Giants head coach Pat Shurmur spent the offseason suggesting that Eli Manning would start Week 1 over Daniel Jones, but not shutting the door on Jones completely. He had operated the same way during the preseason, using language that kept the door slightly ajar even though everyone knew the likely outcome.
On Friday afternoon, that changed.
During a conference call with reporters in the wake of the Giants' win over the Bengals (a win that featured another strong performance from Jones), Shurmur removed any doubt about the Manning vs. Jones situation.
"I think what we're doing is -- and I've said it all along -- Eli is our starter and we're getting Daniel ready to play," Shurmur said when asked if the Giants were considering starting Jones in Week 1. "I think he's done a good job in the preseason as I've mentioned all along -- he's getting better. And he's gonna continue to do that so that at whatever time we need him to play, he'll be ready."
Asked a follow-up question that suggested he is not ready to say for sure that Manning will be the Week 1 starter, Shurmur was incredulous.
"I just said Eli's the starter. Didn't I just say that? Excuse the fact that I had to repat it, but I felt like I just said that."
The expectation all along has been that -- barring injury -- Manning would start Week 1, with Jones potentially taking over at some point during the season.
Jones' mostly exceptional play during the preseason has led to more questions about the passing of the torch, and Friday's answers from Shurmur were the most definitive yet when it comes to who will start Week 1.
The 22-year-old rookie went 9-for-11 for 141 yards against the Bengals on Thursday night, while playing the final 20 minutes of the first half.
In three games this preseason, Jones is 25-for-30 (83.3 percent) for 369 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. That's a passer rating of 140.1.
The Giants' plan going into last season was that Manning would start until the team was mathematically eliminated, and the belief has been that he same plan could be in place this season.
However, Jones' play so far has opened eyes and at least started to change the conversation when it comes to when he could potentially make his regular season debut.