IRVING, TEXAS – Kyle Orton and Jon Kitna sat at opposite ends of a couch in the Dallas Cowboys’ locker room Wednesday, turned toward each other and started chatting.
They probably were talking about Dallas’ offense.
Orton will make his first start at quarterback in his two seasons with the Cowboys on Sunday night, unless Tony Romo can recover from a herniated disk. Dallas will be playing host to the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East title and a playoff berth.
Romo did not practice Wednesday and didn’t attend a morning offensive meeting, coach Jason Garrett said.
“I’m just excited,” Orton said. “I think the guys have got a lot of confidence in me. I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself. I can fall back on my experience. I’ve played a lot of games in this league. I don’t feel I have to do too much with the ball, just get it to 29 (DeMarco Murray), 82 (Jason Witten) and 88 (Dez Bryant).”
Garrett still hasn’t ruled out Romo.
“I saw him briefly today. He’s fighting through it. He’s doing everything he can to get back. He’s going through the rehab process.
“We’ll evaluate him day to day, the same as most players who are injured.”
Asked whether he thought Romo would play Sunday, Garrett said, “We’ll have to see. It seems like he is feeling a little bit better.”
Orton’s most recent start was in Week 17 of 2011 for Kansas City in a 7-3 victory over the Denver Broncos. He had started the season with Denver, but was released after losing the starting job to Tim Tebow, who led the Broncos to the playoffs.
The 31-year-old Orton has a 35-34 record in 69 starts in nine NFL seasons.
For Dallas, Orton has appeared in three games, completing 12 of 15 passes for 129 yards.
Garrett said even that limited experience was valuable.
Orton said until this week he hadn’t taken any in-season snaps with the first-team offense, but he believes the starters are comfortable with him.
“I was fortunate to get a lot of reps during OTAs [when Romo was recovering from back surgery],” Orton said. “I’ve been here a couple of years, so I’ve had plenty of experience with these guys.”
Kitna arrived back at Valley Ranch on Wednesday, also for the first time in two years, as the No. 3 quarterback, who likely will run the scout team, or as Orton’s backup. Kitna, 41, had retired from the Cowboys after going on injured reserve because of a back injury.