Broncos mailbag: Will Cody Latimer make the team?

Will Cody Latimer make the roster this year considering all of the wide receiver competition?

Steve Browning

Steve—I have Latimer making the team. It appears the Broncos are planning on keeping six receivers for their 53-man roster. Four are set: Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and rookies Carlos Henderson, who was drafted in the third round, and Isaiah McKenzie, a fifth rounder who is expected to be the Broncos’ returner and occasional offensive multi-threat option.

That leaves a terrific competition for the final two receiver spots from this group: Latimer, Bennie Fowler III, Jordan Taylor, Kalif Raymond, Marlon Brown and Hunter Sharp.

These final two receivers must be core special teamers and Latimer is easily the best special teamer. He also had a fine spring lining up as the Broncos’ No. 3 receiver. I think Fowler has the edge for the No. 6 spot.

But that’s how it looks as the Broncos are on vacation in late-June. Training camp and the preseason will have more to say on all receiver spots after Thomas and Sanders.

Stuff happens. Taylor, Raymond, Brown and Sharp all have a shot.

In your opinion, does Kyle Sloter show enough talent to be compete for the QB position in the future? Thanks.

Christopher Gray Evans

Christopher—Sloter did shown a strong arm during the Broncos’ offseason practices. And he’s a good athlete.

The former Southern Miss and Northern Colorado receiver had a terrific senior year as a one-year starting quarterback for the UNC Bears in 2016.

He got plenty of reps for the Broncos this offseason because seventh-round rookie Chad Kelly was sidelined to recover from a torn ACL in his knee and torn ligaments in his right throwing wrist.

Sloter won’t make the Broncos’ season-opening roster and because the team already has three young quarterbacks, I don’t see them keeping him for their practice squad, either.

I’m not going to count Sloter out, though. He might have to bounce around for a few years, go from team to team and spend a couple years on various practice squads. And he’ll need some luck.

The key for him going forward will be to stay at it. He might get cut, demoralized, forced to find employment in professional leagues other than the NFL. He might even have to stock shelves in a grocery store for a few months.

But if he stays at it, he might have a shot.  

With your vast experience as an insider of the Denver Broncos, what most caught your eye in the work of the new coaching staff? Were there many changes in the form of training since leaving of Gary Kubiak?

I'm from Brazil, I have a website called Broncos Brasil, and we love your job, Mike.

Sávio Pereira Ferreira

Sávio—The expanse of the Broncos’ fan base cannot be overestimated. In the offseason, we don’t really interact with the coaches much other than the top guy, Vance Joseph.

Using only Broncos head coaches I’ve covered for comparison, he’s a little like John Fox in that Joseph is an overseer who pays a little more attention to the defense.

Gary Kubiak was a hands-on coach with the offense, especially with young quarterbacks. Kubiak didn’t bother with the defense. He let Wade Phillips handle that side. Come to think of it, Phillips didn’t bother much with the defense, either. He let his defensive assistants run practice.

I would say Joseph’s practices were similar to that of Kubiak’s. Joseph had his regulars practice a little more than did Kubiak, who was always conscious about saving his veteran’s legs. I think Kubiak gave the team the final minicamp practice off the previous two years. Joseph had them practice till the end. I thought Joseph made a terrific offseason debut, for what that’s worth.

I don’t much evaluate the process, Sávio. The NFL is all about results. There are different methods that work. We’ve seen New England assistant coaches fail using the exact same methods as Bill Belichick. We’ve seen head coaches succeed when they spent much of their time working the periphery of the job.

Kubiak was 24-11 with a Super Bowl ring during his two years as the Broncos’ head coach. That’s going to be difficult for Joseph to beat. All we really know about this new coaching staff is its 0-0.

Ever since we decided to hire Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator again, I've been wondering if either Trevor Siemian or Peyton Lynch have somehow been able to get a hold of Peyton Manning (or will in the future) for some tips on how to run the nuances of the offense that he himself spent a few years in playing at an extremely high level? Do you think there is also any chance the Broncos bring him back in the building for a couple practices to help these two develop? Thanks!

Nate Healy, Los Angeles

Nate—Manning did attend one offseason practice. And I do think it would be a good idea for Manning to show up for a day during training camp. Allow him to watch practice, go through the practice film in the afternoon meeting with the quarterbacks, talk offense during lunch. It would probably be a better idea to have him spend a day with McCoy and quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave.

But otherwise, the idea of the former great giving tips to current players – it doesn’t work like that. Coaching is such a relationship-based business. Manning isn’t around. He doesn’t know Lynch. How’s he supposed to help a guy he doesn’t know?

He knows Siemian because they spent a year together in 2015 – Manning’s last; Siemian’s first. But Siemian and Lynch are so immersed with their own coaches all day during meetings and practice, the last thing they want to do is go home and have a former player tell them how it should be done. Even if it’s a former great player.

Besides, what made Manning great was his anticipation and timing with receivers during a live, game-day play. They were covered when he cocked his arm to throw as at least one pass rusher was closing in.

They were open by 5 yards by the time the ball landed in the receiver’s arms. No one ever threw- ‘em-open like Peyton Manning. No one ever will.

You can’t coach that. You can’t even explain it. You must feel it. You must develop that through playing.

Manning is better off scheduling out time for his kids’ functions. But a day back at the place he may so fondly refer to as UCHealth Training Center would be productive for all involved.

Hey Mike was wondering if there was any chance we might try to flip Latimer, or Sunshine Taylor for a linebacker like Mychal Kendricks. I know it would be taking on a bit of salary, but I would think he could replace David and give us two pretty good coverage linebackers. Your thoughts.

Adrian Watson

Adrian—By David, you mean David Trevathan? The Broncos already have two good inside linebackers in Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis. Marshall is a three-down, all-around linebacker who can cover. Davis is a sure tackler against the run.

Corey Nelson is a good coverage linebacker. Zaire Anderson is a good tackler against the run.

Kendricks has been a good linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles, but he’d be a backup on the Broncos. He only started half the games for Philadelphia last year. The Eagles were a top 13 defense last year; the Broncos were a top 4 defense.

The key for the Broncos’ inside linebacker unit this year is Marshall. Between offseason contract distraction, protest against social injustice distraction, and lingering hamstring injury, he did not play at the same level in 2016 as he did in 2015. The Broncos need Marshall to return to 2015 form.

 

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