*(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2013 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features quarterback Kyle Orton.) *
Name: Kyle Orton
Height/Weight: 6-4 / 225
Experience: 9 seasons
Key stat:Technically, Orton led the Cowboys in quarterback rating at 137.1 and in completion percentage (90.0). But he only played one series at the end of the Bears game, going 9 of 10 passing for 89 yards and a touchdown to Jason Witten.
Contract Status:Signed through 2014
How He Played In 2012: Kyle Orton played in one game this past season and that was against the Bears when the game was out of reach for the Cowboys. Orton did lead the team on a no huddle drive down the field which resulted in a touchdown. Orton is in that situation where you don't want to see him play because that means that something most likely happened to Tony Romo. With Orton I believe that you get more than just a backup quarterback but you get a player that has been a successful starter in this league for the majority of his career and for front offices and coaches, this is a solid piece of mind that if something does happen to your starter, the level of play doesn't fall off so badly that your season is ruined. In my view
where Orton really helped this squad is with the development of James Hanna, Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley. Everyday these players had the opportunity to work with a real NFL quarterback on the scout team that knew how to throw them open or put the ball in a place where they would have to use their skill to have to make a catch. Too many times players work on the scout team but don't get better because the veteran players around them don't help them get better. Orton's leadership on the scout team largely will go unnoticed by the average fan but to the front office and coaches, he is worth every penny that you pay him not only to save the season if something happens to Romo but the work that he is able to do with your young players but the work against your defense Wednesday through Friday.
Where He Fits in 2013: Orton will once again a piece of mind for the coaches as Romo's backup and there is nothing wrong with that. In 2013, he very well could be a mentor to a potential draft pick if the club goes that route. This rookie will get to watch Romo prepare [embedded_ad]
for games and sit with him in meetings but it will be Orton that is standing with him on the sidelines available to answer questions and help him better understand the game. The starter doesn't always have the time to be this type of source because he is getting ready for the game but Orton could more than handle that development which makes his job a valuable one.
Nick Eatman: Always good to have a quality backup and that's what the Cowboys have in Orton. Every where he's been, Orton has been good enough to have around but teams are always looking for more. I think this is a good spot for Orton because it doesn't appear he was ever looking to compete for a starting job. He's a smart player who understands the offense, his capabilities and his role. And if something happens to Romo, the Cowboys will have a player step in who has won games before and should be capable of getting the job done.