Team Hopes Kitna Not Needing Much Work

There's plenty of reason to believe the Cowboys are in great shape at the quarterback position, as I believe one of us mentioned a couple days ago, and the biggest causes for optimism is they know exactly what they have in Jon Kitna as Tony Romo's backup.

Between Tony Romo's need for premium reps in preseason games, and the desire to get a long look at Stephen McGee, the odd man out is Kitna, who has gotten only one series in both preseason games to this point. On Sunday he played only three snaps - a handoff to Lonyae Miller, a sack and a two-yard completion to Kevin Ogletree.

After he didn't play at all in 2009, the Cowboys are hoping last year's nine starts serve as Kitna's preseason.

"I think the game experience within the offense was really valuable to him," Jason Garrett said. "A lot of times veteran quarterbacks go to a new place and everyone says, 'Oh, he's a veteran, he knows how to play, he's experienced.' There are a lot of little things within every system for a quarterback that you really need to have experience with, so that it comes second nature to you."

In 2007 and 2008, the Cowboys had a veteran backup in Brad Johnson. He didn't play at all in his first season, and the Cowboys had a false sense of security about his readiness to play. Johnson was bad in three appearances relieving Romo in 2008.

Unlike Johnson, though, Kitna clearly still has something. That's why he won't be getting a lot more work this preseason.

"I think Jon had a chance in game situations to get that comfort level with how we do things here," Garrett said. "Not only a blackboard understanding, or a practice understanding, but a game understanding, where (he) can react, really without thinking about it ... I think he starts at a further point down the road, but he's gotten a lot of work in practice."

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