GREEN BAY – Through the first two days of training camp, rookie receiver Ty Montgomery was becoming known as the young guy asking all the questions in the meeting room.
On day three, he made a name for himself on the field as well.
As Montgomery made catch after catch at Nitschke Field on Saturday, it was easy to see why the Packers drafted him in the third round this past spring.
He made a diving grab on a short throw from Scott Tolzien, caught a quick hitch from Aaron Rodgers and made a touch catch in traffic on a quick slant from Brett Hundley.
Montgomery then capped his big day with a twisting, leaping sideline catch on a deep ball from Hundley, beating solid coverage from undrafted rookie cornerback LaDarius Gunter on the eye-popping play.
If Montgomery goes on to have the type of rookie season that Green Bay receivers such as Randall Cobb and Davante Adams have enjoyed before him, this will be a day remembered as one that announced his arrival.
“In between the whistles in practice, I’m here, I can’t really think I’m a rookie or anything like that, because I have to do my job,” Montgomery said. “But I feel like a rookie when the vets ask me to carry their pads after practice.”
He feels young in the meeting room, too, where his questions apparently are constant. Head Coach Mike McCarthy calls the Stanford grad “very bright,” believes he’s grasping things well and seems to appreciate his thirst for knowledge, even if Montgomery worries his coaches and teammates are getting annoyed with him sometimes.
“I ask a lot of questions. I’ve always been that way,” he said. “I want to make sure I understand everything and I want to understand why everything is the way it is.
“That makes anything easier, when you understand why because then you don’t have to just memorize it.”
Spoken like a student looking for an edge, and Montgomery definitely has one, even if Rodgers from rival Cal-Berkeley gives him grief occasionally about his choice of school.
The quarterback’s relationship with his newest target goes beyond playful ribbing, though.
“He’s very helpful,” Montgomery said. “He’ll coach me up on routes while we’re on the field. He’ll coach us up in meetings and ask us questions to make sure we know what we know.”
The Packers also know Montgomery can help their return game, and he was the first one taking reps on kickoff return Friday, followed by Micah Hyde. A day earlier, Cobb and Hyde were the first two options on punt return.
With five returns for TDs to his credit in college (three kickoffs, two punts), Montgomery is a believer in the impact of special teams. Quiet the first two practices when hardly any passes were thrown his way, it was almost as though Friday’s early kickoff return work provided a jump-start to his big day.
In addition to his multiple catches, he also found some open field on an end-around, showing that his versatility from college (he had 36 rushing attempts and three rushing TDs his last two years at Stanford) could carry over to the NFL.
“They haven’t said anything to me about that,” Montgomery said. “I think they just expect me to be the receiver they drafted me to be, as well as the returner.”
If there was a defensive star in the first full-pads practice, it was probably outside linebacker Andy Mulumba. Returning from a torn ACL, Mulumba hadn’t put on pads since Week 2 last September when he got hurt, but he was in the backfield multiple times in the half-line run drill.
“All I need is to trust my knee, trust my workout and the way I’ve trained the entire offseason, and it’s probably going to show up on the field, and I think it showed up,” he said. “I just have to stay consistent.”
A third-year pro who made the roster in 2013 as an undrafted rookie transitioning to a new position, Mulumba is no longer learning the outside linebacker spot but “playing ahead of the game and anticipating what’s coming at me.”
“That’s the mentality I have going into every practice,” he said. “Hopefully I can show the coaches and the trainers that I’m available, and whenever they need me they can put me out and I’m ready to go.”