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NFC East training-camp preview

Surging Skins, T.O. and shifting balance of power

Posted: Tuesday July 11, 2006 10:05AM; Updated: Thursday July 13, 2006 1:00PM
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Team on the rise

So far, Terrell Owens has managed to avoid any real controversy with the Cowboys.
So far, Terrell Owens has managed to avoid any real controversy with the Cowboys.
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images
NFC EAST: T.O., surging Skins | Impact Newcomers
AFC EAST: Dolphins rising fast | Impact Newcomers
NFC NORTH: Vikings improving | Impact Newcomers
AFC NORTH: Star QBs in flux | Impact Newcomers
NFC SOUTH: Saints marching | Impact Newcomers
AFC SOUTH: Gap narrowing | Impact Newcomers
NFC WEST: Cards gain Edge | Impact Newcomers
AFC WEST: New QBs, coaches | Impact Newcomers


We know all eyes seem to be on Texas, with the Cowboys signing you-know-who and finally landing a kicker, Mike Vanderjagt, who can decide a few close games all by himself. But let's not forget it was the Redskins that nobody wanted to play in the season's final month after they won their last five regular-season games and a wild-card game at Tampa Bay. Washington's defense was making plays all over the field down the stretch, and we think it's going to be even better without the LaVar Arrington situation to worry about. New offensive coordinator Al Saunders knows how to best use his weapons, and his play-calling touch could do for the offense what coordinator Gregg Williams has done for the defense. The Redskins won't sneak up on anyone this time around, but another 10-win season should be their rock-bottom minimum.

Team in transition


Remember when the Eagles could count on five or six division wins every year, jacking up their season record by taking care of business in their own backyard? Ah, but the NFC East isn't Philly and the Three Stooges anymore. The Eagles went 0-6 in the division last year, only one loss fewer than Philadelphia had against NFC East opponents in the five previous seasons combined. The Eagles can climb right back into the thick of playoff contention if they find a way to at least split their division games. Recommitting to a balanced offense with a legitimate running game, fielding a healthy Donovan McNabb and improving the pass rush would be the obvious ways the Eagles could close the gap in the East.

Coach in the spotlight


This just in: The Tuna isn't getting any younger and may not coach forever. We are not going to play the Parcells-retirement guessing game again (and that goes for you, too, Brett Favre), but it's fair to speculate that he's gearing up for one last run at the big shiny silver trophy. We're not buying into the idea that Terrell Owens is the final piece of the puzzle in Dallas, but that doesn't mean his addition won't be a huge upgrade for the passing game. It's worth noting that Parcells has yet to endure three consecutive non-playoff seasons.