Here are my three thoughts on the Buffalo Bills as they begin practicing for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field:
1. LeSean McCoy will be the focal point of Wednesday's media day at One Bills Drive. Call it Shady's Day. His much-anticipated Philadelphia homecoming will be the topic of questions for coach Rex Ryan, who is due to meet with reporters later in the morning. He will be peppered with questions from reporters covering the Bills and, during a conference call, with those covering the Eagles. McCoy already made headlines when he told a Philadelphia radio station Tuesday that he would not take back comments he made during the offseason questioning the motives of Eagles coach Chip Kelly for parting ways with McCoy and fellow black teammates Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. I'm going to take a wild guess that McCoy will offer more attention-grabbing comments when he addresses the trade to the Bills that created the room for the Eagles to then acquire former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray ... who reportedly complained to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie about how role in Kelly's offense.
2. One major area the Bills can be expected to address in practice is the Eagles' fact-paced, no-huddle offense. The Bills' defense has shown a propensity to struggle when it comes to switching players in and out of the lineup to accommodate various defensive looks and anticipated offensive formations. The Eagles' offense is designed to make such substituting difficult, if not impossible, and causes the defense to risk being caught short of a player or two or penalized. It won't be easy, but Buffalo's scout team must do the very best job possible replicating the up-tempo approach of Kelly's offensive scheme. And Ryan, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, and the rest of the Bills' defensive coaches will need to be at the top of their game figuring out how to maximize the ability to have the right personnel groupings on the field to handle what the Eagles' offense sends their way.
3. Dan Carpenter called himself "the least superstitious guy" in the Bills' locker room, which was his way of denying any presumptions that his sudden decision to cut his hair was to alter any misfortune he believed he might be having as a kicker. But I'm not buying it. Kickers have long been a special breed, and Carpenter is going through some tough times with missed extra points and field goals. He couldn't put his finger on the problem when he missed his third extra-point attempt of the season in the Bills' Nov. 29 loss at Kansas City. He couldn't put his finger on the problem when he missed his fourth extra-point try of the year and a field-goal attempt in Sunday's victory against Houston. And that would seem to lend more support to the idea that he's at the stage of trying just about anything that might help. Maybe shorter hair will mean better karma.