Peyton Manning set out a couple hours of his Wednesday to sit down for an interview cram session with nine media outlets as part of DirecTV's satellite media tour to kick off the season. Here were some of the highlights from his answers:
He sees the Broncos building throughout the season
With the offensive line planning on entering the regular season with four new starters, Peyton Manning said he thinks the team will build throughout the season to improve week to week.
"I think the key for us is just to continue to get better throughout the entire season, to try to win as many games as we can as we're still learning about ourselves and kind of forming that chemistry — and I believe we will," Manning said in an interview with Yahoo! Sports' Evan Doherty. "I think we'll continue to get better and hopefully play our best football as the season goes on."
Evan Mathis' addition at left guard will be a major reason for that, Manning continued. Between rookie left tackle Ty Sambrailo and first-year center Matt Paradis, Mathis should be able to help out each young player beside him.
"Signing Evan Mathis is really going to help both Matt, our center, and Ty, our left tackle," Manning said in his interview with ESPN's NFL Live. "Both young players having a veteran player like Evan between them is going to help them and then having Louis Vasquez on the other side of Matt. So to have two veteran guards is going to help young guys out. Obviously [tackle] Ryan [Harris] on the right has been doing it for a long time. So I think the key for us is just to keep improving throughout the season. It's not going to be this finely tuned machine because these guys have not played together in Week 1. But we can still move the ball, we can still produce, we can still win games, I believe. I think we'll just keep getting better throughout the season."
He also detailed how he and the offensive line are getting up to speed with a nearly entirely new group up front.
"We're spending a lot of time talking in between practices, during walk-throughs, going through different scenarios, making calls, just trying to speak the same language, and we've really used this week to our advantage because we're not going to play on Thursday against Arizona," Manning said. "We've kind of worked on different types of communication, getting some early starts on Baltimore. So I think that will help us out as well."
Elaborating on the loss of sensation in his fingers
When Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported Manning's comments that he has not regained feeling in the fingertips of his right hand, the report spread quickly. Manning was able to discuss how that physical development has affected him during his conversations on Wednesday.
"I get to see Peter King once a year and he comes in with some off-the-wall questions, and he asked me, 'Do you still have feeling in those two fingers?' because he and I discussed that four years ago," Manning said.
"It's just something I've had to adjust to. It's why I have to wear that glove quite often in certain weather situations. I've never had to wear a glove my entire career in Indianapolis. Jeff [Saturday] and I won a Super Bowl together in a monsoon down there in Miami and no glove, not a single fumbled snap, not a single ball that got away from me due to bad weather, which is a huge reason, I think, why we won that game. We handled the rain that night."
After neck surgeries in the years before he became a Bronco, his fingers lost their sensation and he combatted that by wearing a glove.
"Since then, due to my neck surgeries and loss of sensation in my fingers, I've had to wear a glove," Manning said. "My grip is not as good as it used to be. So it's just been part of the adjustment. And like I've said all along, I'm a different player than I was before I was injured, but I've been able to adjust in different ways."
Enjoying bad comedy and jealousy of Eli's DirecTV commercial
Asked about his brother's DirecTV commercial in which Eli plays two characters—himself, and himself as a bad comedian he would be if he had cable—Peyton said he was jealous.
"I'm jealous because he said they let him keep the costume," Manning said. "He's got his Halloween costume for the year. That's big, right? It's hard finding a new and fresh costume every year and I thought it was really funny."
But he also found the ad relatable, because he and Eli have often seen the bad comedian who endeavors through a speech with jokes only to receive applause or jokes in pity.
"I think we know a good comedian, a good joke, [and we] know what a bad joke is," Manning said in his interview with DirecTV's The Rich Eisen Show. "We've been there a lot when a person at a speech is trying to tell a joke and has bombed, just the awkwardness, that silence and the fake, token claps or laughs. Eli and Cooper and I have enjoyed laughing at the expense of that bad comedian or wannabe comedian. So I could really identify with Eli's commercial."
Fatherhood during football season
As the son of former NFL great Archie Manning, Peyton is obviously no stranger to parenting in the NFL. The life of an NFL player with his demanding schedule and travel poses challenges, but whenever he can have his children around, it's a joy for Manning.
QB Peyton Manning was on hand at the 2015 ESPY Awards where he won best 'Record Breaking Performance' after clinching the NFL career record for touchdown passes with 509.
"I certainly enjoy being a father," Manning told The Rich Eisen Show. "I enjoy having my kids around at training camp practices. Coach Kubiak's real good about letting guys bring their kids around and so I've certainly enjoyed that part of it. I got to be an NFL player's son for 8 years and most of my memories are not necessarily from a game but maybe being at a training camp practice or being in a locker room. I'm not really sure what my kids will remember once they get older, but I certainly enjoy having them around. It definitely changes your priorities and changes your perspective on things."