Cameron Marshall returning presents decisions for Riders

Cameron Marshall led the Riders in rushing when he went on the six-game injured list and as he comes off it continues to pace the team in that category.

On 87 carries Marshall put up 490 yards (5.6-yards-per-carry average), two going for touchdowns, in nine games, plus 29 catches for 296 yards and one receiving touchdown. The next closest Riders rusher is Kienan LaFrance who has 248 yards on 39 attempts (3.9 average) in 12 games. No other Saskatchewan player has over 100 yards on the ground total this season. The Riders averaged over 32 points per game when Marshall was in the lineup compared to 23.5 since he injured his knee against Winnipeg on Labour Day.

That production individually and offensively means the return of Marshall will provide Saskatchewan’s coaching staff with roster choices to make.

Marshall and Morris were the running back tandem for the first three games of the season. Once LaFrance was healthy he was added to the roster as the Riders dressed three running backs for six games. After Marshall was hurt, it went down to two backs on game days, except for against Calgary when Josh Harris started and LaFrance and Morris backed up. Then Trent Richardson arrived and he was listed atop the depth chart in Week 16 versus Toronto. LaFrance, seven rushes for 12 yards, was listed as No. 1 in Week 17, but Richardson carried the ball 14 times for 60 yards.

There likely won’t be more than three running backs on the roster. LaFrance being added to the one-game injured list makes it an easy call against Calgary, but going forward probably only one American, considering the special teams value LaFrance and Morris bring along with their Canadian passports, means it could come down to a call between Marshall and Richardson, based on how the team has constructed their roster in 2017.

Marshall is set to be activated for Week 18. Both Marshall and Richardson are on the roster, but when LaFrance gets healthy it will make the choice tougher. The play of Marshall and Richardson could decide the roster in the future.

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