JaMarcus Russell, the No. 1 pick in the draft who missed all of training camp, has been playing catch-up since signing his mega contract two days after the regular season began. He was on the sidelines as Oakland's No. 3 quarterback against the Chargers, behind Culpepper and Walter, and has yet to take his first NFL snap in a game.
That could change sometime this season.
Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said Monday he hasn't ruled out playing Russell at some point this season, adding that the team doesn't have the rookie on any type of schedule.
"We're going to take him as far as we can and when he's ready to play we'll play him," Kiffin said. "What does that mean? That means that when we think that he can help us win, we'll put him in. There's no deal where OK, we're going to sit him and year two he's going to start. We're not doing one of those deals. Or we're going to look at it in Week 8 or we're going to look at it in Week 14. It's none of that. We're going to look at it each week and see if we feel that he can help us win. When that time comes we'll put him in."
Russell has been running Oakland's scout teams in practice but did spend much of the offseason at the team's facilities learning Kiffin's playbook and working with the offense during OTAs and mini-camps, so it's not like the Culpepper situation where Russell is needing to learn the offense.
Instead, it's a combination of how quickly he develops and how well, or poorly, the other quarterbacks are playing.
"It's both, and that's what I mean by can he help us win? " Kiffin said. "Well, he can help us win by playing better than the guy that's playing so that definitely has to do with it. How are the guys that are playing, how are they playing? That will make it either easier or harder for him to get on the field.
"He can do some things. He can't do it all right now, obviously and we're going to keep bringing him along, but he does some things very well. We just have to keep pushing him."