Daniel Jones was impressive again, for the second time in two preseason games, so of course Pat Shurmur got the question again: With the way Jones is playing, is there any way he could compete to take Eli Manning's job by Opening Day?
Then came Shurmur's familiar dance, where he says "No" without actually saying "No," and closes the door while making it look like it's still open. This time he even made it seem like it wasn't his decision, as he deferred to John Mara. He even added, for good measure "I just get a sense once in a while that when I answer those questions nobody believes me."
And when he was finished, everyone was left with the same, old unanswered question: Could Manning really get pushed out sooner than later by Jones?
The truth, according to those inside the Giants organization, remains this: No. Not yet.
Also, inside the Giants organization, they wonder: What's the rush?
The rise of Jones in the minds of many - especially inside the Giants organization -- has been dizzying over the last four months. He went from being considered by too many outsiders to be a ridiculously high draft pick, an overreach by a clueless general manager, maybe the fourth or fifth best quarterback in the draft, to suddenly being a superstar in the making whose time has to be now. And it's all based on a few practices and a handful of drives against backups in two preseason games.
No doubt the 22-year-old Jones has been impressive. He looks confident and poised. His arm looks strong. He's athletic. He showed a resiliency on Friday night to bounce back from two fumbles to have a solid game and lead the Giants on a touchdown drive. There are certainly signs that the Giants got this right, that he has a bright future.
But an open competition for 2019? Please stop.
That is not, has not been, and likely won't be the plan - unless there's a disaster, like Manning completely falling apart or the Giants starting 1-7 again. Fans may suddenly be focused on the shiny, new object at quarterback that's getting constant, glowing reviews from Shurmur. But the Giants aren't going to be distracted by that unless they're forced into it somewhere down the road.
Because the truth is, they know Jones isn't ready. Rookie quarterbacks rarely are. They struggle. Even Sam Darnold, as terrific as he was last season, threw away a handful of games for the Jets because of the usual rookie quarterback problems. The Jets started him from the beginning because their only other option was journeyman Josh McCown.
Manning, even his detractors would admit, is a far better option than McCown ever was. And, laugh if you want, but the Giants think he's got enough in his right arm, and enough of a cast around him, for them to make a run at the playoffs this season. It's why Mara said, "I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field." He wasn't being glib. He was telling the truth: They are going to give Manning every chance possible to make that happen.
As long as they're in the race and he's healthy and playing well, it's not Manning's job to lose. It's just his job.
Besides, if this were an actual open competition, what exactly has Manning - a 16-year veteran with those two Super Bowl MVPs - done to lose it? The truth is, if it's a competition, he hasn't even been given a chance. He's run two series this preseason and hasn't thrown an incompletion (5 for 5). Yes, he checked down instead of going downfield to an open receiver on his first pass of the summer. So what? That's not enough to end his Giants career.
At some point, everyone will understand that there are no lines to read between, and that this isn't the Jerry Reese/Ben McAdoo regime that clearly wanted Manning gone. Dave Gettleman and Shurmur aren't plotting a quarterback coup or secretly hoping to rid themselves of a franchise icon. Gettleman and Shurmur genuinely believe that Manning can still play, that with the right team around him he can even win.
And they did what they're supposed to do - they drafted a replacement, and have begun grooming him for the future, just in case it turns out they were wrong.
But that's not a decision they'll make by Opening Day. It's a decision they sincerely hope they won't have to make until the offseason. Manning is going to start on Opening Day. He'll likely start many games after that. The plan is that he's going to be the Giants' starter as long as he's healthy, playing reasonably well, and the Giants have a shot.
And if things go wrong? Well, that's where Jones comes in. That's where the Giants look to the future. But that's for later. And that's why, when Shurmur was asked on Saturday if Jones is ready now, he again did a dance and didn't give a straight answer.
"I think when his time comes, he's going to be ready," Shurmur said. "I still think we've got training camp left to push through, we've got preseason games left to push through. I would say right now, we're three weeks from any of us being ready, so that's sort of where we're at."
So yes, at some point Jones will be ready. He'll have to be. Maybe it's this year. Maybe it's next year. Who knows? But it's not now. Not after 3 ½ weeks of practice and 32 plays over six preseason series.
No doubt, what Jones is doing is exciting. It bodes well for the future.
But maybe it's time everyone believes what Shurmur keeps saying - or at least hinting: That the future really isn't right now.