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Monday open thread: Is Jahlani Tavai the answer at LB1?

After a rough outing when forced into LB1 last week, Tavai rebounded well this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

In Week 14, Jahlani Tavai was thrust into the number one linebacker role when Jarrad Davis went down with an ankle injury that would land him on injured reserve later in the week. Tavai didn’t fare well.

This week, however, was much different. He wasn’t an All-Pro by any means, but opened the first drive of the game with an interception and had five tackles without getting picked on much in coverage.

Lions fans have grown tired of the narrative that Davis is so close to turning the corner and being the LB1 we all hoped when he was picked in the first round. Is Tavai the answer?

Question of the day: Is Jahlani Tavai the answer at LB1?

My answer: Probably not.

I was pleasantly surprised by Tavai’s performance Sunday, but I don’t think he’s the solution at LB1. The reality of the situation is he’s more of a downhill runner than sideline-to-sideline, meaning he struggles in coverage, especially in the case of scramble drills.

I didn’t have an eye on Tavai the whole game, but I suspect the reason he wasn’t picked on in coverage was due to all the other wide open Bucaneers receivers downfield.

That’s not to knock on the things he does well; Tavai is and always will be a thumper who can plug holes with ease in the run game, and he does a better job reading his gaps than Davis. To be a successful LB1, however, you’ve got to be more fluid in coverage.

Maybe I’m wrong—I hope I’m wrong. What do you think?


Is Tavai the answer at LB1?

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