No player benefitted more from Demaryius Thomas' absence during the Broncos' offseason than Cody Latimer. With the three-time Pro Bowler not under contract, Latimer got the repetitions with the first team that eluded him last year, and the progress was obvious.
"I’m really excited about what he can bring and I know he’s a lot better now than when he started," HC Gary Kubiak said. "I’m excited moving forward.”
Latimer is a player to monitor this offseason, especially with the news that Emmanuel Sanders is going to play the slot in three-receiver sets. Latimer had a disappointing rookie season and wasn't even able to beat out Andre Caldwell. New HC Gary Kubiak favors two-TE sets, so Latimer’s snaps may be limited. The third receiver in Baltimore didn’t even play half the snaps under Kubiak. Latimer’s talent may earn him a larger role, but that remains to be seen.
Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer, a second-round pick who flashed plenty of potential in training camp, struggled at times with the learning curve and the team’s scheme, finishing with just 37 snaps in 2014.
“I felt like I kept myself ready to contribute last year, but this year I feel like I’m much more prepared," Latimer said. “... I think the study part of it, you learn what it takes. I think I can contribute, and I just want to do what I can to be ready when they want me to play."
“Cody has everything he needs to be one of those guys to make an impact in this league," WR Emmanuel Sanders said. “We expect big things … you could see it in practice last year; he’s ready to do some things."
With Demaryius Thomas having skipped the Broncos’ offseason workout after they put the franchise player tag on him, Latimer spent the offseason largely working as the team’s No. 2 wide receiver (he did miss some of the work with a sore hamstring). The Broncos see Latimer as the No. 3 behind Thomas and Sanders, the story said. Latimer comes in 67th on our WR list with an ADP of the 14th round so some are taking a late-round flier on him. The Broncos are expected to run a bit more to try and save QB Peyton Manning, so the Broncos WR3 spot may not hold the fantasy value it once did.
Former scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah joined Rob Ellis and Harry Mayes on 97.5 The Fanatic to offer his thoughts on the state of the Eagles heading into camp.
Nelson Agholor came up in the conversation. While Jeremiah might not be totally on board with the NFL exec that thinks Agholor is a number one receiver, he is high on the former USC wideout.
"I think he's a big-time guy. Ideally to me he is a great number two, I don't think in terms of the size and physicality that I would want in my number one guy, but I think he can be an outstanding number two," he said. "There's a lot of guys with his skill set that have been very, very successful. Emmanuel Sanders is who he reminds me of, and we've seen what he can do both in Pittsburgh and out in Denver. I think he's outstanding. He's very tough and he's very instinctive and I think he's one of these guys that we saw last year where all these rookies jumped right in, no adjustment period; I think he's going to fall into that [category]. He's going to jump right in and be ready to go."
Broncos HC Gary Kubiak's relationship with WR Cody Latimer dates back 13 months. Latimer visited the Baltimore Ravens leading up to the 2014 draft, meeting with Kubiak, then the Ravens' offensive coordinator. He told Latimer their paths would cross again. Their intersection in Denver — sooner than either expected — brings lofty expectations.
"He showed a lot of flashes from me watching (film of) him in practice," Kubiak said. "A lot of times being a rookie can be over- whelming. I think it's time for him to make a big jump, not just a little jump. Obviously his playing time is fixing to pick up, and it needs to pick up. We need him."
Kubiak has a reputation for preferring two-TE sets over three-WR sets, which may limit Latimer's upside. The Ravens' WR3, Marlon Brown, played 40 percent of the snaps last season, so it remains to be seen if Latimer gets enough run to be fantasy relevant. He's at best the Broncos' WR3 behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Kubiak's tendencies mean that Latimer will have to carve out snaps -- they won't be handed to him.
Thursday, April 16, 2015, 12:54pm
Second-year receiver Cody Latimer benefited from extra reps at workouts with Peyton Manning at Duke University. He received pointers that could accelerate his learning curve with the new offense. Manning had Latimer run routes that might be incorporated into the scheme of new Broncos coach Gary Kubiak.
"He texted me, and I asked if I could go down there," Latimer said of Manning. "It meant a lot."
Latimer spent his offseason training in Florida. "It really helped give me a headstart," he said.
Latimer is a player to monitor this offseason, especially with the news that Emmanuel Sanders is going to play the slot in three-receiver sets. Latimer had a disappointing rookie season and wasn't even able to beat out Andre Caldwell. However, it takes time to earn Manning's trust, and the franchise didn't draft him in the second round to ride the proverbial pine.
"On my Twitter, I'm vocal about Cody because I believe in Cody," he said. "Cody is a special player. He has strong hands and is a physical tool. I think this is going to be the year that he jumps onto the scene. I think he's going to have a big year and I'm happy he's on my team and in our receiver group."
In past seasons, Latimer would jump out as a breakout candidate in a Peyton Manning-led Broncos offense. This year could be different, however, with the team expected to lean harder on their running game in Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme.
Latimer is going to have a bigger role. How much bigger remains to be seen.
Latimer is a player to monitor this offseason, especially with the news that Sanders is going to play the slot in three-receiver sets. Latimer had a disappointing rookie season and wasn't even able to beat out Andre Caldwell. However, it takes time to earn Peyton Manning's trust, and the franchise didn't draft him in the second round to ride the proverbial pine.
Sanders performed very well in the slot last season, though he spent a majority of the time on the outside. He'll continue to play outside in two-WR sets and then move inside when the Broncos add a receiver to the formation. Sanders finished #5 in PPR formats and #7 in standard formats after catching 101 passes for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns. With TE Julius Thomas gone, we wouldn't expect Sanders' targets to drop much, so his 3rd round ADP in early drafts looks quite reasonable. We expect Cody Latimer to compete with Andre Caldwell for snaps in three-WR sets.
Latimer is a player to monitor this offseason, especially if Wes Welker retires and Emmanuel Sanders moves inside. Latimer had a disappointing rookie season and wasn't even able to beat out Andre Caldwell. However, it takes time to earn Peyton Manning's trust, and the franchise didn't draft him in the second round to ride the proverbial pine.
Welker, who ranks 20th all time among receivers with 890 career catches, said Monday he intends to play on.
"Just getting ready for 2015," Welker told The Denver Post via text.
FoxSports.com cited sources in its report on Feb. 10 that Welker was considering retirement.
"Never ever came out of my mouth," Welker said.
Where Welker plays is uncertain. He becomes an unrestricted free agent on March 10.
Welker's numbers were way down last year (49-464-2) compared to his first season in Denver (73-778-10) even though he played one additional game. The Broncos' pass attempts dropped by 10 percent, and Welker's targets took the biggest hit. We don't expect him to be back in Denver, especially if the team is serious about getting Cody Latimer more involved. Emmanuel Sanders can play the slot with (free agent) Demaryius Thomas and Latimer playing on the outside.
If the Broncos continue emphasizing three-WR sets, and Wes Welker does not return, there's a role for WR Cody Latimer, perhaps lining up outside with Emmanuel Sanders moving into the slot in that package, or even in the slot, on routes like the one he ran in Dallas in the preseason finale last summer.
One aspect of Latimer's skill set that must be noted is his blocking ability, considered by some to be the best among last year's wide receiver class. If he can take his outside blocking skills and transfer them to the inside -- not as a tight end, but standing up in a tight slot alignment -- then the Broncos could have the blocking effectiveness of a two-tight end set with a three-wide receiver formation.
Latimer is unproven, but presents possibilities that the new coaching staff will likely explore.
Latimer is a player to monitor this offseason, especially if Welker retires and Sanders moves inside. Latimer had a disappointing rookie season and wasn't even able to beat out Andre Caldwell. However, it takes time to earn Peyton Manning's trust and the franchise didn't draft him in the second round to ride the proverbial pine.
According to three trustworthy sources, Peyton Manning wants to return to the Broncos, but won't and can't make a final decision until he takes an annual physical examination mandated by his contract. Last year, the test results were learned at the beginning of March. The Broncos have requested that Manning let them know his plans by March 9 — the day before teams must exercise their rights on veteran players under contract. Manning, who turns 39 on March 24, is due $19 million next season.
Following the game, Manning said he injured his leg on a throw to Sanders. There was some thought that he had hurt it on an 8-yard completion to Sanders with 2:43 to play in the first half or three plays before he left the field and went up the tunnel to the visitors' locker room. But after the 12-yard completion with 5:39 left, Manning can be seen flexing his leg and grimacing as he moves to call the next play.
Broncos doctors knew about the injury, and Manning did what he could to intentionally conceal the injury from as many people as he could, sources said.
Manning averaged just 240 yards and 0.8 TD (against 1.2 INT) in his last five games, so the quad injury explains a lot. He's mulling his future, and his potential retirement would drastically change the fantasy landscape in Denver.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (hip, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 17. Sanders should be fine to play in an important game for the Broncos.
Renck also tweeted that there's no reason to expect Sanders not to play in Week 16. Sanders will get some extra time since the game is Monday night in Cincy.
Friday, November 21, 2014, 6:26pm
Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion, probable) took full practice reps Friday after missing practice earlier in the week and is probable for Week 12. In a surprise development, Sanders is in for Week 12. Consider him a strong WR2 in a tough matchup against the Dolphins. It’ll be tough to bench him given the way he has played this season.
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