Jaguars fans attending Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders will be treated to a long look at this year's first pick of the draft, quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said on Friday that Russell would see the most extensive playing time of his career. Kiffin confirmed that Josh McCown will be the Raiders' starting quarterback.
"We anticipate McCown and Russell both playing," Kiffin said.
Russell has seen very limited action this season; six completions in just 12 passes for 66 yards. Russell was a holdout for much of the season after being selected first overall in last spring's draft.
The plan this season was to get Russell more playing time as the season wore on, but Russell's holdout canceled that strategy. Asked how Russell's situation has worked out, Kiffin said: "Not as well as you would like, obviously.
"JaMarcus played in two games and we would have liked to have won both but we won one game and got him some experience but, unfortunately, we had three series in the middle of the game versus a great team like Indianapolis (and) we weren't able to get first downs," Kiffin added. "It's not more important than anything else but it is important for us to get him experience for his future and for his learning curve, as well as our learning curve about him."
Russell is expected to be the major story in a game that doesn't appear to hold much intrigue. The Raiders, 4-10, are playing out the string. The Jaguars, 10-4, need only a win to clinch the number five seed in the AFC playoffs.
The Raiders have been competitive in most of their games this season. They've beaten Cleveland, Miami, Kansas City and Denver and they played the Colts tough last week in a 21-14 loss. Sunday's game will mark the Raiders' first-ever appearance in Jacksonville.
Kiffin will be without star running back Justin Fargas, who topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark before being lost for the season due to a knee injury. LaMont Jordan and Dominic Rhodes will play in place of Fargas.
The Raiders and Jaguars are at completely different ends of the NFL spectrum. The Jaguars have spent much of this week answering questions about not having any players voted into to the Pro Bowl. The Raiders, on the other hand, are on their fifth consecutive losing season and are clearly in rebuilding. Russell, of course, is the centerpiece of that rebuilding.
"I think the most improvement you make is from year one to year two. You spend the first pick of the draft on somebody that wasn't here in training camp and has not played this year. Hopefully, he'll be winning those games for us next year," Kiffin said.
Kiffin had been on Tom Coughlin's Jaguars staff as a young quality control coach. He was asked what he sees in the Jaguars.
"You see a team that I would say is what we've tried to build this team like here and, obviously, they're a long ways ahead of us in that way, but a team that can stop the run and run the football and plays extremely physical and protects the ball. You're going to win a lot of games when you do those things," Kiffin said.
The Jaguars will be trying to win their 11th game of this season.