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Cleaning out the Patriots' notebook

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cleaning out the Patriots' notebook with some random nuggets, thoughts and observations as the week of preparation for the home-opener comes to an end:

1. As they have in recent years under coach Ken Whisenhunt when playing an East Coast game at 1 p.m., the Cardinals are traveling today to give themselves a full Saturday to get acclimated to the time change. It used to be that a "Sunday at 1" game was a tough spot for teams coming West to East, but consider this: The combined 2011 record of San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco, Arizona and Seattle in road games at 1 p.m. ET was 12-10.

2. As a service to media members, teams traditionally make one player available to media members from the opposing city each week. The top request for the Patriots is usually quarterback Tom Brady, but this week, tight end Rob Gronkowski received top billing. Makes sense given his college career at Arizona.

3. Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews still generates passionate discussion here in New England, as his strong performance in Thursday night's win over the Bears had some on Twitter revisiting the team's decision to pass on him in the first round of the 2009 draft. Matthews might not have fit the old 3-4, but here is something to consider: If the Patriots were playing their current scheme, might they have rated Matthews differently?

4. Friday is often a lighter-mood type of day in the team's locker room, which reflects that most of the hard work preparation-wise has been completed. The music was a little louder than normal, with a few of the team's linebackers giving a thumbs-up to this 80s tune.

5. I missed it, but the Boston Herald's Dan Duggan relayed, via Twitter, a humorous moment in the locker room. A shirtless Chandler Jones was answering questions from a large group of reporters when quarterback Tom Brady walked by and told him to put a shirt on ... otherwise, the strength coach would be fired. Good zinger from Brady, who took his share of them back in 2000.

6. Special teams captain Matthew Slater has been named the Patriots' new player representative, filling the role formerly held by the retired Matt Light. Offensive lineman Ryan Wendell and kicker Stephen Gostkowski are the co-alternative reps.