Picked-up pieces from Patriots assistants

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few picked-up pieces from interviews with New England Patriots assistant coaches:

LaFell's impact on receivers. The free-agent signing of Brandon LaFell has worked out as well as the team could have hoped. LaFell (36 catches, 514 yards, five TDs) has played 75 percent of the offensive snaps. "He has certainly come in and showed a lot of the things we knew he had -- which is toughness, his work ethic is unbelievable, and he has certainly made some plays on the field with the ball in his hands. When Brandon came in, it raised the level of our group," receivers coach Chad O'Shea said.

Develin and the tight ends. When tight ends coach Brian Daboll went through the players he coaches, he listed the obvious three -- Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui and Tim Wright -- while adding fullback James Develin. Some might view Develin as more aligned with the running backs, but he falls a bit more in Daboll's area given his blocking-based role. As for Wright, Daboll called him a "true professional."

DeGuglielmo coaching at home. Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, a native of Lexington, Massachusetts, explained the difference between the Patriots and his previous NFL coaching stops in Miami and with the New York Jets. "When I was in Miami and at the Jets, it was a different feeling; with my friends and family, this is their team and it affects people differently as part of their everyday experience," he said. "When your unit is not playing up to par ... it was all right for my family to deal with that when I was in another state. But everybody is starting to understand, including my family, that's business."

McCourty's value at safety. With Devin McCourty patrolling center field, safeties coach Brian Flores has a level of comfort that is ideal. "You really can't quantify what he brings to the team," Flores said. "His leadership, his communication. He gets a lot of guys lined up. Guys have questions, they ask him. He's like a coach on the field, quite honestly. He's a very important cog in our defense. It would be different without him."