CLEVELAND — When Eli Manning took the field Monday night for the first time this season, you may have noticed something different about him.
The Giants quarterback was wearing a glove. Just one glove. On his left hand.
He has been wearing it since the Giants returned to work in the spring. Monday night, though, was the first time it was put to the test.
“I’ve done it in certain games when it’s cold just to get a little extra grip,” Manning said on Saturday. “If you can get a little extra grip and it helps you hold on to the ball or it saves one fumble, it’s worth it.”
Manning hadn’t been sure if the glove would work. “We’ll see,” he said Saturday. “I haven’t been hit yet or tackled, so we are going to test it out to see if it helps.”
For Manning, that is the biggest difference between practicing and playing in a preseason game: the threat of being hit. If the pressure on Josh Johnson and Geno Smith last week, when they were sacked six times by the Steelers, is any indication of what Manning will face, he could be testing that glove quite a bit.
“For the first time in eight months, it’s live,” Manning said. “Now I know that these guys can hit me, they can tackle me, they can go at me. So I think it’s about] getting used to that, feeling things in the pocket, not looking at the rush, but feeling the rush and buying a little extra time or moving in the pocket and finding a completion.
“Sometimes you’ve got to run, sometimes you’ve got to scramble, sometimes that’s part of it. So it’s all about quarterback positions and feeling the rush, feeling the throwing lanes and making plays.”
And taking that first hit since early January.
“You never look forward to a hit, I don’t think,” Manning said, “but I think it’s good to get it under your belt and know that it will be OK.”