By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While fans and media have an at-best polarized perception of Eagles head coach Andy Reid, his players continue to have nothing but respect for him.

“[Playing for Reid is] awesome. He’s a great coach. I think guys really respect him, I think guys have his back,” Jeremy Maclin told 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and The WIP Morning Show on Thursday.  “Considering everything that happened in training camp and to see how he handled that, and to see him being back with the team and shows how dedicated he is. I think this is the season, I think you are going to see guys elevate their game, mainly for Coach Reid and everything that is going on.”

If the key to the season is the play of Michael Vick, the preseason didn’t tell us much about how he’ll play this year. Vick was injured twice, and played only twelve snaps. Maclin is not worried about Vick’s limited action. “I think if he was a first time starter I think you could say, but the fact that he has been with us for the past three years and that’s what training camp and OTAs are for, I don’t that is a concern at all,” he said.

If Vick gets injured, the Eagles will have a new face backing him up, rookie Nick Foles. “Nick played excellent,” Maclin said. “I think the number one important thing for a rookie quarterback is just to go out there and play and not get caught up in the hype, or not get caught up in the moment. I think Nick did that. I think he was comfortable out there and wasn’t afraid to throw the ball. I think he played excellent.”

This year’s preseason had a markedly different vibe for the Eagles when compared to 2011, when the team added several new faces, rather quickly, in a short preseason. Maclin thinks that difference will bring different results. “We feel good, man. I think guys are healthy. I think guys are hungry. I think last year was a disappointment to ourselves, to each other, and to the city of Philadelphia. We definitely want to reverse that and start the season off strong, and hopefully finish with a bang,” he said.

A better season is expected by most, but does Maclin think this is the year for the Eagles?

“That’s definitely our goal, and nothing less. That’s definitely our goal,” he said.

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