Rookie Russell expected to play two series against Colts

Updated: December 13, 2007, 4:19 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Six-year veteran Josh McCown will start a third straight week for the Oakland Raiders, but the bigger news Thursday? Coach Lane Kiffin has committed to playing time for rookie quarterback JaMarcus Russell for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

JaMarcus Russell

Russell

Josh McCown

McCown

Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, has appeared in only one game this season, Oakland's Dec. 2 victory over the Denver Broncos, and has spent much of the year third on the depth chart. Kiffin has not said how much Russell will play Sunday, but has designed a limited package of specific plays for the former LSU star.

The expectation is that Russell will enter the game in the second quarter and probably play two series.

"You have a plan, but you don't know if the plan will go exactly the way you want," Kiffin said. "The last time [Russell] played, it went perfectly."

Against the Broncos, Russell played two series and logged 15 snaps, completing 4 of 7 passes for 56 yards. He also rushed three times for four yards.

With only two games left after Sunday's, it remains uncertain if Russell, who held out all of training camp and the preseason before signing a contract with a maximum value of $68 million, will get a start in his rookie season.

McCown will be making his eighth start of the season and has been the quarterback of record in two of the Raiders' four victories. Daunte Culpepper, who has started seven games, continues to miss time because of a quadriceps injury and has not practiced in two weeks. For the most part, McCown has done a solid job of managing games and directing a fairly balanced offense.

For the season, McCown has completed 92 of 158 passes for 1,011 yards, with nine touchdown passes and 11 interceptions, for a 67.2 passer rating. He opened the season atop the depth chart and started the first three games before suffering a toe injury that sidelined him for nearly a month.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.