As rumors about their coaches swirled, Eagles players backed both Andy Reid and Juan Castillo on Wednesday and said they were focused on their final game.
"We all love Coach Reid. Coach Reid's a great coach, great person to be around," wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. "I've got the most respect for him, and I love playing for him."
Defensive players came to Castillo's defense.
"Juan's done a great job. When you have the talent that we have on defense, it shouldn't all be placed on him, it should be placed on players," linebacker Jamar Chaney said. "You can see as the season's gone on he's gotten better at what he [does], and we've gotten better at what we do."
Reid declined to comment on a report from San Diego that St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo is likely to be the Eagles' next defensive coordinator.
"I'm not even there," he said.
Spagnuolo has ties to the Eagles, having been an assistant under Reid, but a friend told the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger in 2008 that his last year in Philadelphia was difficult. Spagnuolo, according to the newspaper, felt that Reid initially had blocked him from becoming a defensive coordinator elsewhere. He eventually left the Eagles for the top defensive job with the New York Giants.
The Eagles have yet to say anything about Castillo's fate, and Spagnuolo is still the Rams' coach, so a resolution could take some time.
Is Jason Peters the best left tackle in the game?
"I'm in the top [group]," Peters said Wednesday, a day after he was selected as an NFC Pro Bowl starter. "I don't consider I'm the best. I'm still learning the little tricks of the trade of the tackle position. But I think I'm in the top in the league."
With five consecutive Pro Bowl selections, Peters is tied with Cleveland's Joe Thomas for the longest streak among active tackles. He went twice with Buffalo and now three times with the Eagles.
Peters, 29, agreed with others' assessment that this has been his best season. He said he benefited from the addition of offensive line coach Howard Mudd, whose blocking schemes allowed the 6-foot-4, 330-pound tackle to take advantage of his athleticism and help block for LeSean McCoy, another Pro Bowl pick.
"We've got a bunch of screen passes, got a bunch of sprint draws that we run where I can get out in space and block for Shady, and all I have to do is get on [defenders] for one second and he's going to make a cut and score," Peters said.
Originally an undrafted free-agent tight end out of Arkansas, he still uses the draft slight as motivation.
"When I step out on the field, [I] just want to show them I was worthy of getting picked," he said. "That's my mind-set every day."
McCoy sat out practice with a sprained ankle Wednesday, and Reid was noncommittal about whether he will play Sunday. "If he can play, he'll play," the coach said.
McCoy is 128 yards back in the race for the rushing title, so he would need a massive day to catch Maurice Jones-Drew, raising questions about the wisdom of playing him in a meaningless game.
Quarterback Michael Vick said he wanted to play, regardless of health risks.
"When you love the game of football, you just go out and play for the love of the game, play with pride and passion," he said. "Never know what game is going to be your last, so you know I'd rather go out and give it a shot and have a chance to go out and enjoy it instead of just sitting down."
Left guard Evan Mathis, who is nearing the end of his one-year contract, said that he'd "love to come back" next year but that contract talks will wait until after the season. . . . Vick said he expected DeSean Jackson back next season, though, obviously, the decision is up to management.