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O'HARA: What we learned from the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine 

Don't expect the Detroit Lions to rush to sign high-cost free agents when the official signing date comes around March 13.

Head coach Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes are united in making it a priority to reward their own players first before venturing into the uncertainty of free agency.

That's what we learned in the NFL Combine press conferences.

"Between Brad and myself, the success we've had in places that we've been has really been that way," Campbell said when he spoke to the media.

"You want to be a good team, you have to draft well and then you re-sign those players. We both believe that."

We also learned of Campbell taking responsibility for a bad play call in the NFC Championship Game vs. the 49ers and Campbell standing up for quarterback Jared Goff.

We start with Campbell and the Lions' philosophy on signing free agents:

Familiarity is a key element in stocking the roster.

"You've got to be careful," Campbell said. "You want to spend top dollar on a free agent that's not your own, you want to know everything about that player before you bring him into your locker room.

"You can see the tape, whereas your own guys, you pay top dollar for your own guys that are worthy from production because you know everything about them.

"It's something we believe in. It's something we're going to continue to do."

One man's opinion: The Lions aren't excluding free agents, but they will be thoroughly scrutinized to make sure they fit the Lions' culture and schemes.

In support of Goff: The questions keep coming, and Campbell keeps answering.

"I get it because it hasn't happened yet," Campbell said in answer to a question of whether the Lions can win a Super Bowl with Goff at quarterback. "But I don't get it, because take the NFC Championship. I thought he played a good game for us.

"He gave us a chance to win that. Since he's been here, I've seen a quarterback who's gotten better and better and better.

"Jared Goff is a winning quarterback. You can win in this league with that guy."

View photos of the defensive linemen at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.

Regrets: If there was one call he could take back, it was calling the running play on third & goal in the final series against the 49ers in the NFC Championship.

David Montgomery was thrown for a loss. The Lions had to use their third and final timeout. Jameson Williams caught a TD pass on fourth down, but the Lions were out of timeouts and didn't get the ball back.

"I should have waited until fourth down," Campbell said. "The smarter thing is you throw it and at least you know the clock stops or you score.

"And you hold the time out."

Obviously, the wrong play call by the coach.

Just as obviously – if not more so – customary honesty from Campbell.

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