TEs have fun, but also true pros

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Watch Rob Gronkowski celebrate a touchdown, such as his comical "Nutcracker dude" act on Sunday, and one can only imagine how much fun he has behind the scenes with his fellow tight ends.

Yet while Gronkowski and Co. might have plenty of laughs, it's always business first, according to his position coach George Godsey.

"I couldn’t ask for more from those guys from a professional aspect," Godsey told reporters Thursday. "Those guys are here a good majority of the day; it’s not just check in and check out. They do a good job of accepting their role of putting the time in and doing what it takes to be successful at that role."

Gronkowski's role is basically to never leave the field. Despite battling a hip/back injury for most of the first half of the season, he's played 94 percent of the offensive snaps and put up big numbers.

As for the other tight ends, Godsey pointed out their responsibilities vary. Sometimes they are asked to morph into a receiver, other times they're on the line, or even in the backfield and in motion.

By nature of the position, that means spending time with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on routes in the passing game, and also with offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia in the running game.

"They each have their own niche," Godsey said of Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui.

Of the group, Godsey said it's notable how Hoomanawanui -- who isn't as outspoken as others -- has taken on new responsibilities such as a lead-blocking fullback.

"He's definitely a good note-taker and I think he understands his responsibilities. I'm proud of how he's taken his role," he said. "The more he can do, the better off we'll be, and I think that's how he's looking at it, too."