"I'm not going to stand here and say, 'I'm comfortable.' I never should feel comfortable," Tavai said Wednesday in a video conference with Detroit media. "You got to play like everything's on the edge. Play everywhere like I did last year. Play on the edge, playing on the side. Know the defense. That's the biggest thing that I wanted to make sure I focused on this year."
A more prominent role for Tavai awaits his sophomore campaign in the league, if he is able to seize the opportunity.
The 250-pound linebacker from the University of Hawaii played in 15 games in 2019 for Detroit.
He recorded 58 total tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble.
As Bleacher Report explained, "The versatile linebacker needs to be in the Detroit Lions' starting lineup. Jarrad Davis remains on the final year of his rookie deal. Plus, the front office signed Jamie Collins and Reggie Ragland in free agency. Those three could very well be the team's starting linebackers, even though Tavai is more talented than Davis and has a more varied skill set than Collins at this point in the veteran's career."
Lions' 2020 linebackers unit
Tavai shared that he has high hopes for a unit that did not live up to the billing in 2019.
"Our expectation is excellence," Tavai said. "We want to be the best linebacker group in the league."
Detroit added to the linebackers room this past offseason with the acquisitions of veterans Reggie Ragland and Jamie Collins.
"Jamie -- who's played in this defense basically his whole career. Then, you have Reggie, who just came off a great season. They bring that wisdom that we need, just so we can pick up those little things -- where we can see the bigger picture when we're on the field," Tavai said. "It's pretty exciting getting to see their energy throughout training camp. Reggie's a stand-up guy. He'll make plays, and just joke about it. When you just see the way they move, they don't waste any movement. So, I'm trying to make sure that I adapt to how they do that."