GREEN BAY – The announcement of the Packers’ new coaching staff Wednesday contained one minor surprise when Jerry Montgomery was introduced as defensive line coach.
The 38-year-old native of Los Angeles was slated to join Jimbo Fisher’s new coaching staff at Texas A&M before recently opting to return to the Packers, with whom he’d spent the past three seasons.
Known as a top-flight college recruiter, Montgomery rose up the coaching ranks at Michigan and Oklahoma prior to joining the Packers’ coaching staff as a defensive front assistant in 2015.
“I had a great opportunity to go to a great program and be with a great coaching staff,” Montgomery said. “I think A&M and Coach Fisher are going to do really well there. At the end of the day, the best opportunity for me and my family was here in Green Bay.”
A father of four, Montgomery spent the past three years assisting Mike Trgovac in developing Pro Bowl defensive tackle Mike Daniels and promising first-round pick Kenny Clark, who led Green Bay’s defensive line with 53 tackles and 4½ sacks this past season.
The bonds Montgomery and his family formed in the area made it difficult to leave. After entertaining the Texas A&M opportunity, Montgomery ultimately boarded a plane back to Green Bay, met with Head Coach Mike McCarthy and agreed to rejoin the Packers as defensive line coach.
Under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, Montgomery expects the Packers to play an aggressive brand of defense in 2018, mixing it up on third down and stopping the run.
Montgomery said he’ll work with associate head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss in running the Packers’ pressure packages. Green Bay’s defense consistently had been one of the league leaders in sacks under Dom Capers before tying for 17th this past season with 37.
“Sometimes newness is good and change is good,” Montgomery said. “I think for the guys, everybody that's here, is going to start on a fresh slate and we’ll get an opportunity to get out there and play in front of some new coaches and fly around.
“I think the newness of it is going to be a big part of it. But I look forward to being a part of it because I think with being multiple the guys are going to buy in.”
As the defensive line coach, Montgomery plans to lead with the same high energy he’s been known for during his time in Green Bay. He also doesn’t envision a massive changing of the guard with him in charge of the defensive line since both he and Trgovac were “cut from the same cloth” as coaches.
While it’s been an admittedly hectic month, Montgomery is ready to continue his work with Clark, 2016 fourth-round pick Dean Lowry and 2017 third-rounder Montravious Adams, whose rookie season was sidetracked by a foot injury in training camp.
It wasn’t easy to leave the offer from Texas A&M on the table, but Montgomery believes he’s where he needs to be in Green Bay.
“Texas A&M is one of the only sleeping giants in college football left,” Montgomery said. “It was a great opportunity to be a part of that staff. I think they're going to do great things. I think they've got a good staff in place.
“But at the end of the day, it was about me and my family and being in Green Bay was the best thing for us. I'm happy to be back.”