RB Jackson Studies To Keep Up


Rather than be in Los Angeles two weeks ago for an NFL rookie promotional event, Packers second-round draft pick Brandon Jackson would have preferred to be in Green Bay, sweating it out through minicamp with his teammates.

So, with no choice but to fulfill the promotional obligation, Jackson made Los Angeles the site of his own little minicamp. Call it a mini-minicamp.

No, Jackson didn't line up his fellow NFL rookies in the hotel lobby and tell them clear him a running lane. But he spent plenty of time working on football nonetheless.

Before leaving Green Bay for LA, Jackson jotted down several of the plays he had begun learning during the Packers' rookie orientation in early May - he couldn't take his playbook with him for security reasons - and spent whatever free time he had in his hotel room, studying.

Now, back in Green Bay for OTA workouts, Jackson feels the extra homework he did on the West Coast was worth it. After getting through the first two OTAs without any major difficulties, he feels he minimized the setback by keeping himself mentally engaged in his running back responsibilities while he was away.

"At first I felt like it put me behind, but after getting in here and going through these plays, basically I know what to do when I first look at the play," Jackson said. "I feel like I'm caught up and everything's going well."

Despite missing the four minicamp practices, Jackson has made a smooth transition back to the playing field in part because he played in a similar zone-blocking, West Coast style of offense under Bill Callahan at Nebraska. He said he's still learning the different terminology in Head Coach Mike McCarthy's system, but thus far there are no other signs he's any further behind than any other first-year player.

"I think he looked like a normal rookie," McCarthy said after Thursday's workout. "I think he was feeling his way on some things. He understands what he's doing. He's picked it up very clean."

{sportsad300}Jackson has taken a little ribbing from his new teammates about preening for photos in the California sun while the rest of them were actually practicing on a cold and overcast Wisconsin spring weekend.

The jokes are all in good fun, and even though he made it clear he wanted to come to the minicamp to begin with, he attacked the field in the first two OTAs leaving no doubts about his work ethic.

"I'm very happy to be here," he said. "I just want to show them I'm hard working and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get out there and play."

Based on the order of the practice reps, Jackson is the No. 2 tailback behind Vernand Morency right now. Whether one of them emerges as the team's feature back or they ultimately share the job will be decided during training camp and the preseason games.

As expected, Jackson is aiming to be the No. 1 back, but he's well aware of the competition from Morency and others. So until the battle heats up later on, Jackson is going to maintain his study habits, wherever he is.

"They're telling me to get in my playbook, and stay in it," Jackson said. "This dictates why a lot of rookies don't play or play, just getting in your playbook and knowing everything."

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