Tight end Tony Gonzalez is absent from Atlanta Falcons’ training camp. After spending the first three days of camp with the team for the start of the 2013 campaign, Gonzalez left the team to return home. He’s expected to miss the Falcons’ preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and will play in the final two preseason games according to head Mike Smith. Gonzalez is attending to family commitments including the start of his son’s first tackle football season.
Training camp is a chance for receivers to get on the same page with their quarterbacks, offensive linemen to develop a chemistry with each other and defenses to learn their run fits and blitz schemes. It’s difficult to develop that rapport among teammates when one of them is missing. However, Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan doesn’t believe Gonzalez’s absence will be problematic.
“This will be year five together and at that point you have a lot of chemistry, a lot of time spent together, a lot of reps under our belt,” Ryan said in an interview with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt of Sirius XM NFL Radio. “We actually worked together a bit this summer too. I was out in California for a little while to try and get some of that work done with him that we would be missing at this time.”
Gonzalez continues to post outstanding numbers year in and year out despite flirting with retirement after last season. He’s missed two games in 16 season and caught 93 passes for 930 yards and eight touchdowns last season for the Falcons. With his vast experience and several years together with Ryan, there seems to be little concern Gonzalez will be able to jump right back in when he returns.
“I think the reps are there. I don’t think it will be a problem at all. I know he’s one of those guys who, regardless of where he’s at, he’s taking care of himself and getting himself prepared. I look forward to when he does get back but I don’t see it being a problem at all.”