GREEN BAY – Ty Montgomery couldn't ask for a better tutor this spring as he polishes up his pass-protection skills.
Former Packers running back Brandon Jackson has spent a chunk of the offseason in Green Bay as a coaching intern, and he was seen working one-on-one with Montgomery in pass-blocking drills in Tuesday's first minicamp practice.
Jackson, a second-round draft pick in 2007, made a name for himself in Green Bay's offense as a third-down back and effective pass protector. He came into the NFL very raw in that area and developed it into a strength, and now he's been passing along his tools and tips to Montgomery.
"It's a blessing and a benefit to have Brandon back here," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said prior to Wednesday's practice. "On a personal note, it's nice to help former players in the coaching profession.
"He's got a bright future ahead of him. To get in there and have hands-on work with the young running backs has been a great benefit."
McCarthy noted that Jackson, a member of the Packers' Super Bowl XLV team before leaving Green Bay as a free agent, looks like he could still play. McCarthy joked that the team physician, Dr. Pat McKenzie, wanted to give him a physical when he first saw him.
Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett was Jackson's position coach when he played for the Packers, and the pairing of Jackson working with Montgomery in his first full year as a running back was a natural one. Jackson was as trusted in pass protection as any running back Bennett worked with.
"As far as knowing his assignment and the fundamentals and technique and how to get it done, he was one of the best by far," Bennett said. "For Ty getting an opportunity to spend some time with Brandon, it helps from more of a technical standpoint than anything else. I think it's certainly beneficial for him to learn from a player of Brandon's caliber."
With two practices remaining in the offseason, McCarthy stressed that the young players are not only getting more reps, but moving around and playing multiple positions, particularly on defense.
The extra work expands their knowledge of the playbook and puts them in better position to compete for playing time in training camp.
"We want to get into as many sub-personnel groups as we possibly can," said McCarthy, estimating that the defense has been using around 85 percent sub-packages this spring in the non-padded practices. "We haven't gotten into team run or play-action pass at all, and we've been focused on the pass and pass rush."