Peyton Manning said he is still adjusting to what he calls "a different body" since his neck surgeries in 2011.
Manning said he has made several tweaks to his game to compensate for those differences. The most visible change started a few weeks ago when Manning wore a glove on his throwing hand for the first time in his career.
Part of Peyton Manning's adjustment to his new team has included two new additions to his practice and game-day wardrobe: A pair of orange gloves.
Manning began wearing the gloves in practice in late December to prepare to play in cold weather, and on Tuesday confirmed that he has also chosen to wear them as part of his recovery from his 2011 spinal fusion surgery.
Manning dealt with nerve damage and weakness in his right arm after the surgery, and the glove helps improve his grip on the ball, something that becomes more challenging in frigid temperatures.
"I certainly don't think I would have had to wear the glove if I hadn't been injured last year. It is part of my injury, and one of the things I've had to adjust," Manning said Tuesday. "I've been pretty consistent in letting you guys know that all year long, that I'm in a different body, some things are different for me and I'll have to adjust. That's the reason for that, as much as anything."
Manning's Broncos are undefeated in his two games with the glove, and he has thrown for 643 yards, six touchdowns and one interceptions in those games against Cleveland and Kansas City.
"I love the glove. Love the glove, baby," tight end Jacob Tamme said. "Other than seeing it, I would never know he's got it on. Whatever works for him. I think he's up for trying whatever helps, whatever helps him be a better QB. And right now, it might be the glove. If the glove helps, he's up for it."
Manning never wore a glove on his throwing hand while he played for the Colts, and didn't wear one here in Denver until wintery weather hit. That includes playing bare-handed on Dec. 16 in Denver's 34-17 win against the Ravens in Baltimore.
Ravens players have noticed Manning has added the glove, and several defensive players said it was a sign that Manning might be concerned about ball security or the weather.
"Maybe we need to go after the ball a little bit more when we're going at him in the pocket," said outside linebacker Albert McClellan.
The Broncos are practicing this week in unseasonably warm weather, but are preparing for a storm to arrive by Saturday's divisional playoff game against Baltimore, with forecast high temperatures in the low 20s, and a slight chance of snow.
"The cold is going to play to our advantage, if that's what he's saying," said nose tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu. "It's going to be a really cold day out there. You always try to get in there and take him down, Peyton Manning is one of the best of all time. We want to get in there and affect him. At the same time you have to try not to get a penalty for hitting Peyton Manning."
Manning made it clear on Tuesday, though, that he was far more focused on the Ravens' defense than the likelihood of cold weather. Baltimore's defense has three starters back who missed the first game against the Broncos on Dec. 16, including linebacker Ray Lewis, who announced he is retiring after this season.
Manning is 7-2 in nine games against the Ravens when Lewis has played - with the two losses coming in 1998 and 2001. (Manning has led his teams to two other wins against Baltimore without Lewis.) Manning said he would find time soon to speak to Lewis about his retirement.
"When the time is right I try to make it a private individual moment with that player, whether it's a letter or if I get a chance to spend time with him and let them know sort of how I feel about them as a player, and sort of my reflections on them. I think sometimes when you say it in front of a lot of people, it's not quite the same and as personal," Manning said. "I think Ray Lewis knows how I feel about him, and I'll share that at the appropriate time."