With two games left in the preseason, former Georgia running back Keith Marshall has a big opportunity to shine for the Washington Redskins.
Marshall is set to team with fellow rookie Robert Kelley to receive "the lion's share" of carries at running back at home against the Buffalo Bills on Friday.
“It will be interesting to watch these guys,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said earlier this week, according to Redskins.com.
Marshall’s chance has opened up because of an injury to another former Florida running back Matt Jones, the Redskins’ starter. Jones will miss the remainder of the preseason due to a shoulder injury.
Through two games this preseason, Marshall, a seventh-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, has received 15 carries but only 25 yards.
A former five-star prospect coming out of high school in the 2012 class, Marshall had his Georgia career disrupted by persistent knee injuries, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament on October 5, 2013 against Tennessee.
Marshall came back to play three games in the 2014 season and 11 more in 2015, but he never fully returned to his freshman level production. In 2012, alongside current Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, Marshall rushed for 759 yards and eight touchdowns on 117 carries.
The problem for Marshall in Washington has come not from injury, though, but from the emergence of Kelley. Signed as an undrafted free agent from Tulane, Kelley has carried 10 times for 48 yards and a touchdown in two preseason games.
Both of them, however, have caught the eye of Gruden.
“These guys have shown a lot of promise in training camp,” Gruden said of Marshall and Kelley. “We want to see them in game situations against a good Buffalo team and it will be a good test for them. Good for everybody.”
For now, Marshall is listed as the Redskins' third-string running back on the team’s depth chart behind Jones and Chris Thompson. Kelley is listed as “other,” along with former Florida running back Mack Brown, a second-year player, and rookie Kelsey Young.
The Redskins play their final preseason game on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 1. Their first regular-season game is on Sept. 12 in a Monday Night Football showdown at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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