ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Wide receiver Cody Latimer has come a long way since his first training camp in 2014. A combination of his youth and jitters held him back from the season he was hoping for – but now he has a chance to make up for lost time.
"I just needed to have confidence in myself," Latimer said. "Last year I was down. [I] was always nervous about getting in the huddle with Peyton [Manning] and not wanting to mess up. This year, it's just like, 'Go out there and play fast.' If you mess up, you mess up, as long as you're playing fast and keep making plays."
Last season, Latimer just skimmed the surface of his ability. He was active in eight games and totaled two receptions for 23 yards and two kickoff returns for 22 yards.
In 2015, Latimer has been playing fast and furious during training camp thus far. After getting plenty of repetitions during the offseason, he has impressed fans, coaches and teammates alike while showcasing highlight-reel catches and his sheer athleticism.
The Broncos were back on the field at UCHealth Training Center on Sunday, take a look at some of the photos from the morning's shooting period.
"I feel like I'm way more prepared this year," Latimer said. "Last year, still, like I said, I was nervous. It's coming into the league. You're nervous and 'man, I don't want to mess up. I don't want to do all these things in front of people and make sure I don't mess up.' This year I'm way more confident. I feel like it will be a good preseason for me."
Latimer may be able to attribute his preparedness to the amount of runs he's had since the offseason training activities.
"That kid's run more than anybody on this football team for the last year," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. "He runs a lot, so he's worn down. When he freshens up, you can watch him. When he's fresh in practice, things are good. Things are sharp. He's a vastly improved player from OTAs to now, and that's what we need."
One improvement Latimer has seen is in his relationship with Manning. His chemistry with the signal caller started to build this offseason when he and some Broncos worked out together at Manning's annual training session at Duke University. This coupled with his commitment to learning Kubiak and Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison's playbook has been the difference for Latimer.
"Studying—I got a head start down at Duke," said Latimer of changes from last year. "Now I go home every night and look over my plays. Even when we're on day eight install, you have to go back to day one and just make sure you keep mentally getting the reps because you don't ever know what they're going to call that day."
That preparedness will help when Latimer and the Broncos when they travel to Seattle this week for their first preseason game against the Seahawks on Friday at 8 p.m. MDT.
"I feel like I'm on a great pace right now," Latimer said. "There is always stuff that I can work on and there are still a lot of things that I do need to work on, but as of right now, in my position this year compared to last year, I'm way ahead."