GREEN BAY - As the majority of his Green Bay Packers teammates were put through special-teams drills Tuesday, running back Ty Montgomery worked with two coaches off to the side of the field. He was boxed in by a handful of cones representing the pocket, and it was Montgomery's job to pick up an incoming blitz.
Pass protection is likely to be a significant factor as the coaches determine Montgomery's playing time this season. If he shows the necessary skills to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers, then Montgomery has the potential to be a three-down running back. If he doesn't, expect fullback Aaron Ripkowski or one of the rookies to earn a bigger piece of the pie, especially on passing downs.
"It’s a mindset," Montgomery said. "This is what I’ve learned, this is what I’ve been taught: the mindset. It’s a fight, and you’ve got to be willing to go out there and fight. You have to have the mindset of, ‘I wish they would blitz,’ you know what I mean? That’s where I’m getting to. That’s where I’m at right now. I’m ready to go try it out."
One of Montgomery's best resources during practice is Brandon Jackson, the former Packers running back who is now a coaching intern with the team. Jackson was one of the best pass-protecting tailbacks in recent memory, according to offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett, and he spent time with Montgomery on Tuesday.
The drill worked like this: Running backs coach Ben Sirmans would call out a type of blitz. Jackson, holding a large pad, would move into position as the blitzer. Montgomery, operating out of the coned pocket, would attack Jackson to make the block.
Then, after each rep, Jackson analyzed the performance.
"He’s been very influential," Montgomery said. "He’s given me so much knowledge from what he has and his mindset and how he approached it. Even physically with my technique and things like that, I feel so much more comfortable. I’m ready to go put it to use. I’m ready to go try it out on somebody."
Attendance report: All players with six or more years of experience were excused from this week's minicamp by coach Mike McCarthy.
Cornerbacks Herb Waters and Demetri Goodson, outside linebacker Vince Biegel, center Corey Linsley, wide receiverMichael Clark and tight end Beau Sandland did not practice due to injury. Waters had his right arm in a sling but described the injury as minor.
Defensive tackle Izaah Lunsford dropped out of practice with an injury.