Cleaning out the Patriots notebook

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cleaning out the Patriots notebook ...

When a Wednesday feels like a Tuesday: This is usually the busiest day of the players' work week, with the first practice and initial installation of the game plan. But with a Monday night game, this is technically a player's day off, much like a regular Tuesday. Players had what guard Logan Mankins said was a competitive practice Tuesday and will also have practices Thursday, Friday and Saturday before traveling to Charlotte on Sunday. From a media perspective, Bill Belichick holds a conference call at noon, and on Thursday, former Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly will be the opponent-based conference call.

Series history: This will mark just the fifth time the Patriots and Panthers have met in the regular season (and sixth overall including Super Bowl XXXVIII). The last regular-season game for the Patriots in Charlotte was a 27-17 loss on Sept. 18, 2005, a performance in which Tom Brady had two turnovers and said: "We sucked today."

Keeping tabs on Ed Reed: The deadline for teams to claim veteran safety Ed Reed on waivers is 4 p.m. ET today. If Reed isn't claimed by any team (the guess here is that he won't be because of his salary), he would then be free to sign anywhere. Random thought: Reed's jersey number, 20, is not available here in New England as it is among those retired (Gino Cappelletti).

Time of possession difference stands out: One of the defining aspects of the Panthers' offense is time of possession as they lead the league in that category (33:48). The Patriots are at the opposite end of the spectrum (28:38), ranking 25th in the NFL.

Mallett plays role of Cam Newton: As he has all season, No. 2 quarterback Ryan Mallett is the Patriots' scout-team quarterback, which makes him Newton this week. When looking around the NFL and seeing some teams struggling when turning to their No. 2 quarterback (e.g. Packers), Mallett's progress was brought up to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels this week. McDaniels praised his attitude and work ethic and then touched on his scout-team work. "He has really done a nice job of trying to give our defense a good look each week, which I think is an underrated part of a backup quarterback’s preparation, but it is important nonetheless because it is an opportunity to go back there, make reads, and throw the ball accurately and work on your fundamentals, get better and lead that team," he said. "I think he has really done a nice job and taken a lot of leadership and responsibility there. So, I think Ryan’s doing a good job of continuing to try to push himself to get better and improve. We have a lot of confidence in him."