I disagree. This argument smacks of desperation trying to find an excuse for the poor start. Really, Tony Gonzalez can't miss 2 weeks of camp to spend time with his family? Had his mother and sister died in a car accident, nobody would have had a problem with him getting time off. But because it didn't involve a familial crisis, it's now suddenly wrong?
The issue has less to do with Gonzo missing time, and more to do with the player (Coffman) that was filling in for him, thus far has played a grand total of 4 snaps. The Falcons didn't take full advantage of Gonzo's absence.
Had the Falcons drafted a TE at some point in 2010, 2011, or 2012 rather than waste their time developing Cyril's guy, Michael Palmer, you know the guy that is going to be special one day, then Tony Gonzalez could have potentially sat out a season, and they would have been prepped for it. But oh no, TE wasn't as big a need as a blocking fullback on a team that runs the ball 30% of the time, or a slow WR that runs a 4.6, or a pair of backup-only safeties. No, finding a guy that could learn from and take over eventually from Gonzo and potentially be a 40-50 catch TE doesn't have nearly as much value as Charles Mitchell (who played 2 snaps on defense), Kerry Meier (34 snaps on O), or Schillinger (10 snaps on D). Our GM has such great foresight.
Ps. You Palmer haters will be glad as he progresses in the NFL.... I was sure he'd make the team; never be great but
35- 40 catches from a tight end will be good when Tony quits.
That statement was made in September 2011 in this thread: viewtopic.php?p=102472#p102472
Currently, the "progress" Palmer has shown is that he's been cut by 2 teams since May, and currently is the 4th string TE in Pittsburgh, and playing almost exclusively on special teams.