To me, he has operated in shades of gray for years.
You can't watch him week after week and not marvel at his talent and creativity on the field. He'll also drive you crazy with critical mistakes, like the interceptions he threw this season against Green Bay and the Denver Broncos.
He shouldn't be grouped with the game's top quarterbacks, such as Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. But he's certainly in that next group with players such as Ben Roethlisberger , Joe Flacco , Eli Manning and even Foles, Russell Wilson , Cam Newton and Matt Ryan .
You can put Romo at the top of the second tier. Or the bottom. It doesn't matter, as long as he's in the group.
He's that good.
You'll be reminded of that Sunday, when Orton gets sacked or throws a ball away because he lacks Romo's ability to elude defenders in the pocket.
The biggest difference between Romo and Orton is that Romo is capable of beating the Eagles by himself, so to speak. He could make everyone else better with his athleticism.
Orton's not that kind of player.
Orton will need Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray and Terrance Williams to make plays for him. He'll need the offensive line to keep the pocket clean and give him a chance to succeed. He'll need playcaller Bill Callahan to be stubborn with a running game that has been one of the league's best over the past month.
Orton needs a lot of help to add his name to Cowboys lore.
Whatever happens Sunday, Romo Haters will have a much greater appreciation for the missing starter.