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Cody Latimer's consistency growing as role increases


INDIANAPOLIS —** Cody Latimer has had games like this before.

This kind of performance — three catches, 60 yards and a touchdown — isn't a completely new development for him, and he and his teammates made sure to emphasize that after the Broncos' 25-13 win over the Colts.

Rather, they say Latimer simply took advantage of opportunities that don't often arise because the lion's share of passes so often go to Pro Bowlers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders and the other starting players on the Broncos offense.

"He's just taking advantage of his opportunities," Thomas said. "Since Day 1, Cody's had the ability, the talent and everything to do this. He's just taking advantage of his chances. They get him the opportunities and he's taking advantage of them. He always had the speed, the strength and the go-get to go do it. He's just in and taking advantage of it. I always knew he had it."

But the most emphatic response came from Bradley Roby, and that may be because Latimer's route hasn't been so far off from his own.

The two entered the league together as the Broncos' first- and second-round picks in 2014, but while Roby was immediately thrown into the fire to develop as offenses played more three- or four-receiver formations, Latimer was not relied upon so early like that.

At that time, the team had veterans like Wes Welker and Andre Caldwell that played significant roles behind Thomas and Sanders. After that season, the Broncos hired Gary Kubiak and the offense shifted to more of a run-heavy approach from the spread offense that utilized so many receivers. But now that the offense has re-emphasized more three-wide receiver sets, Latimer has had greater opportunity to showcase his development as a receiver.

"Man, Cody been doing that since I got here," Roby said. "He just never really got opportunities like that. First couple years, it was a running offense, and now he's just starting to get opportunities now. Me and Chris [Harris Jr.] been saying that if Cody gets in the game, he's gonna ball.

"… People are surprised now, but he's been doing that in practice. I'm just happy he's getting the opportunity to show what he's doing. Just doing it every week now is big."

Latimer's recent numbers have shown as much, too. The fourth-year receiver has caught 17 passes over the last eight games for 265 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In that time, Latimer is third among the Broncos' receivers in receptions, behind just Thomas and Sanders.

"It's not my first good game, but I just try to string all the games together," Latimer said. "Just keep being consistent."

Thomas sees Latimer's production in limited opportunities as similar to Roby in that their roles only hint at what they're capable of doing.

"Both of them can be starters anywhere in this league," Thomas said. "They've just got guys ahead of them that can play, as well. They're both doing a great job this year making plays, and we'll see what happens from here."

For his part, Latimer is going forward with the same mindset that's helped him put together the little run he has going.

"It all depends on the preparation," Latimer said. "You prepare right throughout the week for when your time is called. I go into the game [thinking], 'Just play as hard as I can, as fast as I can and never give up for the team — special teams, offense, whatever.' If the ball comes my way, just make a play on it, because opportunities are limited with our two great receivers we have, along with Bennie [Fowler III], along with J.T. [Jordan Taylor], everybody that can make plays. So when we get our opportunities, they're limited. When we get them, we've got to take advantage of them."

Photos from the Broncos' team photographers of the Broncos' Week 15 game against the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photos by Gabriel Christus unless noted)

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