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Cody Latimer shines in Broncos' opening win

CHICAGO –Soldier Field has been good to wide receiver Cody Latimer.

On Nov. 22, 2015, Latimer notched his first NFL touchdown on a 10-yard reception between two defenders.

During Thursday night's preseason opener against the Bears, Latimer picked up right where he left off.

When Trevor Siemian entered the game to begin the second quarter, he immediately looked to the third-year wide receiver.

Siemian's first throw: a seven-yard completion to Latimer. On the next play, he went right back to the Indiana product for seventeen more yards. And again the next play for seven more yards.

He hauled in another catch via Siemian on a later drive when he caught a short pass over the middle and took it for 21 yards.

"I think Cody's a heck of a player," Siemian said. "He's fast. He's physical. He creates separation. He did a heck of a job when I was in there and did the same for Paxton, and that's kind of what he's been doing all camp."

In all, Latimer led the team with seven receptions and 82 yards. And each time he touched the ball, he was a threat to take it a significant distance, as he averaged 11.7 yards per catch. His total Thursday surpassed his entire 2015 regular season output of six receptions and 59 yards.

"I think it was great," Latimer said. "It was good for me to do that because I've got to get the trust of my teammates. I've been showing it in camp this year and I've got to put it out in the game. I think I did a good job today but still a lot of room for improvement. Gotta go back … and get ready for next week."

No matter who was in at quarterback, Latimer found a way to find separation. For a team that's yet to name a starting quarterback, that's a good trait to have. 

"It's just them trusting in me," Latimer said. "It ain't got nothing to do with me. I just try to get open [and] them trusting to throw me the ball and hoping I'll make a play. I appreciate them them giving me the rock."

When rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch entered the game in the second half, Latimer was there as a safety net of sorts. And with two quick receptions, he showed the rookie what he can do when the reps count most.

"When Cody was in there I hit him twice, back-to-back," Lynch said. "What he can do when he's in there is really special.

"He just played well. He's a good ball player. You get the ball in his hands and you have opportunities to make plays."

In Latimer's eyes, Thursday's performance can be indicative of his season to come.

He said he viewed preseason games in a similar light as regular season games, and if his production is the same, he'll provide an unexpected burst for the Broncos offense. After the game, though, Head Coach Gary Kubiak may have been the least surprised of anyone regarding Latimer's production.

"You know what's interesting," Kubiak said, "guys that are having good camps, they come out and play good in preseason. Those things go hand in hand." 

And if you're Cody Latimer, some more Soldier Field magic doesn't hurt, either.

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