Taylor Gabriel will play the zebra position in Matt Nagy’s offense for the Chicago Bears in 2018, a role that will have ‘Turbo Time’ line up in a variety of receiver spots.
Nagy met with the media at the NFL owners meeting in Florida on Tuesday and said the Bears will get the ball to Gabriel quickly and let him do his damage after the catch.
“I was really excited once he got in and we started seeing who he was as a person and his energetic personality,” Nagy said via the Chicago Tribune.
“But then on tape, his personality fits the way he plays. So the things we do with getting guys the ball quick, RPO (run-pass option) stuff, but getting him the ball — you see what he can do with screens.”
Gabriel is an electrifying talent. He averaged 16.5 yards per catch in 2016, a season that appeared to launch his career beyond just the occasional highlight play.
His numbers dipped last season despite catching only two fewer passes. Big plays were harder to come by and he averaged five fewer yards per reception. His touchdowns dropped from six to one, too.
Regardless, Nagy is fired up about the skill set Gabriel brings to Mitchell Trubisky and the passing game.
“He can catch the ball behind the line of scrimmage and take it for a touchdown really on any given play,” Nagy said. “Now, a lot of that goes with regards to blocking that goes on with wide receivers and that, but he’s not just that ‘gadget guy.’ He can be a true receiver and really do well.”
Gabriel will combine with fellow free agent additions Allen Robinson and tight end Trey Burton in Chicago’s new high-flying aerial attack.