Montee Ball ducked into the lobby and walked through a tunnel of cameras at Lucas Oil Stadium. What does this not-so-fast, not-so-strong, not-so. . . anything. . . running back expect to run in the 40? "We'll see. Sunday will show what that will be," Ball said. "Fast. Fast. I don't know. 4.24?" Ball laughed. He knows he won't touch Chris Johnson's record at the NFL scouting combine. But with a nod and an "of course," he also agreed that this 40-yard dash will be critical. And with two more steps, Ball exited into the hallway. This isn't only an important week for Ball. It's a gut-check week and off-season for the running back position in Green Bay. Last season was a prolonged open audition in the Packers' backfield. Five players in all - including one person selling cars and another the team refused to re-sign for months - took turns as the lead back. Here in Indianapolis, the Packers can talk to alternatives. Wisconsin's Ball and Alabama's Eddie Lacy are two players who could be available at the Packers' 26th pick. Both offer a different element. About a half-hour after Ball spoke, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in that same lobby that a "three-down back is what you want to play with." The Packers must figure out if that player is already on the roster, in free agency or at the scouting combine. "No one likes to come out of the game," McCarthy said, "and I'd rather them stay in the game. Just looking back at my experiences, it's nicer when you have one guy and you're feeding him." To recap, the baton was passed from Cedric Benson to Alex Green to James Starks to Green to Ryan Grant to DuJuan Harris. At times, backs split carries. Other times, one shouldered the load. By season's end, Harris finished as the Packers' No. 1 back. The 5-foot-9, 208-pounder carried the ball 42 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns in Green Bay's final three games.
Packers looking for a three-down running back
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Feb 23