under similar circumstances a couple years ago, but even then he had the whole season to learn the playbook. The one advantage I see with going this route is that they might wind up with a young and inexpensive guy under contract next season.

On the other hand, Dallas has the option of looking at an out of work veteran QB. There are a couple of guys floating around that might fit the bill. By going this way, if something happens to Orton, at least the Cowboys will have someone who has been there and done that. Another upside to bringing in a veteran is that Dallas might latch on to an experienced back-up that will allow them to move on from the expensive contract that Kyle Orton is on. If they bring in an experienced player, he too will be handicapped by the short time to learn the offense, but perhaps his experience will make something of a difference. At the very least, he should not be overwhelmed by the big stage.

The front office is going to have to move quickly on this, and early indications are that they have begun doing just that. According to Twitter accounts, they are considering at least a couple veteran QBs as potential signees. Of course they could also be looking at the practice squads around the league as well. We have no way of knowing what their intentions are. Whatever they intend; it must happen quickly.

I, for one, would take a run at Nick Stephens from the Baltimore Ravens practice squad since he already is a known commodity and is familiar with the offense. Barring that, I would be more inclined to sign one of the unemployed veterans that is now on the market. Quite frankly, I don't see any hope of a guy beyond Orton having a chance to pull off a "miracle performance" but the team does not have the luxury of being able to put all their eggs in the Orton basket. They have to make a move of some sort.

What would you do if you were in Jerry's shoes right now?

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