ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Jerry Jeudy of the Denver Broncos is just your friendly neighborhood wide receiver trying to go about the business of turning his flash-of-brilliance, flash-of-struggles rookie season into much, much more.
Jeudy is often economical with his words, but his actions -- in the form of training videos -- say plenty. Last offseason it was his feet. This offseason, on social media, Jeudy can be seen sprinting down the middle of his neighborhood with a Broncos helmet on.
"What happened was ... I was training and I felt like, 'Man, I need some conditioning' [and] I was already home when I thought about it," Jeudy said. "I was like, 'I need some more conditioning.' I just threw my helmet on, went out there and ran. That was basically it. I hadn't planned to go outside and run. It just happened like that. ... The neighbors came [out] as you can see on the video."
The video provides a glimpse into Jeudy's offseason as he tries to turn a mostly productive rookie season into something that is far more to his liking in 2021. Jeudy finished with 52 catches for 856 yards and three touchdowns last season. His yardage total was fourth among a historical rookie class of receivers, behind Justin Jefferson (1,400 yards), Tee Higgins (908) and Chase Claypool (873). And his yards per catch average -- 16.5 -- was second among rookies, behind only Gabriel Davis (17.1).
He also had more than a few drops, including a cringe-worthy five during a Week 16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
"I think a big thing that happened with Jerry -- like I told you guys back when it happened -- in the 15th game last year when he had some drops in that game, I thought it was going to be a defining moment in his career," said Broncos coach Vic Fangio in recent days. "… Then in our last game, he had a very good game and caught a bunch of balls for a bunch of yards. I think that was a very defining moment in his career. I see a more focused and more diligent receiver on the details. He knows he can't slack. I see a much more mature guy right now."
Part of the optimism is Jeudy, drops or not, seemed to have handled the most difficult part of being a rookie receiver in the league -- running routes with enough precision to create space against more physical NFL cornerbacks. He repeatedly got open against front-line cornerbacks, even after Courtland Sutton was no longer in the lineup due to a Week 2 knee injury. With Sutton out, Jeudy often found himself tracked by the No. 1 cornerback.
"I think he handled it well," said Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick. "Obviously, he could have handled it better at some points, but he was a rookie. He puts a lot on his shoulders, and he wants to be great really bad. Stuff happens. Going into Year 2 -- I've said it already, Jerry Jeudy is really good, like really, really good. For him, it's all mental at this point. He knows he can get open against anybody in this league."
"[It's] mostly concentration and focusing on the ball," Jeudy said. "I'm so quick to catch and run to hurry up and make a play instead of catching first, then run. That's mostly what is, just trying to make a play too fast."
Ultimately, that was the big picture takeaway across the board. Nobody, with Jeudy leading the way, was happy with the drops, especially the that-was-right-in-his-hands variety. Not from a guy taken with the 15th pick of the draft.
But Jeudy's five-catch, 140-yard performance in the season finale against the Las Vegas Raiders, seven days after what we had called the worst day of his football life, included a 92-yard catch-and-run touchdown. It was the longest pass play in the league last season.
Jeudy said he took that close-out game of his rookie season into his offseason work. He said he believes he has a better feel for the nuances of each pass play and how he fits with Sutton expected to return to a prominent role in the passing game as well.
"I feel like I've matured," Jeudy said. "You don't know what you're getting yourself into [during] your first year of doing something. This is my second year and I feel like I have learned a lot from my first year. I know how to overcome whatever I had in past years to make this year better."