After a brief delay, running back Trent Richardson is coming to Saskatchewan after all.
Just a few weeks ago, 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk reported that the former NFLer was on his way to Regina to sign with the Riders. After that, things got a little weird as Richardson decided to back off.
Either way, Richardson is now a part of Rider Nation and on paper, his signing does come at a good time. The team has been without running back Cameron Marshall for a few weeks and it’s become increasingly clear that the coaching staff doesn’t have much faith in any of the other running backs on the roster to run the ball. Over the last three games, the Riders have rushed, on average, for 70 yards a game. Over those three games, the Riders have seen their rushing yards drop from 94 to 88 to just 28 last week against Calgary. A new face was clearly needed.
Will Richardson be the guy to turn the tide and get the team back on track on the ground? That’s a question that won’t have an answer for the time being. Chris Jones announced on Tuesday that Richardson won’t play against the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday night.
The Riders don’t rely heavily on the run, but they need some semblance of balance to help out the rest of the offence. Richardson shouldn’t make matters worse.
This move might also light a fire under the other players currently on the roster. Competition is always healthy and if this gives an extra push to Kienan LaFrance, Greg Morris or Johnathan Thebaud then that’s a good thing.
While there are some positives to the signing, in the big picture, it doesn’t say good things about off-season work by Jones, John Murphy and the rest of the scouting staff. It’s not uncommon for teams to sign players in a pinch. However, that usually happens after a team suffers a rash of injuries at a given position, not after a single injury. The team should have been better prepared for an injury at running back, as it was basically a given that Marshall was likely to miss some time, given the demands of the position.
Anthony Allen, a proven CFL calibre running back was released at the end of training camp. He seems like a pretty decent backup to keep around when needed. What about the pile of running backs waiting for work down south? Surely there’s guys down there that could have competed for a job in camp that might have been a better option.
Instead, it’s another former NFL star looking for another shot and we know the success rate for these types of players in the CFL isn’t high.
As a single move, signing Richardson isn’t a big deal. Looking at the big picture, it against suggests the Riders have struggled when it comes to creating depth behind some of their starters either through their negotiation list or the draft.