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Rest of NFC East seems to be filled with static

Judging by what fans, hosts on radio around the division, Eagles about to become the beast of the East.

Trent Cole celebrates his second-quarter sack on Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Trent Cole celebrates his second-quarter sack on Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)Read more

SPORTS RADIO is not a scientific survey, or anything close, but it can offer you a glimpse into the emotional state of a place.

And, so:

About 12:15 p.m. Monday, KESN 103.3-FM in Dallas.

For about 45 minutes, some guy was hosting, along with former Cowboys guard Nate Newton. They talked. They took a few calls. It was not a place brimming with optimism, or confidence, or excitement about the one-and-done game Sunday night against the Eagles. They asked questions like, "Even if the Cowboys do make the playoffs and lose in the first round, is that a successful season?"

The feeling was best summed up by a caller from Oklahoma. He was commenting on an ESPN report the previous day that the entire Cowboys coaching staff would be fired if the team did not make the playoffs. The caller said that when he heard about it, he seriously thought about rooting for the Redskins against the Cowboys on Sunday.

"It's like Groundhog Day," he said, referring to the Cowboys' routine mediocrity. "Something has to change."

About 1 p.m., 106.7 The Fan in Washington.

There is not even the shadow of a hint of a pretense here: Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is wearing a target, and the people on the radio do not miss. It is almost too easy. How Shanahan survives, especially after the clumsy end-of-the-season decision to bench/protect quarterback Robert Griffin III, is the question that will not go away.

One caller, especially, was awesomely indignant.

"[Shanahan] has been terrible all the years he has been here, as a talent evaluator and as a head coach," he said. "This guy runs from responsibility, the likes of which I have never seen. His theme song, if he was a WWE superstar, would be, 'It Wasn't Me,' by Shaggy. Because everything with him is, 'It wasn't me.'

"He has drafted horribly . . . And it's unbelievable that this guy then goes and picks a fight with the quarterback, the one position where the guy is a good guy, and successful, and all of that . . . "

Around 2:45 p.m., WFAN Sports Radio 66 in New York.

There is nothing even to quote here. They spent forever talking about the Jets and Rex Ryan and whatnot, and then finally shoehorned the Giants into the discussion.

They all think that coach Tom Coughlin is coming back, and they know that quarterback Eli Manning is coming back, and that any changes will be on the margins. The people doing the talking really said nothing memorable - but the whole tone was kind of good try, good effort, can we please talk about something else now?

That is kind of where the Giants are. Coughlin is not a long-term guy anymore, and the organization seems happy to thank him for his service by allowing him to design his exit strategy. And maybe next year, if Eli only throws 500 picks instead of 1,000, well . . .

And, in the meantime, it's good try, good effort, and can you believe Lions coach Jim Schwartz cursed out the crowd?

The point, if it isn't obvious by now, is that the Eagles are a year ahead of the curve in the NFC East, at least a year ahead of everyone else. They have made their coaching transition. They have picked a guy who, by all available measures, is more than capable. Chip Kelly has accomplished the turnaround in a blink.

The Eagles have a coach, and a stable front office, and a young roster, and acres of cap room. Nobody knows whether they will arrive at their preferred destination - that uncertainty is why you're willing to pay money to watch - but the Eagles are set up here for a long run.

And, at precisely the same time, every other team in the division is on the edge of having to make a coaching change - with all of the roster turnover and upset that inevitably follows.

The Cowboys and Redskins, two places where ownership is traditionally overbearing, have tried to get it right for seeming forever, without success - and there is no reason to believe that the next change they make will be the right change. Both have cap issues, and the Redskins, because of all they gave up in the deal to get RGIII, will be sitting on their hands on Day 1 of the 2014 draft.

The Giants, by contrast, are the most stable organization and the one most likely to pivot professionally when Coughlin makes his decision. But even the smartest teams don't know how a regime change will turn out until it turns out - and even the right decision when you're making a coaching change can be accompanied by a break-in period.

But as we have seen, the Eagles' break-in period under Kelly was about 5 minutes. If they beat Dallas and get to 10-6 and win the NFC East, it will crown the turnaround.

But even more than that, it will put the rest of the division on notice that the Eagles are the team they all will be chasing into the future.

On Twitter: @theidlerich