One of the players who has been under the most significant bubble watch for the Detroit Lions has been linebacker Jahlani Tavai.
One of the bigger reaches of the last regime, Tavai is a player who seemed as if his days would be numbered under a new staff. Early on in his tenure, though, Dan Campbell hyped Tavai for coming into camp in shape for the team. Since, it has seemed as if Tavai is in much better shape than many might think to stick around.
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Speaking with the media on Monday, August 16 in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com, Detroit inside linebacker coach Mark DeLeone chatted with the media, and the subject of much of his discussion was about Tavai, and where he stands in his quest to crack the roster and play a role for the team in 2021. According to DeLeone, it’s been
“I think Jahlani (Tavai) just has to stack days. Stack days every single day. He’s in a good position right now, he’s had a good camp. I think Jahlani is in a good place, he’s got to keep stacking days and I am excited to watch him on Saturday night,” DeLeone said.
As DeLeone said, he wants to see Tavai get more action on the field.
“I think Jahlani has come into camp in great shape, in a great mindset and I am excited about where he’s at. I’m excited to see him play more,” he admitted.
Campbell continued the love for Tavai on Monday ahead of practice, and sung the praises of the young linebacker for what he has been able to do.
“He’s a smart guy. He works at it, he puts everything out that he has into it and I think there’s certain things that he does well. He’s really a hammer. Particularly, he’s really more of a first, second down linebacker. So there’s things that he can do, and I think it’s up to us to put him in the best situation to have success too, so it’s twofold. But he gives everything he’s got,” Campbell explained.
From DeLeone to Campbell, it seems as if Tavai is favored by the coaching staff. What that means for Tavai remains to be seen, but at this point, it seems as if he is in good shape.
Mark DeLeone Lauded Jahlani Tavai This Spring
Ever since being a second-round pick in 2019, Tavai has disappointed more often than he has been on the field and excelling. That’s led to him becoming a lightning-rod for fans, who are very critical of his play for good reason.
The slate appears to be clean with Tavai as he transitions to a new staff, however. Speaking months ago, DeLeone was asked about the linebacker and provided a pretty candid response. As he said at the time, he was excited to be able to coach Tavai, who has come to the mix in shape.
This admission from the staff likely stunned plenty of fans, especially folks who aren’t sure if Tavai has a future with the team. He’s looked out of place with the Lions the last few years on the field and has increasingly taken on the look of a bust relative to his high draft position.
Right now, though, the team looks to be set on giving him another serious chance given what they have said in recent months.
Tavai’s Career Stats and Highlights
So far the last few seasons, Tavai has done a bit of everything for the Lions and has been a jack of all trades but a master of none. He’s collected 116 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 fumble recovery coming into the 2021 offseason. Known mostly for his hair, Tavai has not made a ton of big plays for Detroit the last few seasons and has been an up and down player who has needed to show more consistency.
Here’s a look at some highlights of Tavai on the job recently:
Will Tavai crack the roster this season or be in trouble? The jury is still out, but it’s clear the new staff is going to continue to give him every chance to show that he belongs and can turn over a new leaf. It seems that Tavai is making the most of his new beginning according to his coaches.