Patriots to leave for Miami one day early

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In a break from normal routine, the New England Patriots will travel to South Florida two days early for Sunday's season opener against the Miami Dolphins.

Players were informed this week that they are scheduled to depart on Friday. For 1 p.m. ET games on the East Coast, the club usually leaves on Saturday.

The reason for the change is not known, but one possible explanation is that coach Bill Belichick likes the idea of players getting an early feel for the heat and humidity in which they will be playing.

"Whatever it takes to get ourselves ready mentally and physically, I'm all for it," special teams captain Matthew Slater said.

"These coaches have a solid plan for us. I feel like it's a good plan, to get down there and acclimated with the weather," receiver Danny Amendola said. "We're all excited to get down there and start the season."

"It will be hot the day before and give us a little chance to get adjusted to it and get us ready for game-day," added rookie running back James White, who is from Fort Lauderdale.

Another possible benefit for the Patriots is leaving any distractions at home behind.

"It's a business trip. Guys are used to going places a day early, two days early, whatever the case may be," Amendola said. "Come Sunday at 1 o' clock, it's game time and we'll be ready."

As for the weather, Slater added: "The biggest thing is we have to focus on playing the football game. We know it's going to be hot, but it's going to be hot for them as well, so we can't let the weather deter from our focus on the game. Obviously, hydration is going to be huge. That's no mystery. We have to do a good job of that throughout the course of the week -- eating the right things, replenishing the fluids -- but come Sunday we know we're playing Miami, not the weather."